Panorama of my town

Panorama of my town

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thank You to My 3rd Grade Teacher, Mrs Thrasher

My heart is broken as I read about the firing of teacher, Mr. Lewis from Parks Middle School, today. How did this gentle man, who clearly loved teaching and inspiring the young minds he taught, find himself in this predicament?  What lead him to stand today in front of an APS tribunal begging for leniency?  

“We were told failure was not an option," said Mr. Lewis.  Clearly, he understood what was meant by 'failure' in this case.   It meant test scores.  But, in fact failure was ALL that happened.  The children were failed.  The community was failed.  The trust in our school system was failed.  The faith in our teachers was failed.  The confidence in our leaders was failed.

I sat in tears as I listened to his heartfelt plea, not just for himself, but for all the teachers who lost their bearing and drifted to the wrong meaning of 'failure.'  Our heroes, our mentors, our role models, had been so badly tormented and 'damaged' under the strain of horrific leadership that they chose to make incredibly bad decisions rather than leave the children they love.  My soul was crushed when Mr. Lewis said "Let us not crucify the teachers, and act like there weren't and aren't systematic problems that need to be addressed all the way up."

He is right.  APS is top heavy and the branches need to be thinned, for sure.  APS has lost its moral direction and needs to get set back on course.  But, it should be telling to any observer that the first person fired is a black, male teacher who stood up and fully confessed what he did and fully explained how he had been compelled to do so.  There he stood bravely, with tears in his eyes, recounting his story, facing the very people who put that burden on his back.  

I am not saying he was right.  What he did was wrong and there is no excuse to fail our children.  Yes, he should be fired.  Do tell me, how does such righteous indignation help our children?  I'm just wondering because I see the ax has fallen where it often does, on the ones who are the least egregious.  

Mrs. Thrasher was my 3rd grade teacher.  I adored her.  In my eyes she was perfect.  She was pretty.  She was kind.  She made me feel smart and protected.  To this day, I remember her so fondly that I am moved when I think of my days in her classroom.  

Thank you Mrs. Thrasher, and thank you to all the teachers who have loved and inspired the children in your care for your entire careers.  You deserve better.  You are worth more than you are given.  Please don't give up in fear or exasperation, because 40 years from now a child in your classroom today will remember what you meant to him or her and will be a better person because of the difference you make in their life right now.   

As a side note:  My son will graduate from Grady High School next year.  He has attended only Atlanta Public Schools.  I am grateful to every one of his teachers over the last 11 years.  Thank you.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Morning Walk with Loki on the Beltline

ATLGal and Loki headed out this morning to get caught up on the progress of the NE Beltline trail construction and we thought we'd share a few photos of the progress.

We were thrilled with what we saw and are eager for more warm morning walks.

shshshsh....don't tell anyone we were on the path without our hardhats!

Above; Well, still a bit of a daring walk across Ponce bridge, but certainly safer than it used to be.   We used to have to walk on the narrow rails and you could see straight down to the street between the rails. :-)  Note the broken sign on the right of the bridge.  Great fun as a kid, but it was a bit nerve wracking as an adult -LOL.

Above; On North Ave. Bridge with a bit of graffiti and and urban camper.  
Old Sears Building, now Ponce City Market, on the right

Above;  Looking west up North Ave.  
That parking deck at Ponce City Market on the right
 is going to be history very soon! 

Above; Great skyline view over the old Excelsior Mill 
(aka; The Masquerade) 

Above; Graded and ready for pouring the path at Poncey-Highland.

Above; Poncey-Highland does have some wonderful urban Art near the Beltline.  
Look at this colorful wall at our skate park off of North Ave (yes, behind the barbed wire).

Below; passionate and strong imagery on two walls of one building on Sommerset.

Below: a warning to train riders hanging out 'alfresco'  as they approach the 
old Sear building warehouse - DUCK!!!

Get ready - the Beltline is going to open up a whole new world to the residents of, and visitors to, Atlanta.