Old already- this phrase is something I thought yesterday as each of my classes watched the President's back to school speech. We were a day late because the administration does not like the President, so the entire school did not watch it. We could watch it in our rooms if we wished- as Social Studies teachers. Actually, worked out well for me, because we could immediately talk about it.
They watched and listened. It hit hard at my group. Foster kids, English language learners, military's kids, single mother kids, farm kids and everything in between. What was the overriding message, "I did it, so can you!". I am tired of the line of old pro players who troop through our school for a fee. Next week we have a yoyo man telling kids not to bully. Yup, we can meet together for that...but to hear an inspiring story and speech from the most powerful person in the world right now...the politics is too much.
My second hour spontaneously broke out paper and pencil. They wrote a letter telling what they will do with their lives to better the country. Become a chef because families need cooks. Become a doctor because my sister has problems that no one seems to be able to help. I was actually shocked. In less than ten minutes I had great papers in cursive (very unusual these days). Shout outs for spelling of larger words (only the Language Arts teachers have dictionaries). Back and forth discussion as to what a President would want to read about their lives.
The day before I had come home dejected. I had decided this was my last year. The hours, the papers to grade, the fight to get what I need to teach, the misunderstanding about why I teach.
Today I go back again- ready again. These kids deserve what everyone else deserves- a chance. You know why? Yes, they can!