Growing up in an urban area plagued by economic inequality and violence, my students have a lot working against them just to make it into the classroom. But that doesn't stop them from coming. These 7th and 8th graders are well-aware of their unfair circumstances, and instead of making excuses for themselves they decide to show up to school with the hope that their education can be the difference their lives deserve.
Many of the future professionals in my classroom are slowly beginning to imagine their world beyond elementary school.
As the young adolescents they are, they begin to lay out their next years in their mind, and determine what they must do to make those visions as bright as possible. Although they may not know exactly what they want to do with their futures, they know it best begins with their elementary school graduation and the pursuit of a high school degree.
The young African-Americans in my classroom have a lot going on in their lives. As teenagers, minorities, and impoverished students, they have a multitude of daunting challenges facing them. It is my belief that one of the greatest places to find comfort in such a struggle is through a book.
Sharing a connection with the right book can powerfully impact a person, as these right books can transform my students into confident and socially conscious learners.
In a world that far too often glances over individuals of their background, these children can find comfort in books that both share their world and connect them to new ones.
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