As a woman of color living in American I never take my education for granted. The two oldest siblings in my grandmother’s family were the only two who were allowed to & able to go to college. They are proud Tuskegee and Fort Valley State graduates. My mom, who did not grow up in the south but still faced obstacles as her New York guidance counselor told her she should go to trade school. She ended up earning a Master in Social Work degree from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). My path was made easier through the scarifies and struggles of my grandparents and parents, although not without challenges. Like many 1st year students I goofed off a lot and skipped some classes and that first report card shocked me back into shape!
Each academic year in one of my books I put a picture of Charlayne Hunter-Gault; in another book I put a picture of the Little Rock Nine; and in another book a picture of James Meredith. The pictures are my inspirational reminders. I think I am going to add a picture of Malala Yousafzai.
Today I sent all my students an email and challenged them to:
- appreciate fully the privilege of an education,
- come to class prepared,
- not procrastinate,
- be engaged and proactive learners,
- think critically,
- inspire someone else to pursue a higher education or complete high school,
- pledge to tear down any obstacle they see for others in receiving an education, and to
- hold me accountable for facilitating discussion and learning.
I, in return challenged myself to give them 100%+ each day I meet them and to hold them accountable for being responsible for their own learning.
We should ask ourselves “What would Malala do?” http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/10/10/355054344/pakistani-teen-malala-yousafzai-shares-nobel-peace-prize?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=2034