The Invisible Dream?

The website the Invisible Dream brings to mind a major reason for this blog. That is, that I think its important for schools and all citizens to develop a more visible conversation about what the American Dream means.

Check out the website.. it has excellent data and raises the bar on this important question

Social Mobility? Who’s choice and Who’s Command

Social Mobility? Who’s choice and Who’s Command…

Recently I read an article in the AERA’s Educational Researcher entitled Living Contradictions and Working for Change: Towards a theory of social class-sensitive pedagogy by Stephanie Jones and Mark Vagle.

Their main point is that our school systems often tell the child of a waitress or field worker that they can do better than their parents if they work hard, get good grades, get good test scores, go to college, and use their minds to work rather than their backs or hands.

The article covers much more ground than this but I think this is its essential message along with advise that teachers should learn to be reflective about these messages and class contexts.

I have pondered this the last few days.

For me, as an educator, I have always focused on empowering the learner to develop life long learning practices, to seek knowledge of self, of context, of family, of culture, and of their own interests.

I have focused on helping learners consider the dialogic, in a Bakhtinian sense, by exploring what people say and don’t say, why, and the contexts of texts….including those found and created in schools and otherwise.

Ultimately, I still think the American Equation is a worth concept for considering….hard work + public education + the American dream….in view of this article’s ideas…its key to focus on individuals and families constructing their own idea of the American dream and valuing the diversity of possible constructions…

Questions come to mind….

Is all honest work, good work?

What is the purpose of work?

Who should define what you do for work? or play for that matter…

How does your work contribute to you as an individual, to your family, your community, the nation and the planet?

Teachers Matter in This World

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All over the world, teachers matter to children, to learners of all ages, to society, to the evolution of the human species.

All over the world, teachers matter in the little things they do and the big things they do. They make a difference by being an important person in the life of the learner. If they are doing it right, they foster resiliency characteristics. This is important, because in many ways, this is a challenging, traumatizing, and difficult world to navigate, and resiliency research suggests that even among the most traumatized, 70% are able to go on to live normalized lives. Teachers help make that happen.

My wife Sarah, is one of those teachers. She brings her whole self to the job and to each child that is fortunate to be in her class. She brings her intellect, her art, her creativity, her love of children and humanity, her stick-with-it-ness (and she has needed this these past three decades), and her drive to develop as a teacher and human being. She knows this practice is never done… and that she rarely gets to observe the long fruits of her labor. Though from time to time… either in person, on the phone, or via the Internet, her students from the past will contact her and tell her what she has meant to them in their lives.. Just one school year can truly be a game changer… a life changer… a spark plug.

All over the world, the human race fosters its best selves through great teachers. Great new teachers…full of hope and idealism, youth and energy and great experienced teachers who have chosen a path.. a seasoned path to wisdom, excellence, and longitudinal achievement.

I say BRAVO to all teachers and to the power of teaching in any and all forms…as teachers in schools, as parents, as coaches, and in myriad forms…This is life giving back to life…

Happy Week of the Teacher and Happy Day of the Teacher.