4. Transforming Action
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At night school, Sophie found a teacher who inspired and encouraged her, who made learning fun. The students laughed and learned together. Sophie progressed so well that one day her instructor suggested she should think about going on to university and becoming a teacher. Sophie was amazed. Was her teacher joking? How could she, a failure, a student too dim-witted and thickheaded to pass math, ever succeed at university and become a teacher?
But the instructor persisted, helping Sophie to understand that it was exactly her struggles, and her success, that would give her the understanding and empathy to become an outstanding teacher. And ultimately, Sophie, like Gabriel, began to deconstruct the messages she had been given throughout her schooling experiences, and to understand that she had internalized the same deficit messages she had been given repeatedly. She acquired her GED. She went on to university. And she is now a teacher! As she makes a ← 105 | 106 → difference every day for her students, her constant plea is to “believe in all students.”
Test day is tomorrow. As the students arrive at school, they are greeted with smiles, high fives, and a few hugs by Principal John Law. Denise says excitedly, “This is our Who Is Your Neighbor Day, isn’t it?” Katie chimes in, “I can hardly wait to Skype again with our partner class in India!” Robert adds, “I want to go back to that book, Wake Up World! I...
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