Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Social Justice


First of all- thanks to all you friendlies out there who talked to me about last week's depression post. Honestly, there are a few reasons I write this blog. One of them being that it's cheaper than therapy. Often, I start writing about things that I need to think out for myself, and voila the answer works itself out.

Today was one of those rare days where I attended a professional development workshop and I walked away dazzled. I participated in an amazing workshop for ELL teachers given by a woman who has been in the business since 1974. She was energetic. She was passionate. She was real. I want to carry her around in my pocket all the time. So many of the things she said resonated with me, and she delivered her thoughts with so much love.

One thing stood out to me in particular. Dr. Guzman said that you can't be an ELL teacher without the hunger for social justice for your students. She noted that part of our job is to make sure that our students are enveloped in and protected by the great laws that the United States has for our ELL students. She said that we can't just be satisfied by giving them a good education- that we must work every day to make sure they have an equal opportunity for success, for social participation, and for the opportunity to help enrich and open their native English speaking peers' minds.

Yes, I thought this is why I teach.

Then, I took this concept back to my own life. Although I feel I've gotten myself out of my recent funk, I know I can slip back easily. Even though I have more than I ever thought possible for myself in my life, I'm hot tempered. I'm jealous. I can get whiny. I'm stubborn. I think it comes with the territory of being intelligent, passionate, and opinionated. In short, I'm a lot to handle. But if I really want to find peace within myself, I need to make sure that I am treating myself with justice. Because a lot has been given to me, a lot is expected of me, as the saying goes. I need to pour my energy more into working for others, into making things better and not worse, and to focus on all of the things I do have, and suddenly all this popularity and has vs have not bullshit will fall by the wayside. I also need to be fair to myself- I need to know when I need to give myself a break, and I need to give it. I know when I need to give my friends a break, too, and I need to give that as well. If you want peace, Nicole, you need to start working harder at justice.

Who would have thought the time I spent writing sub plans yesterday would have turned out to be so, so worth it?

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