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Embracing Negative Moments

It has been an overwhelming start to the school year. On top of the whirlwind that is the month of September for teachers, our schools Instagram account that I created over the summer has received a lot of local media attention. It's been an interesting experience getting our students stories out into the public and we've really appreciated all the love and support from the community.

The increased media attention has led me to have some really interesting conversations with teachers and other members of our community that I feel I need to clear up. Although the point of our Instagram account is to highlight the positive moments that students create within the school, it doesn't mean that some of the negative issues that our students deal with are dissipating. Many of our students deal with the impacts of poverty, racism, and other forms of oppression. These issues can sometimes permeate our school when students are struggling with addictions and violence and bring those issues into the school. Over the years we've unfortunately had to deal with many negative events that students become involved in. The point, however, is not to view the students as a negative or as if they have a deficit, but rather to understand that they are dealing with the stresses that very few of us can understand. Our job at Inner City High is to view our students through a strength based approach so each student who walks through our doors can feel loved and cared for by the staff. Our Instagram account is just one more tool we use to uplift our students, their stories and their possibilities for creating a positive life.

Oh, and just so we're all clear, I'm no Michelle Pfeiffer from Dangerous Minds or Erin Gruwell from the Freedom Writers Diary. As a teacher in an "inner city" school I'm not here to save any one. I'm here to love, support, challenge and uplift the voices of my students so they can create the lives they want for themselves and their communities. Not all of our students stories end up like they do in the movies with a fairly tell ending and the idea that "if you just work hard you can do anything". The reality is that the issues many of my students have to endure can sometimes be extremely difficult to overcome that we don't see the success we would like to see. However, I'm just so glad I have the opportunity to be a part of my students lives for even just a short time to play a role in their journey and hopefully give them all the positivity I can send their way.