Monday, November 24, 2014

Slicing and Caring

Time for the weekly Slice of Life at the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Tweet at #SOL14  

       Thanks Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy!

        Much of my life consists of caring, caring for family, for my students and colleagues, and for myself. I care also about my country, and about the earth. I do what I can every day to make a difference for someone or something. I spent the later part of Monday evening watching CNN, wondering if they should be sharing so much about Ferguson, Missouri, and the terrible conflict that community is enduring. It feels invasive, yet perhaps we should know so we can respond as human beings who want better for everyone. 
        My community is worried, a little, about coyotes in the neighborhood. They are concerned that the leaves are collected in a timely manner. I'm not sure what to do. Both things, actually, are important. Yet, there seems to be something more important I'm missing, because tragedy continues.    



        Here is a beautiful post I bookmarked in October, and I'm sharing it as my slice of life. In my part of the world, my work, it is a personal goal to do something about the dearth of literature about diverse peoples. I share with students and with colleagues. I purchase as much as I can.
         Early in the writing is a quote from this post: Why does diversity matter? The answer to that question should be simple and straightforward: because everyone deserves to be a hero. Because everyone deserves to be seen. Because representation matters.

          And  Junot Diaz is quoted too: If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. I hope as teachers and writers we can make a difference.

Here is the the link, at the NaNoWriMo website.

And I'd like to thank Tara, at A Teaching Life, for the nudge to speak.

22 comments:

  1. You offer such wisdom. Thank you. I've been wrestling so about what to say to my kids, at home and at school. I've been wrestling with the idea of if I have the right to say anything at all. I've been thinking a lot about the book, Each Kindness. We may read this book again today.

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    1. Thanks, Kendra. I believe we must speak out, but I am wondering how the conversation this morning will go. Some students will know a lot, some nothing. But we will talk!

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  2. Bless you, Linda, for the quotes and their message. We need to hear this this particular morning.

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    1. And certainly, thank you for the post last night. I watched and watched, couldn't 'not' write something. Hope your Thanksgiving is a nice one, Tara.

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  3. I was trying to write about the news out of Ferguson last night and was unable to find any words. The events just seem so frustratingly hopeless. Thanks for sharing the meaningful words, that bring me some hope, this morning.

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    1. Tara nudged, & then I remembered this link that I valued so much. Thanks, Max.

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  4. Thank you for your wise thoughts, Linda. At NCTE Seymour Simon reminded teachers about the importance of kindness. Perhaps it is up to us to spread that message beyond the walls of the classroom.

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    1. I agree, Rose, we need to do more beyond those walls. All of us teachers and writers have the facility to do so. Thank you!

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  5. YES. How will those of us who live in predominantly white areas learn about other cultures without books about them? And for the minorities who live here, how are they and their children affirmed and validated if there are no books that reflect them? Understanding is the beginning of peace, and we can have a hand in that. Thanks, Linda.

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  6. I think a book is the best way to bring our kids into the lives of other people. Back in the day teaching 7th graders we spent a whole day reading Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen...it is about the power of education to make a difference. In parts it was grueling to read...but books like these change attitudes ...sometimes even entrenched attitudes. I also think about Journey of the Sparrows... We do need to do more as teachers. xo

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  7. I so wish you were at NCTE to hear Lester Laminack, James Howe, Marion Wright Edelman. All crying of the need for diverse books and our role as teachers to see help our students see the mirrors and windows in the literature. The post you link is a perfect reminder of that need. Thank you so much Linda, you are as always a source and a beacon for what is good in teaching.

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  8. This quote made me catch my breath, Linda: If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. Beautiful. I am going to do some more thinking about this one. Thank you.

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  9. I understand and I agree with you Linda. Sharing the violence just doesn't seem to have any positive effects. Every bit of the story just does not make sense.

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  10. I live in the deep south and prejudice runs so deep and long that some people are oblivious to it. They can make a comment right in front of a person of color without blinking an eye. And so our words continue to reflect an ongoing oppression that is totally unfair. We must be wiser. We must speak a new song. We must turn this tide with our voices.

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  11. This post brought to mind women in countries where they are not allowed any public life, where they are kept out of school, denied heroes. With Malala, Pakistani girls have been given a hero, but then there was an "I am not Malala" Day -- heavy sigh.

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  12. My heart is sick for the students who live in Ferguson and the surrounding areas to witness the destruction of lives and property. I wish I could understand what motivates people to create such hatred.

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  13. I just arrived home, want to thank all of you for your thoughtful comments. It's so great to think we can all work to solve some of the problems in our world.

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  14. Everyone deserves to be a hero. Yes, simply profound. Simple wisdom--if only it could be so simple. A part of me is thankful that there is no school this week; another part of me would like to have school, so the conversations would naturally flow, and somehow I could convey your simple wisdom that seems to lack simplicity in this complex world.

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    1. If only there is a path I know I would follow it, Maya. At my school our only rules are "love and respect". Everything comes under that umbrella. Simple, but oh so complex.

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  15. Thank you for sharing this... <3

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  16. Thank you for sharing this... <3

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  17. Linda, thanks for giving words to the sorrow that so many of us feel. We went to "All the Way" yesterday, a play about LBJ. I was saddened at how much in our society is still the same. Thanks to you and Tara for speaking up.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!