Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Little Light Of Mine (On EdCampBrooklyn and Movement Building) | The Jose Vilson

The Little Light Of Mine (On EdCampBrooklyn and Movement Building) | The Jose Vilson:

The Little Light Of Mine (On EdCampBrooklyn and Movement Building)

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Yesterday, I had the chance to go to EdCampBrooklyn, the first EdCamp in the borough of Robinson, Wallace, and Carter (among others). When the founder, Juli-Anne Benjamin, asked me to come through, I only asked when, not if. The trek from Harlem to Brooklyn was two trains, about an hour and a half on a Saturday morning. But the conversations and the energy were more than worth it. Educators across the country, especially those of us who attend these conferences on our “free” time understand that unconferencing isn’t an exercise in gaining more followers or creating a profile for ourselves, but to create synergy around pedagogy and practice. This specific EdCamp was important for me to attend because I knew that the educators who attended this conference were focused intently on working with the most marginalized students in our system, the ones that won’t show up on the brochures and city halls. Doing this on a Saturday gives us only Sunday to re-gather ourselves and implement the energy from this event back into our classroom.
You’re right: this work is difficult.
Even though my classroom aesthetics have gotten sharper, my language sharper, and my resolve more stringent, I see the 5:30am grind kicking my butt. I wake up and go to work with the sowers and the construction workers. They’ve got thumbtacks and hard hats. I got headphones, mostly to shut my brain up and get me focused on my work.
Any number of things plot against my success. Forgetting my lesson plans. Fire drills. Announcements on top of announcements. Coverages (which I’m more than happy to do, but still) when I would like to be grading. Lost packages. Bulletin boards and mandates from on high. Babysitting issues. Achy feet, knees, hips, and sinuses. The first seven days of teaching this year.
I get up to teach, though. Daily. Because I am the change.
Because teaching is my core, I’ve learned to accept the seemingly trivial gifts that students have to offer. I accept when students who otherwise hate math love my class. I recognize that my students’ correct answers grant me opportunities to do fist pumps mid-class. Some have taken to calling me Mr. Cool, even as I beg them to keep it inside. We don’t need heroes in class, much less someone as The Little Light Of Mine (On EdCampBrooklyn and Movement Building) | The Jose Vilson:

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