Monday, October 22, 2007

Young revolutionaries

It feels so good to, as Jose said, partake in “intelligent dialogue and thorough action.”

Jena 6 is on the topic of my mind. It has been ever since it happened. What is good with the state of America? Its 2007. Much has changed, much has remained the same.

So step 1: Do a lesson on Jena 6. Actually, the inspiration to do a Jena 6 teach-in came from some angry comments to a post of mine where I linked a detentioned Brooklyn 8 to the Jena 6…

Bet, mission accomplished- Teach-in on Jena 6= Intelligent dialogue. The next step: thorough action.

It was special. Through the lesson, I created (or rather witnessed) the passion of young revolutionaries! The class was filled with young souls and strong minds ready to “do what it takes to support this horrible, horrible atrocity,” said by “Sekou.”

Ok, so these kids are ready.

One of my students said he was “ready to get on a bus and head out to Jena, Louisiana to protest in front of the courtroom.” It just so happened that my principal walked in to observe my class at that very moment. Perfect timing, I thought to myself.

So anyway- the action is the Jena 6 bake sale week (that my students thought of) that is going on this week to raise funds for the efforts to support the Jena 6 and other victims of racism and letters to Governor Blanco. Today was the 1st day of the bake sale, and we raised $75 dollars! Every dollar counts! We got 4 more days of Jena 6 cupcakes, muffins, and cake slices.

Best of all, my kids feel connected to something larger than what they know, who they are, and where they are from. But at the same time, I constantly remind my students that these are the Jena 6, but can easily be the Brooklyn 6. So we need to give respect and support in the same fashion that we’d want people who have the opportunity to effect change would do for us.

20 comments:

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Oh yes. Action is all there is. Well conceived action. Nice work.

Love the randomness of the VP hitting your door at the crux moment! That's literature!

Hugh aka Repairman

rabi said...

your kids sound awesome. good for them!

NYC Teaching Fellow said...

hugh- yea, what has come from your meetings on the topic?

rabi- thanks for the shouts outs to my kids. i am thankful for them!

Frumteacher said...

What a great way to have your students do something for the Jena6. A lot of frustration can be channeled in this way. How do they react to what's happening?

NYC Teaching Fellow said...

Frumteacher- My students were very, very upset.. I forgot to mention in the post that we wrote letters to Governor Blanco. The letters were very passionate and very real/blunt. They didn't hold back with how they felt.

I love teaching middle school because I really feel like this is the age where the definition of self happens, and identity is born.

Ms. George said...

Your thoughts at the end of this post and your response to the comments really illustrate the wonder and opportunity of middle-school teaching. We can get our students involved in things bigger than they are, while reminding them they are connected to them.
Keep up your wonderful work. You have inspired me to think about how I can include the Jena 6 with my next lit unit (tolerance) and our social justice unit (multi-genre research projects).

Pissed Off said...

I tried to get my school interested in doing something for Jena 6--couldn't get it going. I wish I had more energy to keep pushing for it. I'm glad your kids got involved.

Frumteacher said...

So, how many cupcakes did you have these past days? ;-)

NYC Teaching Fellow said...

ms. george- please share ideas that you have for your units on tolerance and social justice (when you have time).. i have similar units coming up and would love to build with you and get some ideas.

pissed off- i used a lot of youtube in the jena 6 teach in.. i played them a youtube performance from billy holiday's strange fruit from the 30s.. from that motivation to Jena, they saw (and felt) the horror and vulgarity of what a noose is. transitioned into the jena 6, i think the students had no choice but to feel passionate about it..

frumteacher- you are too funny.. i've... had... uhhh.. a few.. :) but the staff member that has purchased the most cupcakes and sweets this week is our principal!

another teacher said...

Have you seen this? Seems like it might be useful to you.

http://nycore.org/Jena-3Rs.html

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
melissa said...

Word. I think your blog and the topics you write about are awesome. I think inspiring kids to think beyond themselves or their isolated world is why I was attracted to teach "inner city" kids in my hometown. I love their honesty and willingness to try new things, listen to the plights of others and see similarities and differences.

Anyway, I just applied and have been invited to interview for the June 08 Fellows program. Any sage advice?

-mel

Anonymous said...

please dismiss me as a pussy for remaining anonymous (in an effort to avoid any directed, boring, self-important diatribes) and ignore the fact that i am a cohort 12 teaching fellow sticking it out in brooklyn...the bottom line is this: one day, when you fall victim to a sudden loss of self-righteousness, pretend you are just a hard-working, underpaid teacher instead of a pompous ass, and read some of the absolute crap the internet has "empowered" you to flush into the general consciousness. 25...25? your writing and the attitude it reflects reeks of a protracted adolescence filled with spike lee rentals and bong hits of dirt weed. happy to see all the sycophants enjoying your 1-dimensional ego trip..fight the power, and don't forget the dashiki at the dry cleaners!

Anonymous said...

"...they saw (and felt) the horror and vulgarity of what a noose is..." There are a lot of other videos on youtube. Did you show them any of the videos of violence perpetrated by Blacks on innocent White and other race/ethnicity bystanders? Black perpetrated violence that is committed en mass on a daily basis all across America? Or did you just cherry pick the racism/hatred you decided to show your "students"? You're just a racist of a different color. Why would you think you are any different? Because NYS is paying for you to become a teacher in the Ghetto hoods? Nigga, please...

Anonymous said...

Nice you see you censoring the comments--Why remove a prior post that linked to sites showing another side to the Jena 6, if you aren't scared you're wrong?

I agree with the other "anonymous" posts above. You are extrememly racist yourself, and I feel sorry for the children you are teaching. Too much of your influence will really cripple their minds.

Brooklyn said...

why am i censoring my comments? because of ignorant people like yourself. you agree with the anonymous comments above? like the one that called me the n word? and i am the racist?

NYC Teaching Fellow said...

Oh yea, and to the cowards who cowardly posted your ignorant and racist and ANONYMOUS comments, I decided not to censor your asses out because I want people to see how ignorant your comments are. I am sad that you are a cohort 12 teaching fellow. I am ashamed, and sorry for your students.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, posting "anonymously" is different from using a generic name like "brooklyn", with no user profile? I fail to see your point here. Unless you post your full name and other identifying information, you are anonymous despite whatever screen name you use.


If the comments you deleted are so "ignorant," why worry? Let them speak for themselves. Oh, I remember, websites containing facts that contradict you cries of "racism" are dangerous. It would be "ignorant" to even consider the other side!

Now you can just screen the comments before they are posted, so no-on can call you on it!

NYC Teaching Fellow said...

Ok- Mr. Anonymous. Next time you comment on my blog, please check it over to make sure it is comprehensible. By the way- what is your point? Move on. You sure do have a lot of time on your hands.

Anonymous said...

silly nigger racist...

it's because of YOU that 80% of young blacks are in prison.