Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Welcome and Introduction!

Hello to all of my friends in Social Studies Methods and everyone else (all 2 of you who may read this)...my grand plan is to use this for not just this class in particular but in general for all of my thoughts on education and my journey toward becoming a teacher so maybe I can expand the readership a little as time goes on. A few things about myself that will let you all know where I am coming from before I jump into posting my thoughts on education.

A little background...I am from Marlton, NJ originally, was brought up in some very good public schools with some amazing classes and educational options. I completed by Bachelor's in International Affairs with a minor in Spanish at American Univ. last May and am pursuing my Masters in Secondary Education/ Social Studies currently. It may seem like I made a drastic change in fields, but I see it as a natural extension of my interests. Let me explain...My mission is to bring about change. Change in this country, change in this world, change in my community. There are a couple ways to do that. You can work through politics and activism to bring about social change that will help thousands of people at a time, or you can work to bring about change one person at a time (through direct action, by being a parent, by being a doctor, by being a teacher, etc...) I have been active in politics since I was 7...volunteering with my mom, licking envelopes for Bill Clinton's re-election campaign. At 14 I wrote a book about the impact of the 2000 election on young people, and in 2003 I had a life-changing experience. I began to volunteer for Howard Dean's presidential campaign...and I felt an amazing thing....empowerment. He convinced me (and millions of others) that the power to change this country really was in our hands, that we had the power. I believed it... and it was, and still is true. The campaign failed, but not the idea behind it. Each and every one of us does have the power to change our world, our country, and our community. Public Service is a noble calling, and teaching is one of the most noble public service professions there is.

What I care about is empowerment. It's what I've dedicated my life to. I saw kids in my high school that had SO much potential, so much to give...but no one told them the amazing things they could do with that talent. So many people that have confined themselves to a life they don't find fulfilling, to work they don't feel passionate about. For me...it only took a little push to empower me to do the things I've always had the capacity for. Just a little push. Just the opening of the window. I want to provide that little push, that little inspiration, that enables the young people that I will encounter in the classroom, to live a life of fulfillment. I want to help young people realize the potential that they all DO HAVE to have a dramatic effect on the world around them, to make their own lives, and the lives of everyone around them better.

The world can't run without both types of activism. We will never solve the tragedy of 37 million people who live in poverty in the United States without a POLITICAL solution, policy changes that help millions at a time...yet the homeless man on the street can't wait around for political leadership, he needs food now, he needs shelter now. Helping on a social scale and a direct scale are equally important ventures. I will never lose the desire to do both. To engage young people in the political process, and the Democratic Party, I currently run my own political non-profit called the Democratic Youth Strategy Council (www.democraticyouth.org). And to help on a direct level, I am choosing teaching as a career. I hope to eventually teach government, civics, world affairs, and other subjects at the high school level.

Every single young person that we as educators can engage is a step towards the kind of progress that will lead our communities, and our country, toward a better future. Every student we can empower, we are touching the lives of so many unseen. In every statement I write here, in every theory I propose, in every observation I note, in every assertion I make here...that is always the mission in the back of my head.

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