I have often thought about my roles as a teacher as distinct and separate. In one role I am an American Government teacher. I am focused on getting my students to be engaged and active citizens and to take advantage of their rights and fulfill their responsibility. In my other role, I am an AVID teacher, trying to help many of my students be the first in their family to go to and graduate from college. I am trying to support their future aspirations and give them access to the American Dream. Today, as I was sitting in my session on closing the civic education opportunity gap, I came to the conclusion that my two roles are actually part of the same mission.
The session was very powerful and quickly outlined how civic engagement is also a social justice issue. The voices of those most in need are often the ones that go unheard. If we look at many of the issues of dysfunction in our society, much of it comes back to the fact that we have a government in which too few are heard, and they are often saying the same thing. As the presentation went on, I was inspired by all that is being down to help close the civic engagement gap and encourage all students to get involved. It made me hopeful that over time, more voices that feel empowered and understand their rights and responsibilities will help us toward a more a more just America.
My role as an AVID/Government teacher are the perfect combination in order to advance an agenda of social justice. AVID helps my students understand the path to economic self sufficiency. It helps them to succeed in school and college, helping them to find the career they desire. Government helps them to understand that life is about more than just their own interests and that they have responsibilities in a Liberal democracy. By striving to do my best in both roles, I can help support the development of the whole child, to guide them in creating an engaged and fulfilling life for themselves and their family. I can give them both the means and the tools to change the future.
While in the session, one of the members of the the panel mentioned that her mother always added someday to the end of the pledge of allegiance. I too hope that my work will lead to a nation, "with liberty and Justice fo all...someday." I just hope it will make someday become someday soon.