This is my first time reading a graphic novel. I must say, I thought this was going to be an easy read, but I was incorrect. I think I focused more on how the graphic novel flowed (meaning, I had a difficult time distinguishing the order of the conversation and the direction it was going). However, after a few dozen pages, I was able to catch onto how the story was suppose to go. Also, "reading" the pictures was also something that I had to get accustomed to.
The first part that caught my eye was the "at risk" component. I took a step back knowing that many of my students would be labeled this stereotype by other communities around the nation. "...at risk functions like a metaphor... [it] adds an authenticating medical dimension to a prescription made long before any investigation beings" (p. 21). This automatically helped me to realize that grouping all the students in this "at risk", already makes them a lesser. To live this everyday and to read it is one thing, but to understand that these labels are dangerous to use, especially when students at the middle level know it is not them, or how they feel about themselves. Some mission statements have this "at risk" component (I've read them at certain schools). Our school uses "at promise" in our mission, but it 'seems' to be more positive, but as I was reading it still makes me think about the label-- but isn't every student "at promise" for ANY school, not just the schools 'in trouble"? It was extremely challenging to have dialogue with my team about this. It might be me over thinking this, but I think the "at promise" embellishes the negativity-- just a bit.
I really tuned into Chapter 3 "Creating an Environment for Learning." I felt this chapter was a large part of work that totally change my pedagogy of teaching. I read this chapter and feeling the "oh snap" moment. Last semester I changed my thoughts about teaching by arranging my classroom to fit the needs of students and came across some interesting findings. "I want to build spaces where the wisdom in the room is uncovered and the experience and knowledge of students becomes a powerful engine for our work" (p. 44). My students are mathematicians. I strongly believe what Ayers has to say about organizing a classroom where learning happens for all students in their own way. Classroom are not "informational dumping grounds" they are "informational pumping grounds"