My students need access to relevant, and thought-provoking literature like The Hate U Give, which illustrates racism in a present-day setting, and Turtles All The Way Down, where a character with a mental illness is celebrated. Add I am NOT Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Extraordinary Means, Four to ten of each book, and we are making the transition possible.
I have been blessed to work in communities where students face challenges that are both shocking and humbling. The day to day struggle of many that pass through my classroom is what drives me to create a classroom environment where students feel safe, cared about, and have an equitable chance for success. My students come from low socioeconomic neighborhoods, where many parents are working multiple jobs. Having students come from such diverse backgrounds, the spectrum of available opportunities is staggering. And yet they persevere.
Working with young scholars, whose aim is to better themselves, almost makes my job as an educator easy... ...Almost.
There is an abundant need for students in my community to engage with literature that has relevancy and meaning to their personal journeys. Being able to make these relevant resources and literature available to my students is financially burdensome. While we do have a working school library, with wonderful librarians to assist in finding relevant literature, the budget is small. If there is a new title brought in, there is only one available. That is why my goal is to continue building a personal classroom library, filled with relate-able, relevant, and thought provoking works.
My students need access to relevant, and thought-provoking literature like The Hate U Give, which illustrates racism in a present-day setting, and Turtles All The Way Down, where a character with a mental illness is celebrated. Add I am NOT Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Extraordinary Means, Four to ten of each book, and we are making the transition possible. By bringing these titles into my classroom, my students, as well as students on my to access. Whether that be reason be financially or opportunity, students at my site will benefit immensely from getting to read these novels. Many of these students and their families cannot afford the cost of brand new books. The library would be an option if it were closer to our neighborhood - with the public library more than ten miles away, the walk would be too far and dangerous, and many parents are working, making it hard for students to make the journey.
Students who find literature that is ever so relevant become readers for life.
When a student is affected and moved by a story that may mirror something they have experienced, or an issue they are currently dealing with, they respond in a way that shows maturity and understanding. One of the biggest issues facing educators today is the lack of relevancy in the classroom. Students change. Circumstances change. And education needs to change with them. These titles deal with topics ranging from racism to mental illness, healthy relationships to unhealthy relationships, and from familial loss to addiction, all things my students are dealing with. All these books written in a way that helps the reader cope and understand the situation with clarity and responsibility.
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