50 years ago, on August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his tide-changing "I Have a Dream" speech.
Yesterday, Principal Baruti Kafele was the keynote speaker for our district inservice. Principal Kafele spoke about identity and dreams. He said "Our dreams our as divergent as our identities." You can't share a common dream unless you first establish a common identity.
Ask the teachers in your building what the identity of your school is, Principal Kafele suggested. If you get a variety of answers, then you do not have a common identity. And you will never share a common dream.
Perhaps we need to ask our students "What is the identity of our classroom?" As a music teacher, it is a little daunting to think that the 85 students in my 8th grade choir this year all could have differing ideas of the identity of our class. How does each of those 85 students fit into our common identity as a performing ensemble? But the challenge can loom just as large for 20 kindergarten students. Students across the board are developing their own identities, and we need them to share a classroom and school-wide identity as well. How could a student who attends four or eight different classes every day juggle "identities" if we do not have a school-wide common identity?
Identity is going to translate to purpose, vision, mission, and dreams. Dr. King eloquently laid out his dream for the world. It was through his leadership and vision that the rudder of humanity set a new course. In our own schools and classrooms, we must show leadership this year to establish common identities and, only then, share a common dream.