Ellie’s Eighth Grade Endeavors, Episode 4: Don’t Cry Over Spilled Water




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!

December 1, 2015

Our class has finally unlocked a new level in our action civics process: ACTION. Although, to be honest, it has taken some time for my students to understand why their investment is important, they’re really excited to finally be getting their hands dipped into the democratic work. The bulk of our plan is to work with the Youth Jobs Coalition in Dorchester, MA that works with youth to create more access to youth jobs in Boston. The other half of the class is working on engaging local elected city council members, Tito Jackson and Ayanna Pressley, in their work with the coalition in order to influence the funding for more youth programs. My eighth graders are hoping that this work will bring more youth programs to Boston Public Schools, and help in the effort to decrease youth violence in their community. Despite the challenge of the process because of class size, consensus about our focus issue, and distrust of the government from my students of color, I’m really excited to see what comes out of our work with the coalition and the local government. In my last class, one of my students, Jahwon, who doesn’t always comply to expectations, but also works really hard, drafted a speech to his school. He advocated for everyone to organize by attending one of Youth Jobs Coalition’s trainings because “this will help keep us off the streets.” Watching him work in the midst of a chaotic classroom was really powerful. Those instances are why I do GC. Above all, I just hope my students realize their voice does matter (and that one day they’ll stop “accidentally” spilling water on their Tactic Toolkits).

-Ellie Sanchez


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