I recently read a newspaper article about Khadijah Williams, the homeless girl who got into Harvard. This girl has been to 12 schools in 12 years because she, her mother and little sister have moved from shelter to shelter or street to street for most of her life. She graduated last week, 4th in her class, with honors. Her story is quite a story and it got me thinking about my own students.
My school is primarily a low income, English as a second language school. A lot of our kids have issues that they deal with; issues that are way more pressing than school. Most are economically disadvantaged, many live in apartments with several other families, some have parents who have committed suicide and others have parents in jail. Our transiency rate is very high. In fact, this year I had 5 out of 16 kids who came mid-year or later and for a few of them, we were their 3rd school this year. We are always trying to find ways to motivate and make our kids do well in school so they have more opportunities. But for some of them, nothing we do inspires them. They still come to school everyday; we are a place of consistency and safety to a lot of them, but they don't live up their potential. Khadijah Williams did. She was motivated to make her situation better. She is a role model.
Even though my summer just started, the new school year is right around the corner. Every summer is a time to regroup and rest, but it is also a time to think of ways to make more of an impact than I did the year before. I want all my kids to be like Khadijah Williams. I don't mean I want them all to go to Harvard, but I want them all to think of their education as more than
something we make them do. Each year that is my goal. Each year I always feel like I've failed with some of them.