Service learning has been really tricky for us in the past as it can feel contrived or otherizing or at the very least, feel less than meaningful for our students.
Below are two ideas we have to incorporate thoughtful, beneficial service learning into our new school year.
We are very excited about some programs that are in the Dominican Republic, specifically, Alta Gracia, which would go really well with our Economics unit. Alta Gracia pays their workers a living wage and says that, "In addition to this salary, we respect our employees’ rights as workers and as human beings, including the right to a safe and healthy workplace, the right to be treated with dignity and respect on the job, and the right to form a union." We met with Alta Gracia employees and multiple union leaders and workers this summer, and feel like this could be a great conversation and mutually beneficial experience for our students and the company.
The other piece we have been thinking about is the Dakota Access Pipeline. Any of you who follow our work know that we care deeply and work to educate ourselves and our students as much as possible about Indigenous peoples' histories, struggles, and excellence, and to do our best to be in solidarity. We are thinking about how we might get our students involved in this conversation in an effective way. We have already told them when we planned on attending protests and offered them the option of helping us make/decorate our signs!
Please, please fill us in if you have thoughts and skills on incorporating service learning into your classroom. This is definitely an area we want to grow!
Nina and Gabby