WOW! [Spoiler alert if you haven’t read] The end made me smile. “We learned that out actions as teachers and students, as citizens and community members, echo down the generations and that a useful guide for all of us is to try to respond to the dreams of youth” (p. 122). An overpowering emotional feeling came over me. To put it into perspective, it sent chills down my spine. I never read or experienced anything like this. I never EVER read a book (in a long time) that made me feel as empowered as I do today. Sure, I know that I am making a difference in a student’s like. Sure, I see students from previous years and have small talk. But to think about a student becoming a teacher (who may have been labeled with some deficit) just made me open my eyes much more. I thought about some of those students who had deficits in learning and wondered, how those students are contributing to society.
I thought of one student in particular and thought about how this student struggled in class. This student needed all kinds of supports and interventions, like Quinn. Quinn was labeled by outsiders simply because he was not acting "of the norm." Ayers depicted Quinn as a disruptive individual. Even though he learned differently and acted differently from others, he was still an individual who contributed to the class as a functioning student (I use the word functioning, instead of typical). I think about how Ayers supported Quinn as a student “…if I wrote you a note it would say that you’re a brilliant artist, and that you’re hardworking…” (p. 30). Ayers talks about the positive attributes and changed his mentality by not thinking he was a child with disabilities.
Quinn says towards the end “As long as I live I am under construction” (p. 121). He completely understands the struggle and continues to keep “a growth mindset.” Quinn will be an excellent teacher. He will continue to “echo down to the generations.” I think in the end the story comes in full circle. The cycle continues to grow as one child explores and looks up to Quinn for guidance. He understands the importance of self-exploration and maintains "a learning with the students" approach.