Thursday, July 3, 2014

Reflecting On What I Do and Loving the Serendipitous Moments Where Everything Makes Perfect Sense @fairfieldu

Yesterday, the goal for the teacher institute was to explore personal writing: narratives, memoirs, essays, and stories. The day began in small groups when I learned that a young man from Benin was looking for me. He got on a bus in Bridgeport and ended up on campus. He wanted to attend Ubuntu Academy (which doesn't begin for a couple more weeks). Hearing he was nearby, I arranged a campus tour for him and, later, he joined the teachers in the summer invitational. At the end of the day, he asked if he could come back again to learn with the teachers. It just so happened that we read Lopez Lomong's Chapter 8: Writing For My Life in the afternoon when he joined us. He also borrowed six books to take home to read. After I dropped him off, I had 30 new Facebook requests by similar young people in southern Connecticut (and Benin). I'm seeing a new fundraising initiative to cater to the forgotten voices of our world - especially those arriving to cities like Bridgeport.

They are thirsty to learn. They are craving to be taught. They are 100% appreciative.

Then, when I got home, I went through the 100s of emails I've neglected the last two days, including a shout out from +danieltrust with a series of photographs from his scholarship dinner. Always a ham, it's rare for me to ever get a serious photograph (as evident here). I DO LOVE THIS PHOTOGRAPH and I continue to  celebrate Anmol's success at Bassick High School. She arrived to the U.S. a few years ago and, driven, she enrolled in my English classes as a dual enrollment student this year. She's coming to Fairfield University in the fall, too, with much scholarship and support. She is a mover and a shaker and it's been a pleasure to ride alongside her wonderful wings.

The rhetoric about urban youth is they don't, can't, and won't. This is far from what I've witnessed with 18+ years of teaching. In fact, I see kids wanting a good education but suffering through state-mandated, policed curriculums that are totally detached from what they need and the literacies they desire. The photos here restore my passion for working with kids. They represent  the stories needing to be reported. This is their truth as it has been shared with me.

@CWPFairfield invests in the amazing potential of all teachers and students in Connecticut. It is the work I came to do. Without  community outreach, I would dry up and die. Staying connected to K-12 schools is the most important thing I do in higher education - it feeds my soul.

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