Hechinger Report / By Taylor McGraw
Originally published: 7.10.2014
In 2012 I moved from Mississippi to New York City to teach at a charter elementary school in Harlem. My 27 fifth grade students had reading levels ranging from third to eighth grade. They grew up speaking 14 different languages in their homes, which were scattered from the far reaches of Brooklyn to the South Bronx. I had spoken word poets, Lego masters, dancers, and chess fiends. One gave me a hug every hour, on the hour. Others had to be coaxed into speaking.