“What will your students remember in five years?” was a question asked during one of our professional learning sessions with Transforming Education. Usually when you recall a memory, you associate it with a certain emotion - whether that is happiness, sadness, excitement, or anger. When building lessons for our novels this year, I wanted to focus on that question in my 7th grade English class. What will my students remember from this? What could I teach that would build a deeper connection to their own emotions? That is how I came up with this unexpected yet rewarding experience.
Young. Gifted. Black. I remember as a youth hearing others speak of me as an intellectual but completely rough around the edges. The truth was, I was a high risk student by all measures - I grew up in an impoverished one-parent household in a rough inner city neighborhood where some temptations swallowed other boys like me. I survived, but by all measures I probably shouldn’t be where I am today - excelling as a successful father, husband, and educator. How did I do it?