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One Positive Moment

At the heart of our jobs as teachers is our relationship with students. I would argue that fostering a positive relationship and building connections with students is the most important part of our job. If we don't have those relationships and connections then the whole teaching and learning part of our job becomes much harder.

As a teacher who works with youth who have had many negative experiences in their lives and in traditional schools, I work really hard to establish solid relationships with my students. As most teachers know, building these relationships can take time and patience but are so worth it once they're established. And when you build a relationship with a student you soon learn about their lives, their hopes and dreams, and anything else that impacts them.

Many of my students have either faced or are facing a number of barriers in their lives. Everything from poverty, racism, addictions and homelessness can impact their ability to come to school as well as their ability to learn once in class. When I reflect on the lives of many of my students its heartbreaking to hear their stories of what they've been through. For those of us teachers who have heard these stories, or even experienced losing a student from your classroom, it can be difficult to find the positives and get bogged down by all that is bad around us.

I've always found it important to find positive moments throughout the course of my day and school year to provide hope for students and myself. When I really think about it the fact that students who have been through the issues that many of my students have been through are able to even show up and work towards completing their education is amazing in itself. I have so much respect and admiration for my students to not give up on their goals and to work hard to achieve them.

It is this experience that got me thinking about what I can do to showcase the positive moments that happen in my classroom and school. After a conversation with some fellow educators about this I came up with the idea to create an Instagram account and take one photo a day of a positive moment happening at my school. It is obviously impossible to capture all the positive things students get up to in a day but I wanted to change the narrative of what folks think about an inner city high school. I want to show people that my students are not just victims of a society that has neglected and abandoned them, but that they are positive community members, philosophers, artists, gardeners, and some of the most caring and compassionate students I've worked with.

Every photo taken is with permission of the students (signed waivers and parent/guardian permission) themselves and much of the photo's we will take during the year will be driven by student ideas. I'm looking forward to where this "photo a day" project will take us but I'm hoping at the very least we'll have a great collection of photo's that students can be proud of.

If you'd like to follow us on our journey throughout the school year feel free to follow our progress here ->

I do hope a decent amount of people get to see these photo's to be able to recognize the dignity, creativity and potential that these students have. We want to challenge stereotypes that many inner city youth face and bring some hope, positivity and change to the lives of our students and our community! I'm hoping this process can be created in #onepositivemoment.