i am not ready to return, but life happens, even when you're not prepared. as i spend precious hours with both kids asleep planning (instead of sleeping), i know that everything is going to be okay. i have memorized the curve of her cheeks, her smile will be illuminated throughout my day, his curls and his curiosity will follow me back to work. they will be well-loved and taken care of, and i will go back to my routine of splitting my time between my separate selves: NY/NJ, work/home, personal/professional, teacher/mother, listener/writer, feminist/wife. i live my life in transit between two halves, and i have made a career out of tight-rope walking between identities.
we are reading a really difficult piece this week - and i want to start by telling you that, because it will be rough at first. there will be words you don't understand, dictionaries to consult, annotations may be mostly questions, there will be things we have to stop and discuss. however, i think it's worth it to read this piece, because it sets a historical framework to what we're experiencing today - from stop and frisk, to the racial tension with police in NYC, in Ferguson, in Detroit, Chicago and Baltimore, from school-to-prison pipeline to stereotypes about race and culture.
i am stepping back a bit in history because i am also searching for answers. as i comb the news and see race-related stories of violence and prejudice almost everyday, as i see the inequality that still exists in our society, i often wonder if slavery is really over. has it ever been over? do we know what a world could look like without people trying to gain power over one another? i often think about laws as necessary to keep peace and order, but as i re-read this essay, i've been wondering, what if the laws are the problem, and not a solution to the problem? it seems like the laws keep changing, but the inequality that exists in our society remains the same. does changing the law ever change how people think or act? or do we change how we act by our own choices? or something in between? again, i have more questions than i do answers.
here are the questions we will think about as we read (PRE-READ the questions, remember PUKE?) this excerpt from Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow.
1. Can legislature (or laws) change how people act? Why or why not?
2. What were the purpose of Jim Crow laws? How were they different from slavery?
3. What were "black codes"? How were they used after slavery was over?
4. What are two examples of positive achievements of the Reconstruction Era?
5. Is this essay an example of informational writing? Why or why not?
i'm curious to know how your thinking has changed in these few months since we've been examining literature and current events in America. your response below can address question #1, or you can also respond with your prior knowledge or inference about what Jim Crow laws are, or you can choose another topic for your response. we will also be looking at adopting a government structure in our 2nd semester classroom, so you can also tell me what you think about that! how do you think the government should function in our classroom?
i may not be ready, but here i am! are you ready for what's next in ELA?