It’s been…6 weeks? I think that’s it. 6 weeks since I first dedicated this year to reading diverse selections in literature. And already, I’m seeing a change in how I view the world, how I teach, how I interact with others, how I THINK and FEEL.
Today I’m planning my Pacing Guide for next school year. No matter where I end up, I can take it with me. Even if the literature changes over the next few years (which it will; it SHOULD; and I can’t believe I’m saying that; my high school English teacher may die of shock), I can use the strategies forever.
I’m pretty lucky. My principal loves me, and she is amazing at approving what I need. Book orders? Done. Want to teach Malala, even with a hijab on the cover? Sure, go ahead. Problem with a parent? Copy me on the email–they’re always good for showing other teachers how to handle problems.
For teachers in some districts, this may be no big deal, the idea of teaching texts like I Am Malala, and Kindred, and I Will Always Write Back, and American Born Chinese, and even freaking Langston Hughes and Sandra Cisneros. It’s a big deal around here though. And I’m pushing the envelope. And kids are responding. Parents are, too, and not always positively. But this year I feel that I’m through the worst of it because their kids are learning, and my coworkers are seeming to respond to my constant dripdripdrip of “Diversity is important, guys!” No longer am I hearing, “Good luck doing that in THIS district.”
Small victories. Then I think of those who have pushed much harder than I’ve pushed and who still have no peace or power. And it makes my “victory” seem fragile and tiny, barely a drop in the ocean of justice, knowledge, wisdom, and progress.
This process of reading different books is changing me.
I’m “we gotta do something!”
I’m “what can possibly be done?”
I’m in love.
Just 6 weeks, and my whole life is rearranging, from my personal life to my career to my aspirations.
What’s gonna happen over the next 46?
I can’t even begin to imagine. And I can’t wait.