Learning The Art of Teacherly Love

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 05 2013

A War Worth Fighting?

I think it is safe to say that the 2013-2014 learning year is off to a successful start!
We are adjusting to our new schedules (mine being a bit crazy, but really awesome at the same time), and getting back into the swing of school.  We have some exciting Community Based Learning Projects I have been working on, and we are hoping to launch that journey very soon! (More on this post-administrative-approval :))  With only 10 school days under our belts, I am predicting some really great progress this year for my boys, and their actions and minds seem ready and willing to be pushed!

However, with nothing outrageously exciting to report from Room 306, I do have some other thoughts I feel like getting out of my brain and into type.
(Feel free to scroll past to the Philly Photos if you are not in the mood for some politics and passion)

While I am not one to follow politics or news stories regularly (I rely heavily on my CNN App updates for the headlines), nor am I one to have strong opinions towards anything politically related, and rarely do I ever share my lukewarm opinions, there have been some recent world events and US decisions that have me feeling rather opinionated.


If you are unfamiliar with the happenings of the newly labeled “Crisis in Syria,” click on over to check things out:

The recent decision of our President, Mr. Obama, and our political leaders, to, in essence, declare War on Syria has me feeling a little confused, and a lot upset.  While I by no means believe that the Syrian’s use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians is anything but atrocious and not something to be easily forgotten, I also have some concerns with the US getting involved.
I am aware that throughout our brief history, the United States has an undeniably well-established presence as the “World Police.”  We have a way of bypassing the United Nation’s decisions, since, after all, we did create the UN under our celebrated President, FDR.  I know maintaining our status as a world Super Power is important…
But, are the politics of other countries really our place?  Why do we feel the need to meddle in the affairs of, what seems like, everyone?
I understand the need to interfere to an extent.  When human rights are violated, as they so clearly were in Syria, someone needs to stand up and say something.  And yes, I am incredibly proud of the US military, and our abilities to protect the freedoms and rights of innocent people worldwide.

Yet, I can’t help but think… Is it worth it?

Is going to war with Syria really worth it?  Is sending our own innocent, yet valiant, young men and women to wage war with a country already at war with itself really a smart choice?

And then my thoughts return home, to school… The  education crisis here in Philadelphia… And our country’s slow slip in the ranks of math, science, technology, and literacy…

When are we going fight for our future?  Aren’t the human rights of our children being violated everyday?

When schools are failing because the systems are too disorganized and corrupt to function, the technology and curriculums are out of date, or there is complete lack of funding to even open the buildings, like here in Philadelphia, aren’t we robbing ourselves of a prosperous future?  We seem to be pulling the rug right out from under our own advancement.

How can we maintain our status as a World Super Power if we cannot even compete with other nations because our future, our children, have not been given the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to become leaders, thinkers, and innovators?

In my opinion, that is the real war worth fighting…
We need to really buckle down and get to work on fixing and changing the mess we have made of our children’s educations.  We need to get our priorities sorted out.  We need to be selfish for a little while and focus on ourselves.  We owe it to our kids, and we owe it to our parents and grandparents.  The generations that came before us who worked so hard to make this country the powerful force that it is, they deserve to see that prosperity maintained and furthered.  We all deserve it.  And if we can make some monumental changes and movements within our education system, just think of the future we could create…

By equipping our future generations with the skills to compete in the global economy, to become elements of change within worldwide politics, and to be the incredible thinkers, scientists, and inventors they could be, just think of the possibilities for this nation, and planet…

When I look around at the faces that surround me everyday at work, I see children who can become leaders, who want to make their communities healthier, safer, smarter, and stronger.  I see scientists who will find ways to save this Earth from the destruction we have caused to it’s beauty, inventors who will find a way to slow or even reverse the effects of global warming, and doctors who will find cures for our incurable illnesses.
Those are the lives worth fighting for.  Those are the brains, filled with potential, worth waging war for.  Those hearts, full of hope, are the ones worth giving it all for.  Because after all, that’s our future.

I cannot seem to reach a resolution within my own thinking as to how Syria fits into solving this, and other issues here at home… I know we have some intelligent people in charge though, and I am just hoping they have really thought this all through…

And that’s enough of politics from me, probably for the year.  I apologize for the somewhat soapbox rant, but it is no doubt an issue that I feel personally attached to, which clearly increases the passion and emotion.

Now, let’s return to our regularly scheduled sharing of Philly Love and Joy:
The final set-up of my second home: Room 306.

A “farewell to summer” concert with this fabulous friend (and teacher!); John Mayer and Phillip Phillips!
One of the best concerts I’ve attended (fireworks during Wildfire, come on?!) with great company.
Samson met the Sea at Stone Harbor during a wonderful weekend trip.
He also got involved in some LLI Lesson Planning…
Flowers from my best friend after the first full week of the school year :) Happy Fall!
Maple Bacon Pancakes on International Bacon Day to kickoff the Buckeye Football Season!
Row Boating along the Delaware River Labor Day Weekend.
A day off means kicking off the Fall Baking Season!
Pumpkin Muffins ready to be topped with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting!

2 Responses

  1. Zeke

    Kids need a place to discuss such important issues. There is a great site at uclass.org where students can get involved in meaningful discussion about current events!

  2. Shannon

    If we continue on this path of senseless wars…there will be young people like your students who someday die overseas, who come back double amputees, who survive having large portions of their skin burned off. The people who fight in these wars largely come from the lower income brackets, many of whom are only trying to secure a better life for themselves in the process. Not saying soldiers shouldn’t go to war, but as a nation I think we need to really have a very good reason when we commit our military to combat.

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Dare to Teach with Love… Never cease to Learn.

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Elementary School
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