Hear their voices

This morning, I watched a video that was very effective in evoking emotions from me, both as a teacher and as a parent. This video was created by students and entitled “Love Letter to Albuquerque Public Schools“. The video is slam poetry created by four high school students and is a rant against standardized testing and what they perceive as the general push in schools to remove the individuality of students.

In a blog post earlier this month entitled “Which is it, Same or Different?“, I discussed the paradox of standards in education which require teachers to differentiate for students while at the same time, expect results to be standard and predictable.

Watching the video, I felt proud of these students for making their voices heard, while at the same time I felt sad that this is their experience. I was made even sadder by the expressions in the faces of the audience members and their immediate raise of their fists in agreement with what was being said.

Why do our students have to feel this way?

As a parent, I often feel inadequate because I continue to allow my own children to be treated in this manner in their school. As a teacher, I always feel frustrated by the restrictions and expectations placed on us to effectively stifle the individuality of our students.

Our students/children are wonderful, unique individuals with much to offer the world. We must find a way to celebrate the mosaic that is our student population, rather than trying to blend the personalities together to create a uniform product!


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