stephanie jones

Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page

Cool things happenin’ everywhere…826

In communities, creativity, justice, social action, teacher education resources, teaching reading, teaching writing, Uncategorized on June 18, 2008 at 5:36 pm

My dear friend and colleague Lane Clarke at Northern Kentucky University sent an email about this story from NPR on the 826 in Brooklyn. I’ve heard and read about 826 before, but somehow it got wrapped up in the sticky webs of my mind and I had nearly forgotten about it completely. I love the concept: really cool, kid-enticing storefront (spies, superheroes, etc.) that mark the entrance into a really cool, creative space where kids read and write. Love it.

Anonymous adjunct paints himself into a classed corner

In anti-bias teaching, classism, professional development resources, social class, teacher education, teacher education resources on June 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm

This article was first printed in the Atlantic Monthly in June and then reprinted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (where I first read it) on Sunday June 15, 2008. There’s already a bit of discussion about the article on blogs including Education and Class and Mike Rose’s blog so I have to add some here myself.

As you read the article and various comments related to it, think about social class, opportunity, privilege, and marginalization. And don’t forget Power. The anonymous writer who describes himself as an adjunct working two jobs claims he doesn’t want to seem “classist” like the Brits or “sexist” but yet continues to paint a picture of his first-year-college-students (and perhaps first-generation college students) as uneducated, disengaged, and unable to absorb even the most simple concepts from his course. Never once does he consider that it might be his own “deficits” (a word he claims to like) about teaching and learning and his own underpreparedness and miseducation that might have led him to this impasse with the students sitting in his class.

Isn’t it just like the archetype “teacher” in our society to fail at teaching and then blame the students?

Get a grip pal. The second job you took on to pay your bills is one that comes with much privilege and power and it seems you are failing miserably at using yours in the best interest of hopeful, faithful, tuition-paying students who are looking to you for some leadership, guidance, and education. When did teaching stop being inspirational? Motivational? Energizing?

If you just needed a second job, go get one where you’re not messing with people’s lives.

Truth is, you are classist, just like most folks in the U.S., and it sounds like you are doing much more damage than good to the students, their experiences with institutions, and to the institution itself.

Do us all a favor: learn to teach or get out.

And don’t write anonymous articles that only further inscribe society’s classist perceptions of success, failure, and the value of human beings.

Newest favorite book: Blessed Unrest

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Blessed Unrest: How the largest social movement in history is restoring grace, justice, and beauty to the world by Paul Hawken is my new favorite book:). Call me slow, but I’ve been a bit resistant to talk about social justice issues alongside ecological justice issues, with my emphasis always on social justice. This book has offered me a new perspective, however, and I have a much better understanding about how free market fundamentalism, for example, not only marginalizes and dehumanizes workers and creates a greater disparity between the wealthy and the poor, but it also simultaneously destroys our planet. I began to imagine, in a way I haven’t before, how local/global “glocal” education that ties together ecological and human rights issues can firmly ground children and all of us to living locally, thinking globally, and inspiring hope and action in a way that could fundamentally change the materialism, consumerism, individualism that fuels classism and classist behaviors. Fighting for living wages, job security, and workers’ rights could be lived beside lessons on living simply – lessons we could learn from folks who don’t have the economic resources to produce much waste or emissions in the first place.

This book is engaging, informational, very well researched, and inspiring. Have fun reading it!

new movie great for complex issues around immigration

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm

The Visitor – a movie released mainly in independent film theaters – is a simple movie about an overwhelmingly complicated and emotionally saturated issue: immigration in the U.S. A burnt-out professor finds himself enmeshed in a joyful life of two artists only to watch one get carried away in handcuffs and held in a detention center until he is deported. In the meantime, heartbreak, frustration, anxiety, devotion, and love are interwoven in the nuanced story exploring the multiple and subtle meanings of the film’s title.

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