Friday, January 11, 2008

Topping it off

Another day with two highlights. I'm going to keep naming these while I can.

The senior capstone at my school is an extended research paper. Students choose their topic and take a semester to write it. I've been asking my seniors if I can read them as they get done. I'm not an English teacher for good reason, I don't think I could face that many papers of that low level of writing on a regular basis. Reading the journal prompts from my class can be disheartening enough.

But the papers are still beautiful. Because they choose their own topic, students are amazingly personal. C arrived in class late with her freshly printed final draft in hand. She asked if I still wanted to read it. I took a break from grading to I read an account of the Bloods on our reservation.

Weaving C's own story into the larger stories of gangs on the reservation and across the country was quite a feat. C account renews my hope of somehow reaching all students. C's currently failing my class--missed a fair amount this fall and gets frustrated because "all you do in tutoring is give us problems to practice." This essay makes it clear to me that C is in the process of changing in a good way. Somehow we're going to get through this year. C needs to pass. C needs to graduate. Let's go.

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