Shannon Norris and Ezra Kelly

Recorded November 23, 2019 Archived December 11, 2019 39:49 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: cte000208


Ezra (22) talks with Shannon (48) about her experiences as a teacher and her thoughts about the education system in the United States.


  • Shannon Norris
  • Ezra Kelly

Recording Location

The Fledge

Partnership Type



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00:00 Hi, I'm Ezra Kelly and I'm 22 years old and it's November 23rd of 2019. And I'm at the fledge in Lansing with my family friend Shannon Norris and the Norris and 48 years old.

00:16 Is it November 23rd 2019? I'm at the flag in Lansing and I'm with my family / friends /

00:26 Kind of my kid which mom so I was wondering kind of like I try to think back cuz you're a teacher like you're a teacher. So what did you want to be when you're a kid? Like, what did you think you were going to be? I was going to be a vet. I knew I was going to be a vet from the time. I was about 4.

00:56 Until I was 18.

00:59 I guess 17 or 18. What made you change your mind?

01:05 I saw how long college would be to be a vet how much I would have to pay to be a vet. And I also realized that I didn't want to just see a bunch of sick dogs and cats.

01:18 I'd rather be with animals in the wild if I was going to be with animals at all. And so I didn't want to do that.

01:29 Okay.

01:32 Who do you think in your life has been the most influential to you?

01:41 I don't know.

01:43 I mean, my grandmother was important to me my mother's mother. She live to be a hundred. She was probably my favorite person.

01:52 I don't know why she was my favorite cuz I didn't agree with their on a lot of things fundamentally she came from

02:01 1917 she watched electricity get strong.

02:06 And her town she literally walk to school didn't go to school till she was 8 years old and old enough to go to school on her own.

02:17 But she was like the baby of nine kids and I don't know she just knew how to do shittens.

02:25 She worked until she was old and she just always took care of her family. So even if I don't see eye-to-eye with her on.

02:36 I guess what you could say is.

02:40 General belief system

02:43 She was

02:45 Cool

02:51 Did you spend a lot of time with her alone?

02:54 Yeah, we cuz when my parents got divorced when they were when I was four.

03:00 My mother took us to Mississippi to be with her mother my grandmother and my mom got a job. So my brother and I stayed with her and my grandpa my papa my mama and papa is what we called him. And so yeah, they watch me a lot till my mother got her own apartment for the three of us and then but I still saw her a lot.

03:31 How long did she pass?

03:36 I don't know to be honest with you like maybe 3-4 years.

03:40 I try not to think about it too much.

03:46 But not something that I celebrate like my mother. Do you know what I mean? Like, my mother will be oh she died. But today is like, you know, I don't need to go there doesn't matter what day it was. The feelings are all the same no matter what day.

04:01 Okay.

04:04 What life lessons do you think she thought you were like, what do you think like my family take care of my business?

04:12 And your kids come first basically.

04:17 I mean she worked hard, but she so so when we move down there, and I was four.

04:25 I wasn't within like six months and my papa died, so

04:30 If she I mean that's basically 40 years she lived without a mate and she did everything all her own took care of everything. That's not to say that there wasn't I mean she had brotherson.

04:44 One of them was a say the story wasn't going anywhere where I thought but this is pretty funny. She had a brother older brother that he was the third from the bottom and from in terms of young.

04:58 His name was already and he was a penny-pincher, but he was loaded he had land in Alabama and Mississippi and

05:08 He would always say he didn't trust any banks or the government or anything and he would.

05:16 No shit hide money by the

05:19 Like thousands and coffee cans and barium and like after he died they found $15,000 bundled up and stashed up underneath the dashboard of his pickup.

05:32 So like when he died, he left, you know, Landon and the house that she'd always lived in.

05:43 So, I mean that was a big gift kind of thing, but she basically did everything herself. So independent.

05:52 When do you say when did you do? When did you decide to become a teacher?

06:01 Back to the vet thing. I always loved animals, but then as I got older and I babysat some and

06:07 Was around younger kids when I was.

06:11 When I was out like a early teen I was still living in Mississippi and was active in a youth group at church so I kind of

06:20 Took care of some little kids a lot and I knew that I like little kids too.

06:24 So when I figured out that I wasn't going to be a vet. I decided that I would instead take education courses and be a teacher.

06:34 So it wasn't far into my After High School is like maybe a second-year lccc student when I decided I would take education courses.

06:47 Are you glad that you did not know why not at all? Not at all.

06:55 Part of it is because

07:02 I'm drowning in.

07:04 Sheer bulk of programs and professional development and no planning time and this initiative and that magnet and this curriculum and this program and collect the stator and it's what it does is it takes time away from actually teaching kids and

07:28 No, one listens. I mean you hear about it another states where they've gone on strike and too many kids in the classroom or not, you know pay us so that we can not have two jobs so that we can and grade papers. Well, you know that kind of thing so other states are, you know, trying to stand up for what's right for the students cuz it is honestly all about the kids the Chicago Teachers were fighting for you know affordable housing because yeah, the why should our students be homeless and then we're supposed to teach him when they haven't had any place any place to stay there cold. I haven't had anything to eat. They didn't get to take a shower because there's no place to take a shower. So how how how does any state decide that they're going to give a national indicator of the success of a child after taking some tests when we don't even have communities take care of basic needs. There should be any kids.

08:28 They're homeless. There's there's adequate housing. There's not adequate affordable housing.

08:35 She's warming the kids must report back to the future in that's why teachers are so important. I see you think that I don't know you think that they would put more into that. Obviously. It makes no sense. Really.

08:52 No.

08:55 I work for a magnet themed school. I'm also working for a public school. So we get Public School dollars what we also.

09:07 Applied for in one grant money for serving magnet type populations and that could be anything there's different magnet themes within my district. But the one in particular I'm a part of his the stem science technology engineering and math but there are steam directions or International Baccalaureate directions or a Chinese immersion direct, you know, there's different platforms that a student could could move along but

09:40 We're a magnet for stem. So that means we received magnet stem money and we buy curriculum sets that cater to.

09:52 The Hat

09:58 That's weird.

10:01 So I would say that I guess a story I would like to say, is that weird?

10:09 As a district as a state.

10:14 We put too much emphasis on whatever standardized test is hot and trendy right now, I literally within 7 years seen the standardized test that we give our students change three to four times in seven years, which means that the data that you collect for one year only or two years only which I've seen happen becomes irrelevant, maybe cuz then there's nothing to compare it to three years you start all over with a new dataset. And so if you're trying to collect data over time where you going to get that end in 10 years you're not going to there's a going to have to be somebody that equates Acuity to aimsweb to dra2 dibels to

11:01 Nwea to I mean I could go on and on with it with the kinds of tests that were told to add onto every year. We're going to Pilot this one. Let's try this and not only that but in order to get them to pass that I want you to devote class time to practicing taking that test so that they'll know what it looks like when you get to it and so, you know instead of me spending time going in depth