Inspiring Words of Love and Justice

Inspiring Words of Love and Justice

This week, I got the chance to write and deliver personal notes to my students to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. This was a service project we did for our AmeriCorps program, but it was more of a pleasure for me than anything. I believe that it is extremely important to educate all youth about social justice and civil rights movements. Dr. King is not only an icon of the African-American civil rights movement of the 1960s but an exemplary figure in what it means to be a caring, responsible, and thoughtful member of society.

I was thrilled at a chance to share Dr. King’s legacy with my students. My co-resident and I wrote each one of them personal notes, giving us the ability to highlight each student’s strengths, tell them how they inspire us, and encourage them in their learning. Delivering the letters, I asked the students if they knew what holiday it had been the day before, and if they knew who Dr. King was. I found that many of them did not know what holiday it was or about Dr. King. After learning this, it reminded me of Kid President’s video about Dr. King. It’s a great video and an accessible, thoughtful description that opens up the conversation in a way first graders can understand.

I will continue to discuss these issues with my students and I hope to inspire at least a few of them to live their lives according to love and justice. Knowing that I had the chance to teach my students about Dr. King’s life, I was reminded of my inspiration for being an educator – sharing my passion for caring relationships and instilling a belief that each person is able to make a difference in their community through the choices they make. Each student is a unique person and has their own possibilities ahead of them.

The hope of the educator is to equip each student with the tools to be the best person they can be. Having the chance to allow Dr. King’s words to inspire my students gave me the opportunity to provide them with one more of those skills.

Posted on January 19, 2017 by Betsy Tomszak

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About Betsy Tomszak

Betsy Tomszak is a resident in the AUSL Chicago Teacher Residency program teaching 1st grade at Tarkington School of Excellence in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Betsy is originally from Glen Ellyn, Illinois and a graduate of Wheaton College where she majored in Viola Performance.

The Chicago Teacher Residency is a full-time, yearlong urban teacher training program that equips residents with the training, skills, and strategies that will empower their students to pursue their dreams.

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