Sometimes (or most times) I feel more like a social worker/guidance counselor/legal counsel than I do a teacher. Just this past Friday, one of my students received a phone call from her lawyer who states that obtaining a Visa was going to be impossible, and that her best bet is to return to France and establish a life there. She is devastated, and now my unit test sits unfinished on my desk as I hunt for an immigration lawyer willing to do pro-bono work for a Sophomore…
I immediately made a connection to the DREAMer articles because I often feel like such a hypocrite in my classroom. I talk to my students often about the idea of college, but I do so knowing that so many of them, due to their undocumented status, will be limited to private universities, denied federal loans, and faced with hours upon hours of private loan applications. I either steer my students towards college, knowing the near impossibility of the option, or stay silent about what I think they could achieve for themselves. Neither makes me feel good.
The problems that I grapple with daily, based around my students’ rights, are born from the same issues with school and society that John Dewey was speaking about in School and Society. According to Dewey, the school and the community are part of the same being. What happens in one, directly influences the other, and so the other way around. Dewey states that the progress of our students is the standard upon which we judge our schools. If our students are being kept from education, then doesn’t Dewey’s logic find our schools and society to be utterly failing our undocumented youth?
In speaking about the articles that I read, I was most interested in the article from the New York Times Learning Network, “Teaching About Children’s Rights Through the Work of Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi.” As soon as I clicked on it, I recognized the source from the What’s Going on in the Picture? series highlighted in the annotation resources from #ED677. What I noticed about how these articles connected readers to other resources was first how the authors did not have to explain background information. Instead, they provided links to outside articles or prior articles on their sites that gave additional information to new readers. This got me thinking… why do I not allow my students to read articles directly from the online source. In this way, we can discuss how to use these links to complete the full picture of the story!
Have you done this with students before? Are they distracted by other open tabs, or do they stay focused on the reading at hand?