I've been in Baton Rouge this week and what was supposed to be an enjoyable week of visiting my old stomping grounds, has turned into a week of heaviness and weariness. The television has been on since Tuesday and I've seen videos replay hundreds of times. More incidents have occurred that have left my heart hurting for the world in which I live, but breaking for the students that I teach.
Over the last two nights I've had a running image of the students I have taught and I have loved over the last 16 years. The beautiful faces of dark eyes and dark skin looking to me for guidance and examples. The tender hearts when they question the actions of those around them. The tears when they feel hurt or excluded. I've stood in the hallway and talked through their frustration, hurt, and anger. I've listened to the stories of their childhood and cried with them. I've hugged their necks when they had no words.
I worry about the students who walk the halls of my schools and what their future really holds. I want them all to know that I stand with them and want to wrap my arms around them and their families. You are loved and you are prayed for daily!
As teachers, we tell all of our students that they have the power to change the world, but after this week, I don't know if I have equipped them enough to do so.
Teachers have a tall order in helping to change the dialogue in our country, but it is critical that we do. We need to stop ignoring the issues and allow our classrooms to be a space where students can talk about their fears and their worries without judgment. We need to recognize what our minority students bring to the table and how things really are different for them.
I don't know what the next steps are, but I know that we need to join hands and commit to talking about the uncomfortable.