Creating conversational communities that drive change

Silenced by Shakespeare Class

SEED - ShakespeareIn high school my hand was always in the air waving confidently

I never noticed silence, I had much to say
comfortable with being, at home in school

As a sophomore in college, my hand refused to go up
I became silent, studying Shakespeare
in a class where everyone’s English was schooled-to-be
smarter than me

To be or not to be?

I was silent, unable to understand even
the questions asked by other students
whose parents had once been in college
where my parents had never been … but I became their daughter then,
silenced in school, not at-home there

Learning for the first time
the meaning of class,
joining “the silent majority”
on the other side
of the great divide
between those who “participated” in class,
and those who did not …

Now, years later, as teacher with classes of my own,
I listen for/in/to multi-cultural silences,
embracing many ways of being,
even Shakespeare’s

— Emily Jane VandenBos Style, 1993

In Seeding the Process of Multicultural Education, Minnesota Inclusiveness Project, ed. Cathy Nelson and Kim Wilson, 1998.

Tags: Class Unearned Privilege Poems Schools & Education

— Cheryl Robinson, Supervisor, Office of Minority Achievement, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

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