Across the street from my school lies Sylvan Beach, a stretch of the bay leading into the Gulf of Mexico. From my classroom window, I can see the beach, the small store selling coffee and fish bait, the activity on the pier, and yes, even students skipping class to do what teens have always done—smoke cigarettes, listen to music, and in general, enjoy their youthful criminality before they are forced into the real world of careers, responsibility, and endless demands on their time. I often long to be out there with them, forgetting my own burdens and frolicking in the sands of time.
As surreal as this sounds, I must admit that I have a strategically placed curtain hanging in my window that blocks out the industrial view of nearby building and road construction, chemical plants spewing noxious fumes and columns of grayish-yellow smoke, public transportation, power and telephone lines, cell towers, the Port of Houston and the ship channel, and all the other ugly necessities of modern life. Even though I’ve come to terms with the unsightliness of the booming oil industry that sustains Texas’ economy, this curtain allows me to redefine my surroundings, focusing instead on the beauty that survives in spite of the countless injuries we commit against the environment. And while my heart belongs to the mountains (genetics plays a key role here), there is something about the early morning scent of saltwater and the mournful whistle of the ships in the bay that fills me with peace.
So, Reader, with my classroom window as a guiding metaphor, I seek to offer you a Classroom with a View—one that inspires, motivates, learns, dreams; one that perseveres through the challenges every educator faces and finds joy in the moments that make it all worthwhile.
This website is dedicated to those who
- arrive early to let a student take a test… and then stay late to tutor another student.
- call home to check on kids who have been absent or just to tell a parent that her child did something wonderful.
- help the new teacher when she cries and wonders why in the world she EVER became a teacher.
- wake up in the middle of the night because they finally figured out a way to help a struggling child learn.
- have had to alter a lesson plan at the last minute… or have changed their minds about a lesson plan while in the shower that morning.
- somehow manage to deal with a sick student in first period, a child throwing sharpened pencils into the ceiling tiles in second period, a ringing phone and a fire drill in fourth period, a technology glitch in sixth period, but who still have the energy to smile and greet seventh period like they are the most important students in their day.
This website is also dedicated to those who
- are married to educators and become invested in students’ lives because they’ve been ambushed for nine months with stories, concerns, fears, and frustrations about their “kids.”
- are parents to children who have struggled in school.
- seek effective reforms to alleviate the devastating effects of poverty, abuse, and gangs because every child deserves to have an adult fighting to help them recognize and achieve their potential.
For all those who do this and more for our children every day without recognition or reward… this Classroom is for you.