Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jonathan Kozol made me cry



... during his keynote speech "Arts and the Aesthetics in the Age of Tests and Terror in our Nation's Public Schools" at the 21st Century Arts in Learning conference at the University at Buffalo Friday, October 3.  Kozol shared stories that inspired his newest book, Letters to a Young Teacher, and explained that the "young teacher" Francesca whose first grade, inner city Boston classroom he visited, loved her students, and he looked in No Child Left Behind and didn't find the word "love" in it.  That's when I cried.  Not surprisingly, he ranted and railed against NCLB robbing love and joy and beauty from urban schools.  His speech probably reflects how he thinks - in poetry, in tangents, with passion.

The top picture shows him wearing Keds sneakers just like Mr. Rogers!  Middle pic is me at his book signing.  Bottom pic shows what he wrote/drew in my book.  Love the halo!  (Why long hair?  He was talking to the woman in line before me when he signed MY book, and SHE had long hair.)

I attended the conference with fellow English teacher H from my school - so fun!

7 comments:

only a movie said...

That's so cool. Love the angel. And in my opinion the best way to do the job is to love the kids. :-D

Frumteacher said...

Thanks for introducing me to Kozol and his book. That must have been a very inspiring experience!

Ms. George said...

Kozol was the keynote at last year's NCTE in NYC. Great speaker, but I didn't get a signed book, yeah, you! I treasure my signed Billy Collins and Jim Burke books. English teacher celebrities...
Have a great week!

roller coaster teacher said...

Kozol's writings about the urban poor have long inspired me, years before I decided to become a teacher. His books show very clearly how much he loves children, but it was even more compelling to witness that love when I saw/heard him tell stories about the kids.

Ms. George - my friend H (with whom I attended this conference) saw Billy Collins at Chattauqua Institute last summer! Such geeks we are...

Sydney Speel said...

ohhhh so cute!

cupcake said...

The halo is the cutest thing. And the bit about NCLB not having any love? Spot on.

Sarah said...

I'm so jealous that you got to meet Kozol and hear him speak!! What an incredible experience that must have been!