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“Well that’s the reason son”

Typically, they tell you not to glean philosophical insight from 1970s Burt Reynolds movies.

But there it is, The Bandit’s answer to the defeatist statement: “…But they say it can’t be done”.

I think that’s what drives me to teach where I do.  Maybe no one is explicitly saying “it” can’t be done, but the writing’s on the wall.

Lack of resources.  Violence.  Lack of drive.  Lack of exposure.  Lack of positivity.  Lack of teachers willing to risk comfort for a different type of pay-off.  Lack of opportunity for innovation, more opportunity for “catching up”.

But isn’t that the reason chips were made for shoulders?

My reason of being is a 7th grade girl who reads at a 2nd grade level and wants to be a public defense lawyer.  She understands she’s behind, but wants to catch up.  My reason of being is the fact that most of my students don’t know the difference between a city and a country at the beginning of the year, but by the end are working with Women’s Factory Worker Committees in Mexico and chatting with students from Spain.  My reason of being is a room full of 7th graders no one else wants to teach.  That ran two teachers out of the room, and requires an assistant principal to sit in during class so fights don’t break out.  But when they work on their projects in Spanish class, they are driven, caring, trustworthy, passionate and in a word awesome.

My reason of being is connecting students with the resources they need to show the rest of the world how brilliant and compassionate they are.

My reason of being is to show the world that inner-city kids aren’t charity cases.  They have genius that goes beyond reading scores.  They have brilliance that goes beyond the word can’t.  They have things to teach the rest of the world.

Here are some videos I’ve made recently that show how we’re trying to bridge the tech gap in my neighborhood.  We like to not wait for things to happen.

This is just the first step.  I can’t wait to see them take the next one.

That’s the reason I’m here.

I look forward to working with you all at the cooperative catalyst.  I am humbled to participate with such a forward thinking group.  Let’s help do wonderful things.


About mrsenorhill

Director of Innovation, Special Projects @collegeboundstl, Co-Founder and CEO @thedisruptdept, hustling for creation literacy for all; want to cook better.


5 thoughts on ““Well that’s the reason son”

  1. GREAT post–welcome to the EDge…looking forward to your posts and thoughts and ideas. Thanks for joining us!

    My reason of being–what a great phrase. Let me see if I can express myself half as well as you did in you post and share MY reason of being.

    My reason of being is to help all kids understand-with their heart and gut-what my Mother told me from the earliest times I remember. . . “You can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do.” It’s not about luck–it’s about hard work and effort–harder for some of us, but possible.

    My reason of being is to help kids understand the game of school and see how stupid most of that game-playing is–so they will want to change the system and not PLAY that game any more, AND so they can survive the insanity we ask of them. (See William’s comments here: “I like that you talk about…so that we know what’s going to happen instead of normal teachers that just give you the test and you do not know what is going to be in the test.”)

    My reason of being is to paint pictures of possibilities for kids of things they CAN do that most other teachers don’t let them.

    My reason of being is to paint pictures of possibilities for adults–parents, other teachers, community members and admins–so they can see just how competent kids are and the amazing things they can do if we get out of their way, and what they can do with our support.

    My reason of being is to empower the people around me–both kids AND adults–to be the best they can be to grow our world into a better place, ecologically, emotionally, philosophically and physically. As I do that, I learn from others how to better myself as well.

    We at the COOP invite all readers to come the EDge with us–the EDge of potential, the EDge of possibilities, the EDge of change. . . and let’s enable and support our children to reach for their dreams and share their thinking with us as we collaboratively build and create a new story of school.

    My reason of being is to help move our world to a better place where kindness, respect, dignity, justice, equity and democratic education prevail and are simply expected and practiced everywhere.

    Thankful to be pushed by all of you,

    Posted by Paula White | July 20, 2010, 8:43 am
  2. What an inspiring post – thank you so much for it.

    I can’t settle on any one thing that gives me a reason for being here, but all of the things that bring me to the Coöp have to do with making school a safe and joyful place for kids and adults to learn together, to serve the community together, to create art together, and to appreciate the ambiguity of learning, of exploring different passions without being assigned to one, and of accepting failures a guideposts to success.

    Right now, I most urgently want to re-establish alternative assessment in Virginia by providing the voting public with compelling examples of project-based learning that, without doubt, represent mastery of “core content” and civic value.

    I really admire your work and the clarity of your calling – I can’t wait to work and learn with you.

    All the best,

    Posted by Chad Sansing | July 20, 2010, 9:30 pm
  3. gosh Paula – i love your comments.
    and is EDge new? is that from junto – or did it exist before. i’m loving it regardless.
    we have to make sure your voice is heard more next session. i know i’m more comfortable there because i’ve practiced. holler if you want to meet up to practice before next time.

    Gregory is doing so many cool things. he’s amazing guys. glad he’s here now.

    i’m currently on the EDge for making what Gregory and Chad and Paula (and all the rest of you) do daily – available to all kids. i can’t not notice them anymore.. the kids without access to this.
    i’m on the EDge for equity, and to me that’s the new that the web brings. equity.

    Posted by monika hardy | July 20, 2010, 10:40 pm
  4. The EDge came from the junto conversation and a comic David Loitz sent me after. . he had a T-shirt idea and I really like it. 🙂

    And, I’m right there with you on the equity EDge. We need it.

    Posted by Paula White | July 20, 2010, 10:51 pm


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