Philly education contains many levels. With such a diversity of peoples, Philadelphia classrooms become a microcosm of the larger U.S. When our classrooms start feeling like the “real world,” we must find a way to help our students process the tensions they feel. One ARG teacher did just that in her Center City charter school classroom.
Two students came into my room in tears. It spread through our class like wildfire. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Donald Trump” they responded. The world had entered our classroom. The alarm and distress my 2nd graders - mostly black, some immigrants, many Muslim - felt was palpable. It had been building in the months leading up to the election and, on this November 9th, it had come to a head.
Last Saturday, members of Action Research Group (ARG) presented at Penn’s Ethnography in Education Research conference. It was our sixth time presenting, and I remember back to our first in 2012. I was then, as I am now, so proud of our teachers meeting and presenting, and the energy we felt before, during, and after. I was most struck with how our members were changed by the experience.
After presenting, audience members addressed our presenters as researchers and asked about their work and insights about teaching and learning. Discussion lead to deeper understanding of the issues connected to their action research. One ARG member remarked she felt honored to be a part of such growth-minded discussion: she felt like a “real” professional.
It’s March – Spring break is on the horizon. Half of the school year is over. You’ve conquered January and February at full throttle. It wasn’t easy! Students had to relearn some skills and procedures. You had to get back into the swing of things yourself! With numerous new projects from field trips to standardized testing preparation.
Now that you’re in a place of feeling prepared, it’s time to shake things up. Yes - new student groupings!