Monday, February 18, 2008

Charlotte Mecklenburg English Teachers Make Front Page News

On February 16 The Charlotte Observer ran a feature article about GranVille Caldwell and Ryan Marshall—two high school English teachers who have recently written and self-published a book of poetry about their experiences in the classrooms. According to the Observer,"Thoughts & Lamentations of Urban Education" is a "quirky 178-page saga of a year in the inner city schools, told through poetry, news flashes and takeoffs on pop songs."

A sample poem may make you want to purchase the book yourself:

Hair pulling, weave flyin'

Chairs broken, teachers cryin'

Security called, no one comes,

Got the teacher lookin' dumb

Fists flyin'—ooh la la!

Full-fledged brouhaha

This is from the book description on the website accurately reflecting Marshall's (and unfortunately other educators') experiences:

"Student bites teacher; student spits into administrators face; students openly swear at teacher; teachers are told to raise test scores or look for employment elsewhere." More information on the book is on Harding High School's website; Caldwell's school.

So far, Caldwell's assistant principal has been supportive of the book; I hope it stays that way. I applaud Caldwell and Marshall for not only voicing their thoughts about the problems they see in the school system, but trying to make a difference in their students' lives. They are examples of teachers who care about their students and are also modeling another important precept: "Your voice, expressed through written language, matters." Kudos to them.

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