Please join me in welcoming Michael Jones, a first time participant of the project. He teaches 4th grade at Pembroke Hill Lower School (Grades K-5). Pembroke Hill is a private school with a mission to work “together, cultivating the best in each, for the benefit of all.”
Michael’s students are primarily upper middle class, close knit, energetic, caring, curious, inquisitive, sharp, and open minded. As a teacher he is joyful, vulnerable, loving, connected, and maintains high expectations of his students. Learning comes alive for his students when learning is connected to daily experience in a meaningful way.
Michael defines community as a space where one feels accepted for who they are, what they believe in and how they present themselves. Community is where members have equal rights to responsibilities, ownership of accomplishments and have a full voice in their shared experience. To create this in his classroom community strives to build a similar vision among his students. I also feel that the adults set the tone per respect, compassion, scholarship, integrity and belief in one another. Once that is put in place, the students feel the connectedness of their leaders and it flows to other relationships.
Michael was drawn to this work because he wants his students to integrate writing in real world situations as they connect and share their life experience with others that have a different reality. I want to expose them to other ways of living and how to relate with those who are different.
He is hopeful the project will open the eyes of my students to new realities and have them hopefully stop and think about those around them in a more meaningful, compassionate and genuine way. I feel that the students can and could impact their parents’ perspectives as well and start to make change in their lives.