To know me is to know my vision… my vision for you and for our year together.
First and foremost, I want our community to be built on solid relationships. I want to know each of you, not just as a student, but as a whole human being. I also want you to know each other in the same capacity. Learning happens in a web of human interactions, and I want our classroom to be a place which protects that fragile web. On this web, we weave patterns of trust and risk and safety and honor and joy and growth and authenticity–all the elements which make both the heart and brain soar.
And I have vision for how much your brain can soar. I want this year to be a year of growth–growth that surprises even you. I know you can do so much more than you believe you can, and I will hold you to that. I will not insult you by making the class easier or dumber or simpler. I will provide supports; I will model; I will energize; I will differentiate; I will teach in a variety of ways. But I will never let you get away with less than the glory I know is within each of you. I promise to push each of you to reach your wondrous potential.
My vision is for that glorious potential to shine through your reading, writing, thinking and speaking. I want you to put more pages under your belt than you ever have in a year. I want you to read college-level material. I want you to find yourself in characters and connect to their stories. I want you to be sad to finish a novel. I want you to write at an academic level. I want you to use advanced vocabulary and explain yourself thoroughly. I want you to get done with a paper and look up with a smirk and feel such a sense of pride. I want your thoughts to be critical and evaluative and connective and profound. I want you to ask analytical questions about everything–so much that you get sick of it. I want this kind of mind to be the key for you gaining power in a world that tries to oppress you. In seeing behind the curtain, you can kick the operator out, or at the very least rip the curtain so that you truly see. And I want you to confidently articulate all this meaningfully and professionally in college-level conversations. I want you to code-switch… to informally speak the language of the streets, or your people, or your culture, but also to have the ability to undermine and persuade and question the most intimidating of “others”–and to know when to speak in which way to get what you want.
And what do you want? I look forward to learning, supporting, this… and seeing you achieve. College acceptances. Scholarships. Career opportunities. Family pride. Self-worth. Independence. Self-sufficiency. Self-advocacy. Senior memories. My vision is that all of your individual successes and accomplishments become a collective smile on all our faces.
Our collective identity matters. I will come with my all each day…but somedays it will not be awesome, or perfect, or smooth, or enough. Somedays I will need YOU to step up and provide the energy, the leadership, the motivation. After all, this is YOUR education… and I want you to own that with all that is in you. This ownership prepares you to transition into the real world, where it is on your shoulders alone. My vision is that you are ready for that transition because you have practiced the ownership in my class.
But most of all, deepest of all, truest of all, my vision is that daily you enter and exit my room feeling loved. A Scripture says: “I loved you even before I knew you.” This is how I feel about all of you. You are my children. You are why I teach. You are what makes my heart sing. So in all our rigorous academic pursuits, I also want you to feel joy and peace and comfort and care in my room, from me, from each other.
Here’s to a great year of making this vision reality. With love,