My students are creative, bright like fluorescent bulbs and come in as many colors as those in a rainbow. They make me smile with their questions and their oftentimes simple outlook on life. They remind me not to complicate things that are and can be easily explained. My students have learning and economic challenges that they do not use as excuses but reasons to try harder. They are from Brooklyn. Some are between homes, but all see outside of their windows a neighborhood that is changing and beginning to flourish, yet the same prosperity is not seen behind the same window. Their challenges; challenge me to be the best teacher I can be.
Uniforms are great. Students feel a part of a general community and ideal when they wear them. Yet, often times some students are unprepared for school due to failure to wear either the class or gym uniform. We have found that in most cases it is not that they do not have the clothing, because the school supports families in need, but instead, they can not maintain them. A washing and drying machine will alleviate the embarrassment and shame some students bare because of dirty clothing.
The fact is some students would rather be marked unprepared for gym and be kept out of classes for not having a uniform, rather than attend either with a dirty, or worst, a foul smelling one.
Sadly, the reality is that most bullying in school involves what a student wears, how the clothing fits and smells. The results of which leads students to avoid classes or become less involved in classroom activities.
We want every student to learn with confidence and unobstructed by how they look. Our school's goal is to not only to teach academics, but to model and instill life skills. When a child can wash, dry, and iron their clothing he or she feels confidence attending the subsequent days and, as importantly, learns what it feels, in that moment, to prepare to become a responsible, and self sufficient young adult.
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