These have been critical days for my teaching brain. So much of what and why and how I teach is wrapped up in news coming from the U.S. Supreme Court decision (regarding right to remain silent/non-self-incrimination, the Voter Registration Act, Defense of Marriage Act, California’s Proposition 8), and in human life events that inform me – whether my grand-step-goddaugher turning 16 or one of my heroes – Nelson Mandela – waning in his life in this time and place.
As a teacher, social justice principles and practice have shaped who I am, shape how I think about learners, and become core parts of the content I require students to read, respond to, and responsibly interact with as part of learning.
I wouldn’t have come to the naming of this blog – more learning for more learners – without having had a family that convinced me that everything was possible. Using the news about 1960s civil rights, 1970s feminist activism, 1980s break throughs in education, and 1990s seeing the release of Nelson Mandela – using these things at each stage in my life, my parents, great uncles, grandparents, aunts and uncles convinced me to keep pursing what I loved doing in the world: changing it and teaching in it. And they convinced me that – in a homophobic and male-centered world – it was possible for my family to love me as a queer person – not in spite of that identity, but because of how that identity allowed me to live in the world.
Thinking on all of this today – this is the song of the day, the song that captures at the gut level what I believe about my learners because of what I believe about the world and because of how I have been loved in my world across my life – sung by my beloved Flirts, and written by Fred Small:
Everything PossibleWe have cleared off the table, the leftovers saved, Washed the dishes and put them away I have told you a story and tucked you in tight At the end of your knockabout day As the moon sets its sails to carry you to sleep Over the midnight sea I will sing you a song no one sang to me May it keep you good company. CHORUS: You can be anybody you want to be, You can love whomever you will You can travel any country where your heart leads And know I will love you still You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around, You can choose one special one And the only measure of your words and your deeds Will be the love you leave behind when you're done. There are girls who grow up strong and bold There are boys quiet and kind Some race on ahead, some follow behind Some go in their own way and time Some women love women, some men love men Some raise children, some never do You can dream all the day never reaching the end Of everything possible for you. Don't be rattled by names, by taunts, by games But seek out spirits true If you give your friends the best part of yourself They will give the same back to you.