Motivated and beating the odds . . . Intelligent but under-resourced . . . This is what comes to my mind as I gaze at each of my 60 8th graders. They’re catty and rude, hilarious and witty, and I couldn’t imagine teaching English and Social Studies to any other age group! We spend all-too-much time together, fighting off the ruckus of a 640-student middle school building, reading pages of Edgar Allen Poe and Walter Dean Myers to stave off our own frustrations.
In keeping with frustrations, this “song” litters my ears weekly – “Can I print? I don’t have a printer at home. My mom won’t get our printer fixed. Can I come early tomorrow and print, pleeeeeaaaaase!” My students are eager to get their work done, and I can only respond, “There’s no ink, kids. Go to the public library if you need to print! Plan ahead and e-mail your work to a friend and let them print it for you.” I try to keep the excuses and half-hearted suggestions coming – I don’t want to overuse any. Yet routinely, one project after another remains handwritten, and one student after another turns in a loose-leaf page with the same dejected sigh, “Well, at least I did it.”
No matter the odds for my students, I want them to leave my class feeling as if they’ve conquered the world! As if they can achieve anything they’ve ever dreamed of. Part of that effort hinges upon my ability to treat them like young adults, and give them the resources to showcase their unique linguistic abilities. In this case, we’ve got a computer filled with students’ “voices,” and a printer that needs the LIFE of some ink. Every month, my students work to publish a new magazine of their writing. We’ve done two so far – college application essays for September, and independent writing projects for October – but they’re still “stuck on the computer,” needing printing in order for us to bind them and celebrate our publication. Moreover, there are future magazines in the works – November has a short story focus, and December, a literary criticism focus. Students often get excited and cry, “Yay, I’m getting published!” but haven’t yet seen the fruit of that labor.
We just need you to lend us a hand – to help us realize our potential, and validate our voices – with ink cartridges for our printer. Your help will ensure that my students express themselves not just behind closed classroom doors, but school and community-wide in PRINT.
|HP 17 Tricolor Inkjet Cartridge Model C6625A • Office Depot Inc.||$33.64||5||$168.20|
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