When Real Life Happens, The Lesson Plans Change

Last night, I happened to run across a retweet by Jose Vilson…

I checked the hashtag and then I became what I will only describe as frustrated. While I do not think that Ferguson is a “Missouri Only” issue, it is IN MO and in my mind, if educators need to talk about anything at all..it’s Mike Brown…Race…Ferguson…especially those in MO.

Because…Ferguson, MISSOURI.

In every chat that I have ever participated in, there is a schedule. We stick to the schedule. When life intervenes, regardless of what that is, we stick to the schedule. All week long, chat after chat, day after day, I watched my connected community talk about everything except Mike Brown’s murder and Ferguson. It was Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis all over again.

Because why?

…We have a schedule.

Are these things more important than the murder of unarmed black kids? All of these things are more important than a country still plagued by racial divisiveness?

  • Ipads
  • Chromebooks
  • Google Classroom
  • Ipad apps
  • Chrome Apps
  • Backchannels
  • Flipped classrooms
  • Gamification

I get that school is starting but when an earth shattering event happens, we stop and we talk about it. I taught high school and you better believe that my high school kids would be disturbed to walk into class Monday and NOT discuss what’s going on in the world.

I remember when one of my students was a part of a trio from our local gang that murdered the owner of a store, a father of a student in our school. We received an email to stay on curriculum. Don’t talk about it. Keep kids on curriculum. I taught kids from within that gang and kids who were friends of the girl who lost her father. We couldn’t NOT talk about it.

So, I closed my door and somewhere between “solving for X” and identifying the “sin of angle A”, my kids had a platform to speak. They needed that because it was real. It was happening. It was their reality. To ignore it would have been dishonoring their needs as students.

So, yes…I changed my plans that day. If I were teaching in a class on Monday, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

To be clear…

Rich discussions are not necessarily born from pre-planned questions. Rich discussions happen when we let go of our personal constraints and just talk. We ask more questions that we don’t have the answers to. We reflect together and maybe we ask more questions. This is how we grow. This is how change happens.

We do not grow if we only have the same scheduled conversations. We’re talking into the wind. This is noise.

Change…Noise…not the same

There is a difference.

I will no longer contribute to noise. If you aren’t about change, we have nothing to discuss.

If you’re wondering how to start the conversation…You can try with just starting like Jenna Shaw

Also, this  and this one by Chris Lehmann because we have to talk. We just have to.

RIP Mike Brown

RIP Trayvon Martin

RIP Jordan Davis


Comments 4

  1. Pingback: What Will They Remember? #Ferguson | Apace of Change

  2. You are so right. I have been moved to talk about it in my math class this week. I admit I haven’t talked about current events before because I didn’t want to take the steam away from their social studies classes. However, now I realize that it is important for them to talk about it in all classes. My ultimate job is to help students be informed democratic citizens. That is our curriculum.

  3. Pingback: Ferguson: Response & Resources

  4. Pingback: Day 5 Resources | EDG 646 | Technology & Communication | Cabrini College

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *