Beyond this she incorporates writing in her drafting classes. The students write about who they are, where they come from, what their hopes and dreams are. In her classroom is a sign that says, “Writing is...mind traveling, destination unknown.” Her students have a clear love and affection for her. She has ways of insisting that they all stand up for themselves, sometimes literally. In all of our school visits she was the only teacher that insisted that every student introduce themselves to us, after we had introduced ourselves to them. Yes, it took time out of class, the students were squirming in their seats, half of them had to be asked to speak louder. What a beautiful thing though to be asked as a middle schooler to be louder, not quieter.
So at the high school i am interning at I have yet to find a deteriorating rat in the corner, and I don't know of any asbestos problems, but I have seen teacher detentions where the students are treated almost as animals. I have seen students yelled at for looking out the window or rolling their eyes. There are military recruiters in the halls, and more importantly outside where kids who don't have cars wait for the bus, or a ride, or just hang out after school. I have talked to students who tell me that the “haves” and the “have-nots” are definitely treated differently, that some teachers know who the beautiful ones are and they talk to them more. I have seen department videos that make an almost seamless connection between the human beings that live in Africa and the wildebeests. The toxicity of of the high school is not anything that could be found with the instruments of natural science, but it is just as deadly and my students could still investigate it. They could still speak out about it. We could critique the videos and DVDs in the social studies department and demand that some be removed and others purchased. They could observe student detentions, track those who are assigned to ISS (In School Suspension), question the administration's actions, demand something better.