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Friday, November 3, 2017

It's the humanity not any Mumbo Jumbo of Teaching Best Practices

CCSU Literacy Center Teacher I missed you too 
I am blessed to work with new teachers, experienced teachers, parents, and children. There is not a single day that I don't see some act of kindness happening that inspires me. Helen Keller said: “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.”

I hear a great deal of "Best Practice" in teaching, but it's all twisted in rubrics of indifference. Tied to learning objectives, benchmarks, teaching as a science. The very things that no child will ever remember twenty years from now.

Just when I think all is lost, I turn around, and see what my friend Jamaal Bowman refers to as teaching as a pedagogy of love.
Teachers, Teachers, Teachers,
Every pat on the back,
Every sign of love,
Every message of hope,
Every good job,
Every Glad you came today,
Every I missed you,
Every hug for doing a good job,
Every I like what you are doing, can we work on it together,
Every kind word,
Every kind look,
Every Kind act,

Your humanity matters more than the all the teaching scientific mumbo jumbo.
Your humanity matters more than the test scores,
Your humanity is what children will remember 20 years from now,
Your humanity is what keeps you fresh, hopeful, and it is what makes you beautiful.
Hear's to the beautiful moments.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner
This medal may be plastic, but reading your first chapter book is all GOLD 
Teachers inspire me to walk. Vicki Soto was one of the teachers on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, that Adam Lanza Murdered while she protected her first graders.  I can't change the past, but I can choose to honor the courage, humanity of those 20 children murdered, and the six adults who died defending them. Vicki Soto sacrifice reminds me that there is something inside us so strong. Consider running, or walking with me some year in the VickiSoto 5k ( ).Newtown mother Nelba Marquez-Green mother of Six year-old Ana Grace murdered that day reminds us everyday "Love Wins".  Consider supporting the Ana Grace Project  
( )
On Saturday I choose to walk with love. Vicki represents the best example of teacher humanity I know. 

It the humanity that defines us, and it's our humanity that saves us.
If you like to listen to the song that is inspiring me to walk in the Vicki Soto 5k tomorrow it's 
Lira performing "Something Inside So Strong""Something Inside So Strong" 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Worth every penny

To all you commuter college students and their parents out there.
"Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety 'til I sank it
I'm crawling on your shores" ~ Indigo Girls

I never lived in the university dorm. Brought the meal plan. I took the bus and my lunch for my first three years to college. None of it hurt me. I made many friends on that bus, and many are still friends today. 
I always found time to read another chapter, or engage in great conversations on those bus rides. I needed to be near work and home.
Looking back being near home meant my biggest fans and greatest ch
eerleaders were always there to greet me at the door at the end of those bus rides. To ease my burdens, read my papers, and help revise and edit them. To feed me my favorite meal at the very moment I needed it most. The Home Team mattered a great deal to me. I owe a part of my degrees to my Home Team.
I always think at graduation the whole family and their friends should march up with our graduates. No one is an island. We never get there alone. Somewhere someone helped us stay the course, and get over the bumps.  
Here's to those who are commuting to community colleges and universities today. Take heart, you are not missing out on anything. It was all good, to be honest it kept me grounded, and out of a lot of trouble.
Also one more thing, all the sleepless nights, brain battering days, the feeling stupid moments, and yes all those student loans were worth it. 
Worth every penny,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to listen to the tune that inspire me on my walk this morning it was "Closer To Fine" by the Indigo Girls

Friday, October 27, 2017

I'm not waiting America's courts

State Heroine Prudence Crandall, with a Student in Hartford LOB.

At Howard University in Washington DC at the 2015 Save Our Schools Coalition
March and conference
I'm not waiting
Some educator reformers are inspired by Wall Street Billionaires, Presidents, and Politicians,
They look to these as prophets of justice and equity,
Some live on their every word,
Some live to touch their garments in hopes of salvation.
But, I say these are the very ones who have always compromised equity and justice in education.
These are the ones who say equity someday will come, but not this day,
These are the ones who say justice someday will come, but not this day,
Be patient people, you can't expect the world to change overnight.
Yeah, I know these people,
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew these people,
On April 16, 1963, he wrote his historic Letter from a Birmingham Jail,
Some know the reason why he wrote his letter,
But, more have no clue,
Some know the reason he wrote from an Alabama jail cell,
I suspect many of these current so-called Ed Reformers, and their idol Wall Street Billionaires haven't a clue.
I have read in between Martin's jail house lines, and found that April 12, 1963 Clerical letter: ALABAMA CLERGYMEN'S LETTER TO DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
I have read their words:
"We the undersigned clergymen are among those who in January, issued "An Appeal for Law and Order and Common Sense," in dealing with racial problems in Alabama. We expressed understanding that honest convictions in racial matters could properly be pursued in the courts but urged that decisions of those courts should in the meantime be peacefully obeyed."
Oh, Yeah I have read the one before, the jail letter,
I know why Martin rejected their be patient Negro people,
Let our courts work it all out.

Those very same courts that enforced 3/5s of a human being,
The  Supreme Court that ruled that Dred Scott was still a slave, and if his owners wanted they could come get him anytime,
The court that said he had no right to file suit in these United States,
As he was not a citizen of the nation he was born in.
The courts that allowed Jim Crow to flourish,
The courts that allow voter intimidation in our land today,
The courts that gave no justice to:
Trevon Martin,
Michael Brown,
Eric Gardner,
Sandra Bland,
Alton Sterling,
Or a thousand other Black souls.
While, the privilege can be patient,
While, others can wait on the courts,
While, others can have faith in School Choice Policies without equity.
While, others can place their faith in Courts, Billionaires and Politicians,
I know, better.
I know, our nation's history,
I know, what the life of a real education activist looks like,
It isn’t no Principal Perry on CNN,
For I have studied the life of Prudence Crandall,
That American schoolteacher and activist who pushed for women's suffrage and the rights of Black Girls,
And, in old Canterbury,
They, burnt her school for Black Girls,
Like Dr. King, they jailed her.
But, like Dr. King no prison cell could hold her.
I am tired of patience,
I am tired of waiting,
I draw my line in the sand,
I am not standing with these Ed Reformers who say someday, but for now let our public schools compete against each other for limited resources.
I don't want justice in our public schools’ tomorrow,
I don't want our poorest school to compete against each other.
I reject that old notion of dog eat dog.

What do I want?
When do I want it?

What do I want?
When do I want it?
What am I marching for?
When am I marching,
Every day the call goes out.
Like Steinbeck's Tom Joad I'll be there.
Now you know where I'll be,
Now you what I am fighting for,
Now you know I'm marching  for,
I'll be there,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner
First United Opt Out Washington DC Department of Education
Like Tom Joad said at the very end. I am ready to take responsibility for justice. Like Tom I have come to understand we are each other's keeper. . I head the ghost of Tom calling me.
Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there.
Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there.
If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’—I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry n’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build—why, I’ll be there. See? God, I’m talkin’ like Casy. Comes of thinkin’ about him so much. Seems like I can see him sometimes." ~ Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath

If you want to listen to the song that inspired my walk over the Avon Mountain this morning it's 
Tom Morello "Ghost of Tom Joad" w/Roger Waters and Wounded Warriors