Oct 15

What Inspires This Civics (Government) Teacher?

Several months ago Dr. Gretz asked GCPS staff what inspires us as educators. I discussed Dr. Gretz’s blog with my spouse and shared with him, as I do so often, the other various articles I had read that week regarding education and government. When my husband asked me for an answer, as to what inspires me, I simply told him that my list was too long. He grinned and we laughed because I have a hope chest full of letters, photos, essays, invitations, programs, and many other artifacts given to me by former students.

As this first nine weeks comes to an end, I am amazed at how many inspiring moments I have had at GHS in just ONE marking period. The list is long and I would like to briefly share what inspired me last week.

This past Thursday night, I had the privilege of being invited by GCPS to attend a session with author and scholar, Dr. Yong Zhao. The event was held at the University of Richmond, where I completed my graduate work and studied many of Dr. Zhao’s ideas, as well as other leading scholars in the field. The idea of inspiration and creativity is often present in his lectures and the text, Catching Up or Leading the Way. As I left UR, I was feeling somewhat inspired and challenged by his presentation. I was also excited about returning to GHS to co-host with Mr. Burch’s Debate Class, our first ever Vice Presidential Debate party.

I did not anticipate such a wonderful turnout. There were over sixty attendees. Mostly seniors but also parents, younger siblings, underclassmen and grandparents attended. Our night began with snacks from the always delicious White Hawk, Starbucks and Panera Bread. As the evening progressed we all watched the debates. As questions, came up, I updated our class Twitter feed. We addressed questions about the Donut Hole in Medicare, theocracy in Iran and other issues through hyperlinks on Twitter. Even as an undergraduate, many years ago, I could not envision my professors Tweeting the answers to my questions in political science class, so as not to interrupt the debate.

To me though, the most inspiring piece was two fold. Our LMC was filled that evening with engaged teenagers and their families. Before the debate was over, because of the late hour, I informed seniors they would need to head home. I was amazed at how many wanted to stay till the end of the debate. Many students had had athletic events that evening, and they, along with their peers and parents, helped me clean up the LMC. I did not have to ask for help. As a teacher and the mother of a young child, who these seniors will be responsible for leading, teaching, and protecting, I was truly inspired. You’re rhetoric was polite. Your behavior was exceptional. Your ideas and questions would impress Dr. Zhao!

I thank you seniors and your families for a wonderful first marking period. I look forward to the remaining three. I am proud of your work thus far. Remember Seniors, we’ve still got mountains to move!

Family members were invited to eat first as the night begins.

Folks starting to gather around 8:30.

Some of the folks who stayed after 10:00 to watch and help clean up. Thank you!

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