“Sabemos el tremendo daño que ocasiona la ignorancia, porque no hay peor enemigo del hombre, peor enemigo de los pueblos, peor enemigo de la humanidad que la ignorancia. Y de todas las herencias que el colonialismo, el imperialismo, y el capitalismo, nos dejaron, la peor de todas, la peor de todas, fue la ignorancia.”
– La Educacion en Revolucion, Instituto cubano del libro, La Habana, Cuba 1976*
My Translation: We know the tremendous harm occasioned by ignorance because there is no worse enemy of man, worse enemy of the people, worse enemy of humanity than ignorance. And of all the inheritances of colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism, what was left to us, worst of all, worst of all, was ignorance.
*I purchased this book in La Habana, Cuba in 2019, one week before Trump began to literally starve out the Cuban people with increased sanctions.
The ignorance promoted by the inferior quality of education offered to children during COVID-19, encouraged by the federal government as well as local agencies, is something which I, as the leader of classroom 302, am working actively to combat and resist.
During COVID, tech companies have profited from peddling edutainment as quick fixes, and school districts have hopped right on that bandwagon – promoting interactive slide decks, film clips, and trivia games – in lieu of the thoughtful encouragement and propagation of language development and critical thinking brought on by reading and writing across disciplines.
One form of resistance to combat the over saturation of screen time and to revive the attention spans of the children who have half-heartedly listened to insipid lessons taught online while simultaneously watching movies and music videos and playing video games. (I have done some research amongst the students in my classroom!) is the building of my classroom library.
Projects I have posted on Donors Choose to request books and book carts continue to be funded by my family, friends, and community members, and my students and I are so appreciative to have real books in our hands. After a year of lackluster instruction, the bilingual middle school students of Room 302 at the Frederick Pilot are eager to engage in the social act of reading, sharing the joy of text together, discussing it, and responding in art and writing.
The pictures below are just the start – we have thus far received a six-bin book cart as well as a collection of multicultural books about art and artists, due to the generosity of a local foundation. In the coming months, we will be building more book carts and organizing and engaging with non-fiction social studies and science texts in both English and Spanish.
I myself am looking forward to returning to interactive and hands-on teaching and starting strong with a redesigned classroom, including a beautiful and robust library – a veritable movable feast of words – for the 2021/2022 school year. (Also, I am dying to return to field trips! After ten field trips last school year, this year without field trips has left me hungry for taking my students all around Boston).
Special Thanks to Mr. Caruso, our classroom paraprofessional, for supervising our young men in the building of our cart!