remember rapper Ahmad and his infectious hit, "Back In the Day" (..when i was young i'm not a kid anymore, but somedays, i sit & wish i was a kid again...)? well, this rapper turned Scholar is all grown up, and headed for Standford on a full scholarship (read the article).
i love stories like his. although he was a star athlete & honors student, he pursued his passion, made an album, and still saw the importance of education. in a time in which a lot of young, Black men are getting caught up in the hype and illusion of mainstream hip hop, this man actually makes school look cool again.
tomorrow, i am entering my 3rd year as middle school teacher. each of these years i've gone into my classroom filled with butterflies, ideas, and nervous energy. each year i've come to my room hopeful that this year i will get it right. this year, i will have my "Lean on Me"/"Dangerous Minds" moment when everything i say will click in the minds of my kids and they will be able to see the genius that dwells inside. i sound idealistic, i know, but you cannot be cynical and be a great educator. you cannot doubt the capacity of your students' ability to learn, grow, and thrive and still be an effective teacher.
"A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled." ~James Baldwin
so i am hopeful. on the eve of another school year, this year will be the breakthrough. this year will be the beginning (or confirmation) of their love of learning. this will be the year that each and every child's life will be changed for the better and they will, for once in their life, have options.