Another life to come

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;

Man never is, but always to be blessed:

The soul, uneasy and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

– Alexander Pope, “An essay on man”

 

I’m ready for the kids to come back.

I spent the summer traveling, swimming and catching crawfish with my kids. I woke up late, watched the Tour de France, wrote a lot and published very little of it.

When the calendar turned to August I reviewed the long to-do list I wrote in June, picked an essential few items and checked them off before teacher workdays began.

Monday’s Groundwater Presentation by the Racial Equity Institute framed my thinking around racial inequity across multiple systems and getting more comfortable with cultural differences in my classroom.

I’m teaching freshman English and newspaper again this fall. Instead of reinventing the lesson plans I’ve used before, I’ve created new, overarching goals for each class that will change the way I approach each unit.

My English students will learn to harness the power of story through the study of of art, literature and film and use their own stories to build identity, raise awareness, solve problems and create change. My newspaper students will more effectively engage their audience by diversifying our story forms, increasing the frequency of our digital coverage and growing our social media presence.

If it all goes according to plan, English students will complete new project-based assessments at the end of each literary unity and newspaper students will have data from our website traffic and social media impressions that tell us if our audience is paying attention.

I’m trying to realistic goals for my own growth as a classroom teacher because there are many other sticks in the fire, too, like mentoring a student teacher, presenting at the National Council of Teachers of English and Journalism Education Association’s national conferences in November, and delivering professional learning to Hope Street’s North Carolina Teacher Fellows.

I hope to focus my own writing and stick to topics related to supporting low-income students through policy (like before) as well as sharing my own practice more directly through the blog.

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