Thursday, November 4, 2010

Poverty simulation day

My school just had a faculty wide poverty simulation: It was very well thought out, and pulled off with the help of key school and community staff and experts.

It was intense. The simulation was designed to create frustration; my role was a 40-something single father, and I quickly realized my resources, and what was coming "in" was substantially outweighed by my obligations and all that was going "out."

So still in character, I turned to dealing drugs. Some teachers thought I was being funny or just weird, but I was falling back on what I know - as a drug and alcohol treatment center employee. Working in the heart of Akron, Ohio, I know that any poverty situation is radically compounded by the variable of addiction.

I can spend hours honing my teaching craft, and becoming proficient at preparing dazzling, tech-centered lessons. But life is more than smartboards, high speed Internet and perfect lesson plans.

This simulation drilled home the reason I became a teacher: To make positive connections - and hopefully instill positive changes - in our young people. And, I get to grow as well in this process. What a gift - this job, this career, this chance to make a difference. What a gift.

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