By: Dayo Harris (Middle School Social Justice)
The demands of a teacher are many.  The demands of a teacher at a social justice school like Village Leadership Academy are both numerous and complex.  The ambitious vision and mission of VLA require an unparalleled tenacity and commitment from its teaching staff, which can feel overwhelming at times because our work involves so much more than teaching.  We practice a labor of love as we educate, protect, and prepare our students to inherit an unjust world.  We courageously confront the failures of our society as we explain systems of oppression, racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and homophobia while simultaneously embracing the potential of a new world reflected in the questioning eyes of our students.  We desire them to be better than us—to love and think at greater depths.  And we hope that we inspire them to create a just world made in our collective image and imagination—for this is the work of collaboration and rebuilding.  We allow them to stand upon our shoulders so that they may see their vast horizons.  We depend upon them as they depend upon us—for now.  Teaching is the work of creativity, compassion, imagination, vision, unbounded belief, and true grit.  For love and education are timeless battlefields upon fertile land where past, present, and future converge.  Will we simply lament the inequities of our age, or will we help our students plant seeds of justice and imagine the most bountiful harvest? I teach because I have faith in humanity and the harvest.

Faith in Humanity & Harvest, A Teacher’s Reflection