“Kindness is the only strength there is.”
I have a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s in educational leadership. I have been teaching for 12 years, 11 of which have been in alternative settings. I am currently I’m in my fourth year in a special program that serves youth who have been essentially “kicked-out” of their home school due to severe behavior issues (grades 9-12). My passion is working with the students that many have come to label as “at-risk”.
It is within the past four years that I began a “project” in my Language Arts and Social Studies class called U TOO (Understanding Tolerance and Overcoming Obstacles). This project uses memoirs and autobiographies written by people who have had similar backgrounds and experiences as my “at risk” students. Things like being arrested, neglect or abuse at home, gang involvement, running away, drugs, alcohol, generations of relatives in prison and violence in general, are all things that my students have had experiences with. They are familiar with these things. What they are NOT familiar with is the idea that their lives can be different than what they have known. They learn that change is possible through other people’s stories. Life After Hate and Kindness Not Weakness plays a big part in helping me teach this to our students, not only by using their stories in my class, but by their ability and passion to reach out and connect personally, impacting all of the students in the school with their message of hope and strength.