I am finishing up grading the reflection writings about English 11's Civil Rights Projects and I am struck by several things I want to address here:
1. I am proud of the projects. They turned out better than I expected overall Sure, we could improve speaking skills, move things around to be less formulaic, but overall, we did well. Thank you.
2. It is awkward. These topics are touchy. They hit nerves. People have strong opinions about them and that made for some odd and uncomfortable conversations, BUT I feel many people grew and learned from them. There are some who wrote that they feel they changed others and I am crazy proud of those who said that even though others were ignorant or judgmental, they do not hate them or judge THEM. I think some of you really see that someone who is bigoted is afraid and intimidated and feeling uncomfortable. Showing them love is what makes them change their minds, even a little bit.
3. We are a diverse group! I am proud of this too. I know that at first glance, we look similar but we are black, white, hispanic, asian (multicolored American!) in this room. We are gay and straight. We are Christian and agnostic. We are many things but mostly we are human and overall we can accept others, even if we disagree with them.
4. We are not afraid of change. In my years of teaching, acceptance of minorities has grown. I know that it might be hard for many of you to see it but it has changed! We, in Wheatfield, do not get so much exposure to those different from us, but we are not nearly as ethnocentric as we once were.
5. You can learn about yourself at any age. Your reflection showed me that you are willing to take blame when you slack off. You are willing to grow from experiences. I have grown from this too and every one of you helped all of that happen.
I hope you are happy with what you got out of this project. I appreciate your willingness to share about your personal differences and your true opinions. I know you will leave here some day and experience far more than we even touched upon here but I hope that this opened to door to knowing an abundance of really cool people in the world, not to mention BEING one!
I am a high school teacher in Wheatfield, Indiana, trying to reach out to my kids in a way that works for them.