My Education Revolution

This morning I was watching reruns of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.  I'm a big fan of Jamie, not just for his cooking skills, but mostly for his passion for positive social change.  The episodes today took place in Huntington, West Virginia, which has been called the most obese city in the United States.  Americans have a reputation around the world for eating junk food and being overweight.  To go there, make people more aware of healthy eating habits, and see the dangers of obesity and processed food requires special courage.  Teaching people how to cook fresh healthy meals was the easy part.  Changing people's old habits and stubborn attitudes was the real challenge. 

It reminded me of why I became an educator.  Besides lazy eating habits, Americans also have a reputation for educational underachievement and not valuing education as much as the rest of the world.  I wanted to positively impact society the best way I could by being a high school English teacher.  Not only did I want to teach people to read, write, think, and listen, but also dream big, think critically, and give them the tools necessary to live the lives they dream of.

I decided to teach in San Bernardino, CA.  It's a community consumed by poverty, violence, and all the problems that go along with them.  Youth here have to grow up with that right in their faces.  They are also affected by low expectations, low confidence, and low self esteem.  I came here to empower the youth by giving them the highest quality of education possible and as much opportunity as that can give them.  Like Jamie Oliver, I've gotten a lot of resistance, been frustrated, and there are many factors beyond my control.  Still I try.

Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to move a mountain than it is to get certain students to write a response to literature essay.  I've experienced a lot of students who have stewed in failure so many times that the hardest thing for them to do is simply try.

Once in a while, I feel like giving up.  I'm sure Jamie Oliver has felt it too.  What helps him going is his genuine passion to help people.  I believe that is also what keeps me going, just that he and I have different approaches to our revolutions.  Before I taught my first class of the day, I made the choice to start an educational revolution here.  Hopefully it will start a ripple effect that affects society as a whole. 

Let the revolution thrive today and every day...

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