Be the Voice of Change

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Musings on the International Day of Peace and the first weeks of school:

Here I am teaching in-person for the first time in a year and a half. It seems funny to even use the words “in-person”; I mean, how else do you teach?

But now many of us understand words Ike virtual learning, zoom calls, and home office from firsthand experience. This past year and half we learned the value of hunkering down and staying home to “be safe” and the sheer joy of being able to gather together with friends and family. We found peace and made peace and offered peace where none was given.

We saw conflict, felt tension, and recoiled from verbal combat every time we opened a social media app.

But just like teaching, living in peace with one another is less about relaying information or our point of view and more about building relationships. It’s less about building fences and more about building bridges.

So with these thoughts in mind, I taught the students the song “With Just One Small Voice” this week, and we talked about what it means to use your voice together with others to speak out for or against something. I asked the students what things they would speak out about if given the chance.

A fifth grader said he would speak out against homelessness, another said they would raise awareness about hunger, a third grader said she would want to use her voice to encourage others to clean up the environment, and a second grader raised her hand and shared her heart for the plight of Haitian immigrants so passionately and articulately, I thought I had been transported to middle school.

These are the future peacemakers and bridge builders of our world. These are the thinkers and change makers.

And I get to work with them every day.

I will bind myself willingly to this kind of work–to peacemaking and restoration and love because I believe this is what will ultimately change the world. Respect, cooperation, listening with empathy, being willing to change your mind: these are the heart of hope for our future.

And so with this fullness of hope in my heart, I pray that peace finds its way to you wherever you are and in whatever you do.

We are what the world is becoming, so with one small but collective voice let’s sing so our voice is heard.

#bethechange #peacemakersunite #tryalittlekindnessinstead

NaPoWriMo Day 22

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Back in the good old days before schools were in shutdown. Oh how I miss my classroom!

The prompt for the day was to think of what serves as a metonym for the place I call home and then to write a poem about my chosen symbol that embraces, as well as complicates, what it represents.

To be quite honest, I couldn’t think of a metonym for the place I call home, so I decided to use a variety of different metonyms that describe my life as a teacher.

I hope you enjoy this little Ode to a Teacher.

Ode to a Teacher

While the world works away at a 9 to 5
and comes home for some R & R to revive,
the teacher’s day has only just begun.
Success demands each night teachers do a dry run

to prepare for the next all-consuming day
in order that children to knowledge belay.
While most teachers daily calm storms in their rooms
to encourage their scholars to grow and bloom.

There are papers to grade and work to assign
to keep all the littles on track and in line.
Even when school is no longer in session,
teachers still must work to hone their profession;

the licensing law says they must hit the books
or suffer the principal’s big dirty looks.
So when the world seems to run on 9 to 5;
there will always be teachers in overdrive.

They will pick up the slack for parents and friends
making way less money without dividends.
As a teacher myself, I must tell it straight,
copping-out is not something I contemplate.

—a draft poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

How many metonyms can you count? Let me know in the comments below.