In my 25th year as a teacher, I still remind myself that I cannot forget what I do in the Chicago Public Schools and why.
I teach writing in the Chicago Public Schools because it nourishes emotions and augments the mind. We hear and use words so casually these days that they become like oxygen: assumed and undervalued. Often too easily accepted, words lose their worth or gain unmerited importance. I teach writing so students remember that just as there are unending possibilities to use language, there are unending possibilities to create a future beyond any overwhelming circumstance. As we learn the guidelines for accomplished writing, we defy the boundaries of audience so that our words and our experiences become one universal wisdom among us that engages us to feel, to think, to speak, to ask, “What do I believe?”
The politics will continue to play out. Our profession, however, must emphasize the importance of our work.
This post originally ran during the 2012 Chicago Teachers strike.
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