Jill went to the Saturday Reunion and I was unable to attend. Now we are going through her notes and reflecting on Patricia Polacco’s Keynote.
( Q ) So what were your takeaways from Patricia Polacco?
( A ) What weren’t my takeaways! She (Polacco) started reading from the Keeping Quilt and she made connections to her family stories as she read and said she was going to speak about her heroes in her life.
In her neighborhood there was so much diversity and she was so lucky to have that. Her best friend was Stuart, an African American boy, and he was one of her heroes. Through her relationship with him and his family she witnessed racism first hand. She spoke about how much she loved these people and how painful it was to watch how they were treated.
Her parents were also her heroes because even though they got divorced they worked as a team and never said an unkind word about each other. They put their children first and provided them with rich experiences.
Also, she gave the reason her grandmother was her hero She (Grandmother) taught her that miracles are ordinary things and they are all around you. She shared all these moments from her childhood – her grandmother would tell all these wild stories and at the end Patricia would lean in and say, “Grandma is this true.” Her grandmother would reply, “Absolutely, but it may not have happened that way.”
The most powerful line she said, “To this day when I think I can’t face something Falker’s hand is on my back.” A teacher, changed her life. She went on to say: “He pulled me out of darkness and into light.” She couldn’t remember what these special teacher did to help her she remembers the moment when she got it and could read. Her message, was a celebration of teachers and the significant effects we have on students’ lives forever. That we are heros even if no one else knows it. Teachers change lives.
( Q ) So, let’s collaborate as to how do we bring this message to our school’s culture.
( A )
Jill – It made me think back to something that you (Jenn) had mentioned the other day a celebration board. Making a place where we can celebrate things that other teachers are doing.
Jenn – Ok let’s do that! We can include quotes from Polacco on the board, like the hero quote. We see special things that teachers do for kids.
Jill – It doesn’t always have to be academic. It can be all those little things classroom teachers, security guards, special area teachers all do for kids that make a difference.