I remember that Monday morning getting an email from our principal. We had lost a student. And I froze. I remember calling to the security guards, “Hey, watch my class.” I remember just completely falling apart.
This young lady was only 15 years old and was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
She lost her life to a drive-by shooting.
I remember how spunky she was.
She’d be like, “Ms G, I like being here, Ms G. You cool, Ms G.” And I’m like, “You can come anytime.” And I would help her with her writing and she would tell me about her day.
I remember going to her funeral.
She had long flowy hair. Catholic chants were permeating the room.
My colleague and I were taking turns hugging sobbing kids.
This is my 9 to 5.
I feel like teachers need a seat at the table.
We need to be in places and spaces where we are able to inform policy.
We are day-to-day, we are in the trenches. We are face-to-face with the challenges that we and our students are facing.
We need to collectively do something about it.
And it starts with giving the teacher the mic to amplify these narratives and these lived experiences for the sake of provoking social change.
AP English Teacher at Morton East High School