As soon as I decide I'm ready to stay home for a while and learn to enjoy it, something comes up. THis time I decided to run for planning board. I figure it's something I'm interested in and have a good background for. And it will take a reasonable amount of time (mainly evening meetings) which would work well with staying home with the kids and still having a career type thing going on. I turned in my nomination papers at the end of the week.
Then, over the weekend, I read about the incident in Oakland where a man shot and killed 4 police officers. When I looked for more info, I found that it happened just blocks from Frick, and I found another story about an 18 yr old who was killed right down the street. He had the same name as a former student of mine who would be about 18, so I got a bit worried. It turned out to be a different 18 yr old, but in finding that out I also got more info about the man who killed the policemen. Turns out he went to my school, and so did his 16 yr old sister, who was in my class 2 years ago. He fled to her apartment, and she was shot in the leg in crossfire as the swat team came in and killed her brother. So then I heard from one of my favorite former students to tell me that she's okay, but she does live across the street from this house.
Now I know there's nothing I could do to change something like this. But I also know that I could go into my classroom the next day and give my students a safe place in which to discuss it. My classroom was a community, and we were able to have very real discussions about current events, local and otherwise. It's not that hard to do, but it doesn't happen very often. People blame it on the tests, but it's also not always the easy way out. When I walked into my classroom in Oakland I had the choice. I could make my students focus straight off on the text book, or I could start with the news. I always checked the headlines before I came in so I knew what was coming at me. ANd I was still surprised by stories on many occassions. I vowed during my first year to never back away from a discussion with my class because I was uncomfortable. I think that's why my students were able to have the discussions they needed to have. That's what I feel like I could bring to the table. I cdon't think I could fix the problems that happen now, but I think I could give the students a space to figure it out and try to make sense of it.
ANd then my choice is to stay home with my 2 kids in Hopedale. And I don't even necessarily enjoy it. I sometimes feel a little like I'm backing away from the whole conversation.
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