As I walk through the halls at School of the Arts, I notice the numbers of students anxiously reading the text, Push by Sapphire or the other text based upon the movie, Precious. Students are flying through the reading and completing it within two days.
I am familiar with the movie Precious, but I have reservations about seeing the film. I have delayed wanting to go see the film because I am fearful the movie glorifies or marvels the everyday hardships of people of particular socio-economic backgrounds and the struggles they face.
Because of the students, I was moved to purchase the book and read it for myself. From the moment I opened the book, I felt an immediate connection with the language, style of the text, and the young woman known as Precious. Even though I have yet to experience a student like Precious in the classroom, I felt as if I already knew her. As I continued reading, I knew a book of this nature would not appear as a school district’s “must read” list. The authenticity of the language and format may appear too edgy and too hard for some to break down within a classroom setting. For me, I think texts like Push or Precious is necessary in the classroom. Push, in my humble opinion, utilizes many elements that an English teacher tries to capture with traditional readings by Shakespeare, Faulknor, Morrison, and many other writers examined in an English Language Arts classroom.
Traditionally, in the classroom, students are encouraged to study and be familiar with the Classics. Often when the Classics are taught, students have a harder time recognizing larger societal issues from the text, like racism, class-ism, sexism, and able-ism. Teachers and students sometimes gloss over topics and students do not gain a full appreciation for the text.
Within my short time in the classroom, I see the value for offering a multi-cultural curriculum in an urban school setting. Of course, all students regardless of school district should experience a multi-cultural curriculum in the classroom, but my primary research focuses on urban education. I would like to teach a text like Push or Precious in the classroom, but I know because of the book’s content and language it may not be easily approved.
As an educator, we are responsible for shaping the minds of the future leaders of this world. As a teacher, I hope to not only encourage students throughout their educational journey, but also give them golden nuggets to help tackle everyday life experiences. The classroom should be a place where everyone is accepted, values/opinions are honored, and we are able to gain from one another. Multi-cultural texts like Push should be incorporated within the curriculum. As teachers, I think it is important that we explain to the students we are growing with them and that no one has life “all figured out.” For this reason, I desire to teach texts like Push and help students unpack the multiple layers of someone like Claireece Precious Jones.