I am currently writing from New Orleans. I am about to check out of my hotel and head home, but I have some time to kill. I spent the last three days at a very cool education conference. I learned a lot, and I am feeling inspired for the school year. I got a lot of really great ideas that I could see myself implementing in my future classroom.
I came here alone, and I spent most of my time alone. Almost everyone at the conference came here because they were sent by their schools, or they came with a group of educators that they already knew. I met a lot of great people during the conference sessions and it was neat.
What I’m trying to get to is that I don’t think I would ever do this again. I would definitely come to a conference again. It was awesome and it fed my inner-nerd in a way that I really needed. But I think next time I will come with a group of people. That way I can have people to hang out with and process what we learn when the sessions are done, instead of coming back to my hotel room at 4:30 and waiting for the next day to happen.
Also, my first night here was the night of the Dallas police shooting and everyone was going nuts and I had no one to talk to about it. Thankfully cell phones are a thing, but it wasn’t the same. People on social media were using the police shooting as a way to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement and that was pissing me off and I had no one to talk to about it. I thought the world was going to crumble and I was going to be all alone at an education conference.
I think the world is going to crumble all the time and then nothing changes.
And it was so interesting being at this education conference, trying to figure out how I can best serve my students to ensure their success, when the real problems they face have to do with the color of their skin. And there is nothing I can do about that. And I can’t tell them that I understand their struggle because I will never know what it’s like. I am a privileged white girl, and I grew up joking about being afraid of police because I was stealing from grocery stores and smoking weed. But I was never in any real danger. I wasn’t even in danger of getting caught, really. No one wanted to catch me. People want to catch my kids.
My students have trouble focusing in school for many reasons– boobs, popularity, family issues. And, if they say the wrong thing, or move the wrong way, they could be killed by police. I wish they could just enjoy being fourteen, and I wish I could protect them from the reality they live in everyday. They walk around town and people get nervous about what they are going to do.
Along with some cool classroom management techniques I learned this weekend, I am going to do everything I can to create a space where my students can feel completely safe. I am going to try to talk to as many people as I can in the next month, so that I can set up a place where my kids feel like human beings.