SoDak it Hurts

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 30 2010


I’m glad that Stoic still visits my classroom. He comes in early in the mornings and likes to tell me about a dream he had the night before or a thought he’s working on.

He has some great ideas and, as I’ve mentioned before – he’s a sharp, introspective guy with a deep connection to Lakota spirituality. He tells me that he believes he has the gift of wisdom. He points back to moments from my class last year where he said things that made other students think in ways they may not have thought before. I tell him he’s exactly right.

So why am I writing this – and why is the post titled ‘Action’?

After countless morning conversations where we discuss strengths, gifts, ponder the minutia of relationships, life, the reservation and The Good – I realize that being there to talk with Stoic isn’t my only responsibility as a teacher – I must also push him toward Action.

So now I try to balance our discussions; we’ll postulate for a little while and talk about a dream he had or some abstract thought we’re working through – then, I ask him what he’s going to do. I tell him that what he thinks in his head doesn’t matter unless he does something. Like in Batman Begins – Rachel Dawes looks hard at Bruce Wayne and says, “Deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.

So, together, Stoic and I discuss the Action we’ll take in the mornings and reflect on what it is to risk the safe harbor of our internal thoughts by turning them into something that will affect others – Actions that will define us.

One Response

  1. Katy

    Hi, I have enjoyed reading your posts for the past couple of months. They have touched me deeply because I too share a similar desire to give back in a way thats beyond my capabilities. I had applied to TFA with the hopes of being placed in South Dakota but unfortunately not choosen. I was wondering if you knew of any other organizations that are providing a service on the reservations that I could apply to? Right now I’m applying to grad school for school counseling but i like to keep other options in case another falls through. Any information would be great thank you!

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About this Blog

I taught 10th Grade English on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota between 2009 and 2011. Currently blogging at

South Dakota
High School

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