Educational Policy on Poetry FridayThe Conventions are over. As Americans, we’ve heard a lot of rhetoric and many attacks — on both sides.
I feel each of us, as teachers, must inform ourselves about the educational policies of both candidates so that each of us can make an informed decision about the policies that will affect our everyday lives as educators.
You can read more about each candidate’s educational policies by clicking on the links below:
But please don’t stop on those pages. Click on the hyperlinks to learn more than what’s just contained on those educational policy pages. [I’m linking to a press release and a speech too. For more on McCain’s plan, click here. For more on Obama’s plan, click here.]
This forum is not a place for us to get political. However, if you’re really curious about who I’m supporting in this election, then read this very rough draft of a “Where I’m From As An Educator” Poem:
I am from student teaching in
Alphabet City and Spanish Harlem,
which made me choose to teach
in East Harlem
when I completed my first masters.
I am from schools in low-SES communities
where an overwhelming majority
of my students
qualify for free- or reduced-price lunches.
I am from wrapping on school cafeteria doors
and sending kids down to a compassionate nurse
when their bellies were empty
at the start of a school day
so they could have a proper breakfast
I am from students whose parents
put them on buses
as early as 6:00 a.m.
so that they could attend a better school.
I am from soft tissues
used to dry the tears of students
who felt anxious the day of NY State or NY City Testing
since they knew so much
was at stake — summer school if they didn’t pass.
I am from stories of apartment fires
and have watched families relocate
after their home was no livable.
I am from classrooms
that I make as homey as possible
so my students feel
like they have a second home.
I am from young writers
who record the stories of their lives
on blank pages.
The ups, the downs, the in-betweens.
All of their words
wash over me
reminding me daily
that I am privileged to be
trusted with the stories
of their lives.
When I look for a candidate, I don’t just look for someone who is going to benefit me as a teacher, but I try to read between the lines in order to examine which candidate will truly make my students’ lives better so that they can feel safe when they walk to and from school with the knowledge that if they work hard in school, and do their personal best, they can live out their version of the American Dream.
Edited at 23:15 p.m. to include this image: