Everyone who works at a job where they do not own the company is familiar with being evaluated. Teachers are no exception. My ‘formal’ classroom observation to continue the evaluation of the teacher me was today. I like the way my administrator operates because I’m used to him popping in to see what my classes are up to, so the formal observation is not so nerve-wracking.
In my regular English classes, we’re reading a novel, “Lies We Tell Ourselves.” It is a fictional story about the very real events ten years after the supreme court case Brown v. Board of Education which mandated the end of school segregation. It is completely outside the experience of my students, and yet, they are feeling the similarities of their own life
experiences. I can see it in the uncomfortable way they react to the strong language of the times and cruelty of the tormentors toward the black students just trying to go to a decent school.
Today’s writing prompt asked them to write about someone who had touched their life in some small but memorable way. I went back to that after we read about how the ten black students recited the 23rd Psalm together in whispers as they approached the angry white mob of students. We had an incredible discussion about what we do both inside and outside to make ourselves walk through terrible situations that we know we just have to get through somehow. Some of them made the connection back to that person who had touched their life and how they would just think of that situation to give them strength and courage,
some said they would pray, some would cling to songs they knew by heart, and some just didn’t know what they would do.
One young man, who walks alone most of the time, because his anger permeates the space around him wrote: I’m just happy when anyone says hello to me. They have no idea what it means to me. He walks the path those ten black students walked every single day.
And this was observation day. That, and our new vocabulary word: remedial. Hm.