Today is the first day of school. I usually repost this blog with the advice my wonderful principal, Charlotte Lurchenmuller gave me years ago. I will still share it, but this year I have a lot of other thoughts on my mind.
I want to approach the year with optimism, so I'm thinking of my mom and even though this is the first time I won't share my first day of school with her, I want to recall all of the first days she made special while I was growing up.
There is an election today, to fill the vacated board seat of Marguerite LaMotte, a true advocate for students and teachers who passed late last year. I will ignore the ugly campaign of the reform movement's candidate and urge all those District 1 residents to cast ballots for Dr. George McKenna.
My school has become a charter, an LAUSD affiliated charter so not an evil corporate charter, but still.... and Emerson is in the midst of a huge construction project. This is bringing Supt. Deasy and Board Member Zimmer and the press to our campus this morning. I will ignore that dozens of workers have been on campus to make it presentable, not for our students, but for the superintendent. I will focus on my students and make it about their first day.
I will acknowledge that an unarmed eighteen-year-old Mike Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, MO a week before he should have started college. Protesters of such violence have been subject to rubber bullets and tear gas from the same police they protest. This is the reality my students face. They are subject to the discrimination of poverty and racism everyday, but today I will welcome them and hope to provide them with the skills and knowledge to fight such injustice.
I will mourn the loss of Robin Williams whose "Nanu nanu" were two of my brother's first words when he came to us from Korea. I will remember that I do not know the battles those around me face. I will try to understand everyone's potential struggle and greet them with kindness.
I'm thinking of all of my students, current and former, and I'm thinking of the teachers heading out there this morning. Have a great first day of school.