‘There is a reason it used to be a crime in the Confederate states to teach a slave to read: Literacy is power.’ – Matt Taibbi
If I told you 4 years ago an educator who lamented returning to the classroom, after working outside of the classroom for 10 years, would be honored in 2015 with an ACE Educators award, receive up to $6, 000.00 in grant funding to implement an art, literature, leadership program within his school community, develop a peer tutoring program for the local elementary school involving middle school students, and engage an entire community in the promotion and celebration of literacy would you believe me?
For the past two years, there has been a great outpouring of support and engagement from the community I serve and support as an educator in promoting and celebrating literacy. I am in awe and amazed at the outcome of the response of staff, students, business community, elected officials, and individual professional colleagues who have responded to the call to action to ‘celebrate literacy!’
Inspired from the movie, Gifted Hands, about the life and legacy of Dr. Ben Carson and seeing how learning to read greatly transformed his life and empowered him to thrive and succeed, a seed to take up the mantle of reinforcing the value and necessity of literacy was planted. Matt Taibbi’s quote included with this post was the enlightenment I gained from learning about the life of Dr. Ben Carson. The inspiration from watching the movie and insight gained, however, had occurred sometime around 2008. By the 2010-2011 school year I began a 4 year sojourn feeling frustrated and disillusioned about what would become of me as an educator having to return to the classroom. Not a good time and my mind was not in a good space.
I entered my current school community in the fall of 2012. By June of 2013, the idea of launching the literacy initiative came back and with the help of the PTA President and a 1st grade teacher from a neighboring elementary school, Literacy Day was launched. The goal was to engage the community in the celebration and promotion of literacy. We had evening after school events involving authors, students speaking publicly about literacy, music performed by our orchestra, puppet performance, poetry, etc.! It has been an awesome 2 years! Books-A-Million has donated over 300 books and $900.00 to the cause. Our local library and community center has allowed us to have art exhibits to display student artwork to promote the arts. Students, in the am and pm, have visited the local elementary school, 10 minutes walking distance, to serve as peer tutors and read to the elementary age students.
Though resistant to the change I have learned to accept it and it allowed me to encounter an amazing outcome I would have never thought possible understanding where my mindset was at the time. Grateful to God and His grace for His awesome, amazing ways!
Father, help us as educators to leave room in our hearts and minds to be fueled and fashioned by You to do a great work in us so the great work of what we do can continue to inspire, influence, and impact students, schools, and communities across our nation.
Experience the elevated, expanded, exponential lifestyle encountered walking by faith and discover the plan, purpose, fulfillment, power, & glory revealed in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.