(We are asking the students to keep a journal on the trip and we have reflection time each night. The guided question for this first night was just about who they are and how this trip is helping motivate them to reach their goals. I will be keeping track of my own responses here. This one is more of a general reflection, while the others will more likely focus on students’ reactions)
From the sugarcane fields on the tropical isle of Grenada to the farm fields of rural Indiana, place is important to me. Being here back in the Boston/Cambridge area as a teacher who was once a student, is beyond incredible.
I think if my reputation proceeds me, I am probably known as a strict teacher that will not take anything less than respect and hard-work in her classroom. But I’m also laid back and like to be open and share funny or poignant stories about my life. Both of those sides (Ms. Younge and Delia) work together to make up who I am in my job and outside the classroom. The most important thing about me though, is that I’m an eternal optimist. Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m unrealistic. I never set unrealistic goals. I always set very thoughtful and paced goals that will allow me to reach the supposedly unreachable. And I always believe it can be done, which is necessary in my line of work. There is no road that one can go down that you would be too far down to turn around. All of these things that make up the core of who I am are also the reasons that I am most excited for this trip. There is so much of my high school self in each of these students here. I know what it’s like to dream of something bigger despite those around me either not having any plans of going anywhere, or trying hard, just as the crabs do in containers, to pull me back down as I strived daily to “get out.” Beating the odds is more than just a bus ride story with a stranger for me or a tear-jerker of a personal statement. Beating the odds is a lifestyle. It means knowing what those around me think I cannot do, and still doing it because I inherently, as a human being, deserve the same amount and damnit, I’m going to do it. And I see it in these students. That drive. That passion. That won’t back down/I will run through you if I have to. If my goal is to help young students of color find their voice and believe in their own autonomy to craft a future for themselves and to create their own realities, then it starts with students like these—understanding the important role of what they do each day in breaking cycles of poverty, poor schooling, and marginalization.