Summer Camp Day Five: Telling the Truth

I’m genuinely flummoxed. 

Five days into the 2015 SoundOut Summer Camp at Cleveland High School, I have covered half of the SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum, including some rewritten sections and new content. I’ve tested ideas and wrestled with content, and thought I’ve gotten through the deepest, meatiest content in the camp. From here, I expected that we’d go storming ahead into action, learning and testing out and otherwise moving forward on evaluating, planning, teaching, researching, decision-making and advocating, just like my research and past experiences with this curriculum have done.

Do you ever get to that place where you just don’t know what to do? Today I did! Just an hour into camp, I discovered that my students are hungrier and deeper than I’d anticipated. Doing a mini-lecture on the structure of the education system, I tried to detail how does what, and how they all fall together to make sense in schools.

The students asked harder questions.

“Who hires teachers?”

“How is that democratic?”

“What’s the option to top-down control?”

“Why should our parents or neighbors or whoever care who is elected to the school board?”

 

In the years I’ve been facilitating this curriculum, I have never run into the depth and poignancy of these students’ questions. Powerfully connected to their families, communities, and cultures, they showed me a side of student engagement I’d never seen before.

I quickly jumped into explaining, then sent them on a quest to explore, examine and critique on their own. Without feeling hemmed in by my own expectations, I suddenly felt free to let them be and do on their own. The program was out of my hands!

At the end of the day, I’m flummoxed because I don’t know what Monday will bring. With five more days of camp left, students move towards taking action. They are supposed to crack open the action planning guides and make deep plans that allow themselves and encourage others to see the power, potential and purpose of students transforming schools.

We’ll see what comes then! In the meantime, let me know where you think we should go next in this grand adventure towards educational transformation! WOOHOO!

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