It sincerely bothers me when people sandwich mourning of some young people with comments on brightness or talent and that they “had a bright future ahead of” them while completely overlooking others. It’s right up there with using only a certain caliber of young person as an example that those certain groups of people can be functional.
A person does not have more value because they get better grades, because they were active in their church, because they took part in a hundred extracurricular activities, because they won awards for talent, because they were being scouted by someone.
A person has value because they are a person. When a young person dies it is not tragic because of how they performed, what they did, or what they got for it. It should be no more tragic for a future Harvard attendee to die early than it is for a student bound for community college, technical school, or no college at all. We should not affix a value on grief that matches the supposed “value” of the deceased as a person.
When a young person dies it is tragic because they are a person who is loved by someone, a person who is leaving people behind.
That young person is someone’s child, grandchild, student, friend, maybe someone’s sibling or significant other or parent. They are someone’s role model, or someone’s reason for getting up in the morning, or someone’s hope.
Language I’ve been seeing lately implies, “This young person is a greater loss than that young person because they had more going for them.” There’s no reason for it. Every person’s life should be valued, every person’s accomplishments — no matter the apparent “greatness” — should be celebrated, and any person’s loss should be mourned.
“On Saturday, February 18, 2012, the Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York presented the first Spirit of Freedom award to Jada Williams, a 13-year old city of Rochester student. Miss Williams wrote an essay on her impressions of Frederick Douglass’ first autobiography the Narrative of the Life. This was part of an essay contest, but her essay was never entered. It offended her teachers so much that, after harassment from teachers and school administrators at School #3, Miss Williams was forced to leave the school.
We at the Frederick Douglass Foundation honored her because her essay actually demonstrates that she understood the autobiography, even though it might seem a bit esoteric to most 13-year olds. In her essay, she quotes part of the scene where Douglass’ slave master catches his wife teaching then slave Frederick to read. During a speech about how he would be useless as a slave if he were able to read, Mr. Auld, the slave master, castigated his wife.
Miss Williams quoted Douglass quoting Mr. Auld: “If you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there will be no keeping him. It will forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.”
Miss Williams personalized this to her own situation. She reflected on how the “white teachers” do not have enough control of the classroom to successfully teach the minority students in Rochester. While she herself is more literate than most, due to her own perseverance and diligence, she sees the fact that so many of the other “so-called ‘unteachable’” students aren’t learning to read as a form of modern-day slavery. Their illiteracy holds them back in society.
Her call to action was then in her summary: “A grand price was paid in order for us to be where we are today; but in my mind we should be a lot further, so again I encourage the white teachers to instruct and I encourage my people to not just be a student, but become a learner.”
This offended her English teacher so much…”
Read and reblog!!
“this offended her English teacher so much that the teacher copied the essay for other teachers and for the Principal. After that, Miss Williams’ mother and father started receiving phone calls from numerous teachers, all claiming that their daughter is “angry.” Miss Williams, mostly a straight-A student, started receiving very low grades, and she was kicked out of class for laughing and threatened with in-school suspension.
There were several meetings with teachers and administrators, but all failed to answer Miss Williams’ mother’s questions. The teachers refused to show her the tests and work that she had supposedly performed so poorly on. Instead, the teachers and administrators branded her a problem.
Unable to take anymore of the persecution, they pulled her from School #3. Wanting to try another school, they were quickly informed that that school was filled and told to try “this school.” During her first day at this new school, she witnessed four fights, and other students asked her if she was put here because she fights too much.
Long story short, they took an exceptional student, with the radical idea that kids should learn to read, and put her in a school of throwaway students who are even more unmanageable than the average student in her previous school. To protect their daughter, her parents have had to remove her from school, and her mother has had to quit her job so she can take care of Miss Williams.
To date, the administrators of School #3 have refused to release her records, even though she no longer attends the school, and they have repeatedly given her mother the run around. We at the Frederick Douglass Foundation have contacted school administrators in regards to this situation and have also been told to hit the pavement.
That’s what we intend to do. If this school will sacrifice the welfare of an above-average student whose essay, that they asked her to write, they find offensive, we intend to make everyone aware of this monstrous injustice. The school has a job, and it is not doing it. We would like as many folks as possible to call the Principal of School #3 and complain about this injustice. Her name is Miss Connie Wehner, and she can be reached at (585) 454-3525. This treatment of Jada Williams cannot stand.
wow wow wow i am just
this country. i cant anymore.
Curious about your reactions/thoughts.
I mean…what if the wedding dress folks or the pornstar or the guy selling energy drinks want to read about education, too? All that I can see when I consider blocking them is someone on the other side of their computer screen with a tear running down their lonely, spambot cheek.
For example: after putting in at least 150 resumes back in NY and never getting a call back on one of them, I leapt at the position that moved me to Western MA without really thinking about whether it was something that would be well-suited for me. All I knew at the time was that they said they wanted me to be part of their organization so badly that, even though the position I had applied for was full, they wanted to offer me another that was open.
Pros: This meant I had a “plan” again if only for a year.
Cons: It turned out that the position was a horrible fit for me and not exactly what was described. I won’t go into more than that.
Well, I needed a way out of the position I was in. What I found was a part-time youth worker position with a national agency that has great programs and a great reputation. The position is in an area that really needs some help. They wanted me and I adored them.
Seems perfect. I took the job. I then found out that the location is an hour away. Well…I took it anyway. The other resumes — about forty in the past couple of months, here — hadn’t gotten a bite, and this was a great opportunity. That was about a week ago.
I just got a call from the after school program at an elementary within walking distance from my apartment. They liked my resume. Did I still want to set up an interview or had I already accepted another position?
In that split second I was thinking, “Oh. Oh no. OH NO. WHAT DID I DO. I DID IT AGAIN WHAT DID I DO.”
But then I thought about it. And I thought, “You know what? This position would have ended when the school year ended. There’s no summer program attached. That means that in another few months I would be frantically looking for employment again.”
The position I’m in now will offer MORE hours over holidays and summer vacation. And they need me there, whereas the after school position…well, it’s a different sort of thing.
I made the right choice.
(And I am just going to keep telling myself that.)
loserfacekleo answered:keep active. stay in shape. eat right.
girlwithalessonplan answered:Airborne is gross. I use a simple Centrum multi and take caltrate—when I a remember.
hasbimubarok answered:life with keeping “really” natural resources indeed without chemical things is good choice… or in my country we said organic life spirit
lhuddles answered: im anemic, so i take iron. ive also started taking b12—people swear it keeps you from being sleepy. im undecided.
annaslibrary answered:I prefer OJ, Emergen-C when OJ is not available, tons of H2O, tea w/ honey, & sleep. It’s worked well so far (knock on wood).
mariewood3 answered:We pee out most of the vitamins we take, study shows. They’re not pointless, but they don’t help nearly as much as they’re intended.
ursoteachable answered:I am always sick…I told my students no more hugs until spring! But they still hug…pick noses and spit when they talk…
jbizzle329 answered: I think I deal more with mental exhaustion than sickness.
sketchmeasong answered: During student teaching, other teachers suggested I take echinacea. I did not get sick once, but I’m still thinking luck was on my side too.
thesecondbestblog answered: daily sacrificing a goat to the sun god
These are some great responses so far (though I don’t think I’ll be sacrificing a goat anytime soon). While I gear up for the new job, I may keep asking questions like this one to see what other people are doing and share answers for conversation. What do you think of what we’ve got so far? Anything strike you as familiar? Picking up any good tips?
I’m waiting to see if anyone else calls them out on it before tomorrow, as I know the leader of the group, who is a very competent and socially aware individual, doesn’t shy away from things. I’m also going to contact her tomorrow to see if she’s planning on addressing it. If not, I’m going to have to say something involving facts and linking references.
I am officially at the point where if I had a dollar for every follower, I wouldn’t need to get a second job to support me while I start this new one.
(It was suggested that I follow this statement with a link to a paypal account. Very funny.)
In related news, I start next week (not this Monday but next) and will be back in the direct-service-with-youth game. So, more actual experience-based youth-related entries. Whoo!
…but I am currently trying to figure out how to respond to an apparent future educator who believes that depression is not a mental illness, that it is alright to condemn suicide, and that one can overcome not only severe depression but also “severe mental retardation” if one wants to badly enough (they brought that last one into the picture independently) because they personally know people who have done just that.
Where do I even start here? The future mental health professional and the teacher in me are both completely at a loss. And this lengthy response of theirs is where other people can see it in the group — the thought of other people taking this away as fact makes me incredibly uncomfortable.
Maybe I should start with a few gentle notes on facts…
Do any of the teachers (or otherwise active people out there) take daily vitamins? Were they suggested by a doctor or did you start taking them on your own?
When I was student-teaching a handful of people swore up and down on Airborne, so by the end of my second gig in the classroom I switched back and forth between that, a generic, and water bottle vitamin mixes. Did it make a difference? Well I did get sick less, but the scientist in me is shouting, “But there were so many other variables!”
With the worst of winter dwindling down (I think, I hope, possibly) for many of us, what have you been doing to stay well?
- Coworker 1: So what do you think?
- Coworker 2: ...I don't know about the word 'procure,' I don't know if that's the right word choice.
- Coworker 1: Of course it is. Procure.
- Coworker 2: I don't know, it seems awkward.
- Coworker 1: *reads definition of the word*
- Coworker 2: No, I know what it means, but...
- Coworker 1: I'll make you a deal. You find a different word, and we'll see.
- Coworker 2: How about (tosses suggestions back and forth around other words with other people in the office).
- Coworker 1: I've got an idea, how about....procure.
I got a different position.
I was just informed that I got a job working at a Boys and Girls Club just under an hour away from here.
It’s part-time. It’s an assistant position, not a manager position. It will pay less than what I am making now — which is carefully calculated to be at 110% of the poverty line.
But I have never, ever been so happy to hear that I got a job that to many is a large step down from what I’m doing now.
Now to look for a supplementary income and take in the fact that I will once again be able to work with youth directly.