WTE Draft 2.docx - As a former fifth grader that headed to a new journey in middle school I can’t stress enough how much my fifth grade teachers

WTE Draft 2.docx - As a former fifth grader that headed to...

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As a former fifth grader that headed to a new journey in middle school, I can’t stress enough how much my fifth grade teachers reminded us of how independent we would have to be. Shouts of “no one will hold your hand anymore” or “you need to be more responsible now” filled the air. My peers and I’s feeble attempts to ignore this repetitive advice, were in vain. The general attitude held by faculty at Cliftondale Elementary School, was to put energy into us student’s abilities to pass an end of the year standardized test, and be academically prepared for future standardized tests in middle school. What frustrates me now, is that there was very little, if any, encouragement from my elementary school’s faculty, to grow as a person and learn as many life lessons as we could in middle school. This is a fact I overlooked as a fifth-grader. Even when the teachers pushed for academics, and only academics, I felt there was something missing in the equation of taking the next step. While I now know that teachers exaggerated, to a degree, how much wide the responsibility gap would be between fifth-graders and middle school students, ten-year old me took their words to hear. There words were all I knew in an academic setting. As a result, he saw middle school as a coming of age moment, a three year experience that, should he struggle with, would deem he unworthy of moving on to the strange place we call the “real life”. This experience began with my entry into the Fulton Science Academy during the 2011-2012 school year. Previously I went to school in the south of Atlanta, Georgia. This is where the vast majority of the community both inside and outside school, were African-American, which meant I could relate to their experiences. Because I lived in the south of Atlanta Georgia since five years old, the presence of people other ethnicities never sat in my mind. In my small world at a young age, all I knew were people of my race. Fulton Science Academy, on the other hand, was located further North, and hosted students and faculty far more diverse than my previous school
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– consisting of mostly white kids, then equally, students of Asian and Turkish or Arabic descent. As a result, when I opened the big doors of the school, into the big gymnasium that held other students, my smile turned to a frown real quick. It’s not what I saw that surprised me. It’s what I didn’t see. No one in the school looked even close to me. From first glance, I was the only African-American in the school. I got a bad feeling in my stomach, and decided it was best to sit down, and put my head down. And I kept it down- for about three weeks into the school year.
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  • Fall '15
  • Eric Martin
  • Dru

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