The scenario that this teacher laid out before me brought me to tears, broke my heart and lit a fire so strong and deep in my soul that I had to write this blog post...
Imagine a brand new kindergarten student arriving at school for the first time, nearly unable to sit still for the excitement of this new journey. At the end of the first day, the teacher lets every child choose a picture book to take home to "read" to mom and dad. This child has never had his own book and can hardly believe he gets to bring one home! That afternoon the brand new kindergarten student takes the beautiful book out of his backpack, slowly opens the cover and thoughtfully begins to turn the pages. He hears his mother's voice, but is so engrossed in his treasure of pages that his only response is to hold up the book to show her. He hears her voice again and realizes she is telling him to put the book down because they have to go to the store. He flips one more page, shows his mother the picture and tells her his teacher said he must read this book. The mother raises her voice this time telling the child to PUT THAT BOOK DOWN so they can go to the store. Before the child can let out a final plea, the book is torn from his hands and tossed aside and he is dragged to the car. And that is the last time that brand new kindergarten student excitedly brings home a beautiful picture book to read.As the teacher was telling me this scenario, tears were running down my face and I knew it was true. I know this is the case for some of the babies in my schools. When my oldest son was born, I suddenly started looking at every child the same way I looked at my son. I found that I felt like all of the students were "my" children. (A dear friend of mine once said you should talk to students as if their mother was standing right behind you. That's darn good advice!)
The children living in my home have an advocate. They actually have many advocates. Not every child has an advocate, so I think it's my job to be that for them. I believe in public education and I believe in good teachers and I have to change the world for "my" kids and for EVERY kid.
And I have to start today because I am already behind!
Who's with me?!