New Orleans Teachers Wanted to Contribute to Youth Publication

Last year, Big Class asked New Orleans youth to respond to the 2016 Presidential election by writing letters to Donald Trump.

This year, Big Class asked New Orleans youth to respond to the parish-wide school board unification by asking questions such as, what is the purpose of school?

After visiting over a dozen New Orleans schools and receiving writings from students in grades 1-12, the inaugural class of the Young Writers’ Council—our application-based writing program for teens—combed through the submissions, selected common themes, and chose those pieces that best represented their individual themes.

Whilst pulling themes, the YWC made another discovery: most of these pieces were written about, for, or to teachers. The audience of the book shifted, and the YWC quickly realized that in addition to students, they wanted this book to be for and by teachers as well. After all, isn’t it our teachers who are closest to us? Although it's oftentimes administrators and unseen entities that create rules, isn’t it up to the teacher to enforce?

This is where you come in.

The YWC invites teachers from all over New Orleans to contribute to this year's Good Troublemakers’ publication. Keeping in mind the themes (listed below) chosen by the YWC, please respond to one (or several) of the following questions. Don’t worry about penning the next Great American Novel; we’re asking for short, personal responses.  

Themes: 

Problems Outside Our Textbooks: How mental health and problems at home affect performance in school.

Sticks, Stones, & GPAs: How bullying affects performance school. Addressing the fact that both students and teachers can be bullies.

Raised By the Bell: Identifying a student’s journey throughout school and how they become disinterested and apathetic by high school.

Chosen Family: When does school become like family? When does that line become blurry and how can teachers be both professional and friendly?

It’s All About Protocol: How can we increase understanding between students and teachers? How does trauma affect a students’ ability to handle stress and triggers? What happens when you share your trauma with your teacher and they still write you up.

The Rules We Need To Break: Who comes up with the rules? Why do we have them? When do rules become arbitrary? When does the “crime” not fit the punishment?

Missed Opportunities: What happens to the artistic student in a school with no art class? The aspiring computer geek with no coding classes? How do missed opportunities hurt students in the long run? What crucial role do teachers play in filling this gap?

Questions:

1. What is the purpose of school?

2. What is a moment you felt anger, sadness or disappointment in school?

3. What is a moment you felt great joy at school?

4. What is a time school didn’t give you something you needed?

5. Choose a theme below to respond directly to.

Please send all questions and submissions to shannelle@bigclass.org, no later than January 9, 2018. Your name, school and personal information will not be published and will be kept confidential.