My three Colorado amigas, the ladies I’ve known since middle school astound me. If I could present a tableau of the three of them, and show my middle school students, all genders, what the possibilities are for them outside of the testing and the tardy slips, beyond the perceived limitations, oh what a powerful message that would be. So much discussion about ‘career and college ready,’ and the decline of cultural literacy, and here three of my dearest friends who’ve created lives based on things that will never be on a standardized test.
One of my greatest frustrations is trying to figure out how to show children that though the path may not have all the lights on, we educators will show you how to brighten the path.
Pay attention, please.
Lisa has always had grit and determination. I realize the word ‘grit’ is borderline abusive for children of poverty, but in this instance, she exemplifies all the best of that word. She put herself through college. She made sure she could support herself. She has fought for women’s health rights. And now she is a liaison between disenfranchised neighborhoods and city planners to make sure needs are met, communicated, and sustainable. She is the real deal. She understands access to facilities, and how in pockets of even large urban areas, communities are often shut out and marginalized. She gives them space and voice. Lisa truly levels the playing field. Literally.
And yes, Lisa, I hope that bridge over the railroad tracks gets built immediately. Now I’m going to look at that terrible intersection by our school. You made me want to demand better lights and traffic control.
How can I get teachers to stop saying girls are bossy, outspoken, etc. and reframe those traits as what they are? Leadership, strength, determination, and forces for change?
Kristin is pure joy and happiness, even if the face of the most challenging of circumstances. She is currently a kindergarten teacher, and if my boys were tiny again, I would move mountains to have her be their teacher. She embodies sunshine. Wicked smart, funny, and amazingly physically strong. She bikes over mountains. MOUNTAINS! For years, she has also planned gardens and landscaping projects. I wish I had thought to take a picture of her sketchbook and her resources about southwestern plants. She knows the names of trees and flowers. She sees what is painful to the silent, animals, plants, and sometimes people, and also gives them the nurturing they need.
And yes, Kristin, I wish I could fly you out here to cast your spells on my trashy backyard.
How can I tell people to stop looking at professions like teaching, landscaping, and gardening like it’s a hobby? To take the student who loves being on the GreenTeam or at our new Mill Creek garden to turn that into a valuable and sustainable future for themselves? Hey, people of planet earth, we need this rock we’re spinning on!
Tammy is a film festival producer, shaker, maker, creator, planner, presenter, and supporter of film, the arts, women in film, and great storytelling facilitation. She’s thoughtful, methodical, and intuitive.
And yes, Tammy, I wish I could go to every one of the film festivals you share. You understand my love of stories.
How do I tell students that story they’re writing, that movie they’re making, that podcast they’re trying might just speak to someone else who needs to hear they’re not alone? And, guess what…it might actually help you make a living creating?
I’ll keep this post handy for next year. I may start the Royal Queens Club again with this additional information to help students, girls in particular if they need, to see that they are in control of their paths, but it need not be terrifying. I can’t wait to see what we all do for the second half.