This quote is my mantra for so many things. Although it is a Yeats quote, it found me from the inside cover of Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I am sure I will blog about that book endlessly, as it is probably one of the best books to teach–ever–but I will save that for later.
As someone who taught in a school of all minority kids , 80% of who lived below the poverty level, they taught me that there is another world in my world, and that world is hard. Teaching showed me my White privilege on so many levels. So when you hear me complain that I don’t come from rich White folks who will buy me a brownstone in Brooklyn, I want you to know that when I go to bed at night I know that I am lucky to have been born into middle class White America, to have gone to good public schools, and that I am beyond blessed to be able to feed my kids and live in a neighborhood where I don’t have to be afraid. Knowledge of that other world–the world my students live/lived in that is only a few neighborhoods and train stops away–gives me a depth of perspective that makes my life richer.
For teaching, I love this quote. I tell my students this all the time–there is another world! But it isn’t the magical world of becoming rich overnight via celebrity, music, sports…that other world is *right here* and you have to work for it. It’s a pretty deep concept, but being that I taught mostly upperclassmen and now college kids, they get it. There is no easy way out, there’s just through. It’s like passing through a Venn Diagram from one circle into the next. But the act of passing is not easy. (No hidden intentions in the word passing here–or are there?)
If I were a tattooing type, I’d get this tattooed on my body somewhere.