Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Martin Luther King's dream

Since I'm off work for a few weeks, I'm available to substitute and I worked today in a second grade.
  Typically, one of my favorite grades and ages- today was a bit challenging. It's been a while since I've been in a classroom and one of the hardest things to get used to again is how teachers have everything down to the second how much time you devote to each subject. You do this activity from 8:05 to 8:15 and so on. After spending so many days not being allowed to even wear a wrist watch(not worn in the 1880's) having to watch a clock so closely is a huge change.
  I taught arrays today in math. Seems a bit early to be learning multiplication, but I did it. Then, the most fun was the scholastic news about Martin Luther King Jr. It was a simple passage, and a timeline of his life, and barely even mentioned his dreams, but the kids asked what his dreams were.
   So, trying to remember some of his speeches, I mentioned how, when I was in school, there were no black kids there, they weren't allowed to attend the same school I did. When I was in 6th grade, desegregation happened and we did get some black students in our school- bussed from a neighboring town to purposefully desegregate our school. It was his dream that kids would be allowed to go to the same school, no matter what color they were and that they would be known for their character (how good they were) not for what color they were. Ok, simple enough.  But I'm saying this to a classroom full of white kids except for one hispanic girl. And I'm in a school full of white teachers and white principals and a white school board. I'm wondering how his dream makes any sense to them at all.
   I'm standing up there with white hair and I'm old (very old) to them and all of this is ancient history to them, MLK might as well have lived when Lincoln did, or Washington- they have no frame of reference... except me standing there saying I lived when MLK did and one boy's response? "you're famous!" Uh... what? Somehow, I think he thought that because I lived when MLK did, he thought I knew him. Hilarious! This is one of the best parts of teaching 2nd grade. That and all the notes you get saying what a great teacher you are.
  I have a dream that we could take some of our HS students to Memphis and go to the civil rights museum so they have a frame of reference when they go out into the world and have some understanding of what being desegregated means.

2 Comments:

At 7:30 AM, Blogger jeanne Marklin said...

I'm glad they had you to tell them about Martin Luther King Jr and make it real. Too bad the school is so homogeneous - we all benefit from diversity.
Telling them about not being able to sit at a lunch counter or ride a bus and sit where you want would bring it home too. Thanks for sharing yourself with them!

 
At 7:30 AM, Blogger jeanne Marklin said...

I'm glad they had you to tell them about Martin Luther King Jr and make it real. Too bad the school is so homogeneous - we all benefit from diversity.
Telling them about not being able to sit at a lunch counter or ride a bus and sit where you want would bring it home too. Thanks for sharing yourself with them!

 

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