Ellie’s Eighth Grade Endeavors, Episode 2: The Struggle Behind Empowerment




GC’s very own FAO Schwarz Fellow Ellie Sanchez is currently teaching the GC Core Program to an 8th grade class at the Joseph Lee K-8 School in Dorchester, MA. While Ellie’s primary job is to be Boston’s Program Associate, she’s also stepped into the shoes of our Democracy Coaches to teach a GC class for the first time. Each week, Ellie will be sharing with us stories from the classroom: lessons she’s learned, updates on her class’s project, and much more. Enjoy!

October 15, 2015: Democracy Coaches Learn Too

“Without Struggle There Is No Progress”
– Frederick Douglass

Sometimes making jokes, and not necessarily staying on topic can be misconstrued as not listening or not knowing what’s actually going on in class. In my experience, the students that act out the most, or pretend that they don’t care, are the ones that know too much. Jay is one of these students. Today my student Jay, who was talking about basketball during my lesson, and I discussed a valid concern he had as a student of color: this is false hope, and nothing is going to change. Given everything that’s been happening to young black boys in this country, I understand his frustration. What’s great about having Jay involved in a GC space is that I was able to explain to him , that yes, we’re not going to end racism, but that we can still create change by knowing who to talk to, and creating tangible goals for them to get the work done. “The hope,” I said “is that these goals will manifest themselves in ways that combat these greater issues, but also that you realize that you have the power to tell the system what you need to survive and thrive.” In the end, although he stood his ground on his skepticism, he agreed to be an active participant in our project to reduce youth violence in Boston. I think we may be getting somewhere.

-Ellie Sanchez