Day One Hundred Twenty-Eight

Today was long because I had to do CPR/First Aid certification after practice. All coaches are required to have it, even lowly assistants, and mine just expired. It’s generally good to have anyhow.

The day began with APUSGOV. I have a habit of reading poetry in that class because everyone should have more poetry in life, and there’s a poem for every occasion. Today I read Langston Hughes’ Kids Who Die, which is so very powerful and prophetic. Then we resumed our study of the Civil Rights Movement with a recap of the efforts to desegregate Birmingham, which they’d all read about, and we read Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

If you’ve never read it, or haven’t read it in a while, click that link and then come back to me. I’ll wait.

It’s an extraordinary piece of writing, and every time I read it I find some new piece that catches my attention. My class read it aloud- we each took a page- because I think it’s valuable to hear it and discuss it. There was a silence after the last line as they took it in. One boy broke it with, “Now that’s some letter.”

Sure is. 

And imagine what it’s like reading it with these kids who have all become activists- long ago or recently- and have walked out, marched, spoken to crowds, written to the papers. One was called out by name in a letter to the editor this morning. There is a spotlight on their political participation right now- as there is on young people nationwide- and things are big for them right now. Watching them take that letter in… Chills. 

I don’t think many lessons will be as powerful as that one- it’s the timing- and World definitely wasn’t. There are a handful of students who just haven’t been taking debate prep seriously; it’s frustrated their peers, and Mrs. T and I. We’ve been warning those kids, and revoking privileges like sitting in the hall, etc… but some still aren’t putting in the effort they need to, and they’re getting petulant. We’re working on it, though. We’ll get them turned around.

Practice was shortened by team pictures, but I got to show our rookie sprinters how to do starting blocks. I like teaching skills like that, and I think I’m good at it. Hopefully, I am. 

I had just enough time afterwards to grab a coffee and a sandwich before CPR class, so that was good. And class was as fun as it could be. Mr. F was there, and he and I have serious banter, so we amused the rest of the students.

We do what we can.