(This post is inspired by my favorite teacher ( seriously, she’s like the Freedom Writer teacher ) in the universe and bff, T.C. She is revolutionary and amazing and inspiring. She begins her new classes with a dialogue something like this every September.~ Love you, T.)
I am amazed by the diamonds that just need to be dusted, and I am blessed to be given the job of holding the dust cloth and taking the first wipe.—T. C.
Welcome to 8th grade English. I’m thrilled you are HERE and believe this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
I am well aware that many of you are from broken homes, abusive situations, foster facilities, and dreadful conditions. I also know some of your family members are incarcerated and unable to take care of you. I understand. I’ve been there, and I’ve lived in places and cities that most people would be afraid to walk alone in. So you see, I really do understand.
The situations you find yourself in Do Not Define You, or Determine Who You Will Become. Remember that. Hold that reality inside your heart. This, at times, will save you.
My expectations for this class are easy to follow. You respect one another. You respect me. You treat others with dignity. No violence. No verbal abuse. No bullying. It will not be tolerated in this class. EVER.
If you’re having a bad day because you were arguing with your parents in the morning, that doesn’t mean you can punch somebody in the face, call another student a rotten name, or throw a chair across the room. If you’re on an IEP, that doesn’t mean you can swear and blurt out whenever you like. If you didn’t get any sleep last night, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to threaten and terrorize another student.
I want you to know I care about you. I even love you. I’m here to talk with you about anything you wish to talk about. No subject is off limits. And I will find every resource in the book to help you succeed and rise up to where you should be. I want you to know I’m not here to be your friend. I’m more like a mother figure who will hold you accountable every. single. time. for your poor behavior. I will also praise you for your awesomeness, amazingness, and uniqueness.
If you think you can’t do the work, write an essay, or know what a possessive noun is—you can sit with me during my lunch time and after school hours, and we will work on it together.
Because “You Will” be passing this class.
NOTE: After the initial introduction, T. doesn’t need to say anything. The mission statement is understood. It is now time for action, not passiveness. The first action she completes is this: Each student writes down any negative thoughts about last year and then places that negativity through a shredder. She does it, too. This is the beginning of a new, positive year!
~~~Dear, Reader, have you had a teacher who has changed your life in a positive way?
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