Day 4 – The Human Connection
Above everything else we do in our schools and classrooms, we as teachers get the privilege of working with large cross-sections of our society. We get the honor of nurturing and supporting individuals that may be different from us in so many ways. We get the distinction of improving not only outcomes of individuals or families, but of entire communities, cities, regions, and states. What an amazing job we have.
I feel sometimes that we forget what our true purpose is. We forgot the awesome task that lay before us. We forget that we are dealing with individuals, people; each with their own story. How do we re-focus our profession back to humanity? How do we filter out the noise as classroom practitioners and create that precious protected space for people that work in our classrooms to become anything they want to be. Anything they dare dream.
It saddens me when I see or hear of districts, schools and educators that put up barriers for our kids that become impediments to their individual success. They establish gatekeepers and protocols and processes and permissions and signatures that deter and confuse and frustrate students that already may be set up for failure. Why do we feel that school must “mirror” the hardships of society? Why isn’t school the place where we foster dreams, ambitions, and futures?
Of course, the naysayers would contend that school’s job is to prepare students for the “real-world”. That we aren’t doing students any favors by placating them and “babying” them through the system. While I agree that our goal isn’t just to move students “through” the system, I also believe that the humans that make it up perpetuate the “real-world” that we speak of. Instead of lamenting and bemoaning the ills of the world and shirking our duty of changing them, why not nurture and develop a better tomorrow by allowing our students of today to be shielded from these problems? Why not allow students an opportunity to overcome these setbacks before they are permanently strangled and weighed down by them?
I realize the idealism seeping from this post. I get it. But what I do know is that we can have a better future. That the world needs saving. And those saviors are in our classrooms right now.