What I have learned this past week:
1.Truth is not delivered in a linear narrative. 2. In life, there are few(if any) reliable narrators. 3. Critical thinking skills are a must. 4. I have seen a glimpse of the lives of the parents of the children I teach. 5. What I had suspected was confirmed. I have always thought I understood the cycle of poverty and have dedicated many years to the education of all children (urban, suburban, rural) at risk, gifted and talented, and everything in between. However, after this week, I have witnessed something that makes me all the more determined.
Education is power. With every child reached, we have a chance to break the cycle. I really think that we should engage the parents of these children to participate. Perhaps this will be their opportunity to gain the education they missed earlier. The education could be mutual. I wonder if we could turn our schools into safe havens, where we all could have the hours to engage in wonder and be creative in our learning together.
In my years as a teaching artist, I have had many sessions where there was joy in the classroom. Children, who felt challenged by writing skills, were able to find their way into my writing strategies and literally "took off"~ Their writing expressed all that they knew and were able to reflect on "saying it." They were anxious to read aloud. They wanted me to give them "thumbs up" which I did; and truthfully, most of this writing was so honest, so poignant, so-take-your-breath-away that my collaboration with teachers made all of us (children, teachers) feel like time held still and we were all for each other. We witnessed change.
This year, I'm going to have an opportunity to participate in programs that will make a difference, as they always have made a difference, but this year will be different.
I think my experience this past week was the missing piece of my understanding of what is truly going on.
I had a double dose of this reality. I found the truth.