Our division director recently recommended the outstanding book, The Other Wes Moore. I am so glad he did! It has really been the inspiration I needed to hit this year head-on. This story of Wes Moore is one of resiliency, love (self and family), hard work, barriers, control, and grasping opportunities large and small. I don’t think I’ve felt this moved by a book since my all-time fav Man’s Search for Meaning (seriously, V. Frankl is my boyfriend and BFF4L). I want everyone to read it! I feel compelled to talk about it and share this really incredible story. People like this are so profound and thoughtful that it feels like they are talking to you, and it accompanies you at work, in ethical dilemmas, and in small choices throughout the day. Insight of our new educational catch-phrase, it’s the ultimate example of “growth mindset”. (You too, huh? I think we might all be getting the same professional development this year!)
When I found out about the accompanying student version of his book, I was really excited (PS- I am really annoyed with the unlinked ‘k’ but I’ve already spent a ridiculous amount of time on my formatting OCD. Carry on.). After reading it, I don’t think I could pass it through in Middle School. Though I believe whole-heartedly in sharing the truth of living and life with students at the middle grades in order to help them make decisions before they are confronted with them, I can also understand the position of our school systems in ensuring we respect the wishes and shelters of their parents. Sometime it can be hard to do this; to know what could benefit a student, but to have to dial back and be conscious of our roles in their lives as secondary to the people who are responsible for raising these children throughout their life-span. Man do we get attached, don’t we?
Even so, I have been toying with ways that I can get this book and story into the hearts and minds of the educators and students in my school family. I’m thinking maybe a Donor’s Choose to purchase a copy for each staff member? A little gift to remind them how influential we really can be in the lives of our students. Sometimes the only voice that believes in them. Sometimes the only portion of their day in which there is peace and stability. I’m also thinking about applying for a grant to have Wes Moore himself come visit the students. I just need to share-I’m obsessed! My poor principal.
It also got me thinking about the characters that are accessible to our students. Wes Moore’s story will resonate with all students, but it is also inclusive of minority populations that are not typically represented in this exceptional light of success. Not because they are not out there, but because those are most often not the characters that are given recognition and reinforcement. I’m finding (through reflecting on my own education and the really superb training I get in my division) the need to make these stories available to our students. Young successful black men, strong-willed women, uniformed mentors of all colors- if society will not give our children their exposure, we have to, in education, make it our mission.
Man, I am really in my feels tonight. This can only mean I’ve been reconnected with my kiddies and am feeling my profession. So good, for real. Read it!