Sunday, May 24, 2015

The end is only the beginning (BAL Blog Post #11)

I can't believe it's almost over.  This has been such an amazing year where I have learned so much from you, and I have been trying to meditate and master balance.  3 day weekends have a habit of bringing you the balance and time to reflect that you need.  In fact, if we went to a 4 day work/school week each week, I bet we'd all actually be a lot more productive.  Families would be healthier, stronger, together more often.

But I digress.  Our year together is coming to an end, and I will honestly miss the time, space and communities we have built together.  my 2nd period class is always lit with videos like this: "Stromae - "Papaoutai"", 3rd period I will always remember for our arguments and discussions, like the one about Kendrick's "hiiiPower", 4th used to be a huge class with Ms. Cotton, one of my favorite days was discussing Biggie's "Juicy", but we've also had so many memories as a small but spirited crew!  Oh, and 7th period, I especially enjoyed the silence with you.   We made it through narrative essays, poetry, Beloved, my maternity leave, a (still unfinished) zine/newspaper and A Raisin in the Sun.  Through it all, I tried to weave in current events around police brutality, race and class in the U.S. and link it to our history through the texts we were reading.

One of the most difficult, high-level texts we read was from Michelle Alexander's book "The New Jim Crow", and we learned about the Reconstruction Era - after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, and the laws began to change to convict freed slaves of any number of inane laws in order to maintain dominance.  She makes the direct connection between the Black Codes and laws of this time period in beginning the modern prison system, and the prison industrial complex (in which prison is for-profit and someone is making money off of every jail cell that stays filled).  I hope that I have begun to get you to question what you see in the media, and consider that violence against black people has always been a custom in the United States, and that while police brutality is still a huge problem, this has been going on for a long time.  

I don't think you'll necessarily think back on this year and say lovingly, "oh, annotation! so glad I met you!",  but I do hope that you fondly remember some of the conversations we had, about books, about life, about trying to change and shape our world into a place that is rooted in equality and justice. About dreams and making ours into realities.   Because your dream has been deferred, but you do not have to sit back and let it happen.  Take your future back.  I dare you!

(please leave as comments your reflections on my class.  this will be an ongoing and open assignment until the end of the year, as I want to hear about moments you'll always remember, things you enjoy about my class, what I need to change next year so you'll stay awake, which books/songs/topics you liked most, your ideas for improvement.  my class is only good because of you, so help me make it better for next year's you.)

I don't say goodbye, I say, "you won't get rid of me that easily". Until we meet again (in the hall next year, while I'm pushing my mobile classroom around!)

Ms Lauren