I am at the Mudroom writing about social justice I write about my first few years as a teacher a lot because I want to save other people from the experience. Y’all. I really, really thought I was going to change the world. I really thought they just really needed me. I needed my eyes opened. I got them, but that should not have come at the expense of my kids learning.
The year I showed up in a classroom in an urban High School in south Atlanta, was the year after the movie “Freedom Writer” came out. I know this because the kids called me that as though it was my name.
“Who you got for English?”
I acted annoyed and told them I was younger and cuter than Hillary Swank, but secretly I was pleased. I was there to save them. I was there to bring them their freedom, show them a better way. Maybe I was hoping to be a little more edgy, like Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds, but they saw me for what I was hoping to be.
I was hoping to be the white savior. I was planning on it really.
Spoiler Alert: The white savior figure isn’t real. We already have a savior, and I am never it. Instead of spending the year winning over hearts and minds by showing up with brilliant lesson plans and a hear of gold,
I learned that I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t even close to enough.