Several months ago, my former student, Roger and I, sat down and had a rich, two-hour conversation that was recorded as part of an initiative at StoryCorps to capture stories about teachers. For me, this was an opportunity to connect with a student that taught me significant lessons about life, teaching, and the challenges of being a young man in South Central Los Angeles. Though I’d been out of touch with Roger for nearly five years, he was a student who allowed me to grow as an educator for reasons that can never be accurately captured in a two minute edited piece on NPR. Nevertheless, I feel privileged for the opportunity to share the unique insight and intelligence that Roger embodies. I am honored to be able to reconnect with Roger.
One of the best media products a student created in my class my second year of teaching was a podcast Roger created in which he narrated the world around him using found sound, interviews, and reflection, and music. Roger’s story challenged me to look at him differently and is a recording I still continue to listen to with inspiration. Asking Roger detailed questions about this recording during our StoryCorps conversation allowed me to continue my own journey as a teacher. The piece speaks to the powerful work Roger conducted as a scholar. I hope to share it on this site one day with Roger’s permission.
If you ever find yourself in the Library of Congress, I encourage you to look up the full interview and spend two hours hearing him talk at length about the rich education Roger was getting while not in my classroom. Thank you Roger for allowing me to grow in my early years as an educator and for being willing to reflect publicly on the radio this morning.