I truly believe my students each have something incredible to offer the world, and anyone who has been in my classroom would say my students feel known and valued by me. However, there are days when I am straight up shocked by what students don't know. Students will ask questions like "Is Atlanta a state?" or, "Do pickles grow on bushes?" that just make you wonder if these people in your room were imported from another planet. I sometimes feel like I'm being punk'd and Ashton is going to walk in and say he paid my students to act like they know nothing. For instance, two students recently chose to write an essay about terrorism and mentioned the events of 9/11.
One refers to September 9th 2001:
Another mentioned how the Empire State Building was attacked...
I don't say this to humiliate students. There are plenty of things I don't know that my student know. Many of them know two languages fluently, others know more about sports than I would ever want to learn, or play an instrument with insane talent. Some of them know how to raise two younger siblings or all the lyrics to every song Nicki Minaj has ever sung. I say this to explain what I'm doing every day. Not all of teaching is glorious like it seems in Freedom Writers or Stand and Deliver. They leave out the montages of teachers pulling all nighters with piles of poorly written essays, trying to find the best in each of them and give students feedback that will help them improve. As you can see from these essays, there are copious typing, spelling, and grammar, errors throughout. And this is a HUGE improvement from August. Sometimes you wonder if the work you are doing is even making a difference in the long run. I don't have an answer to that question yet, and will have to wait and see :)