tinker with text
Literacy-Based Maker Education
My brother used to be a city police officer. However, he sustained a brain injury which forced him to “retire” at a young age. As a result, he has virtually no short-term memory but his long-term memory is intact. Due to this, he often talks about the past and, specifically, his memories of the police force. It turns out that police adhere to codes too. They’re called “10-Codes” and they’re used for relaying messages over the police radio. Each police force has their own list of 10-Codes but some codes are consistent.
We’ve all heard “10-4” (message received) used in movies or TV shows. But do you know what a 10-13 is? It means “Member in Trouble.” Perhaps educators can learn this code and adapt it to our own lives.
You know that staff member down the hall that some people think should "just retire?" She’s trying to learn the latest technology and pedagogy (really!), but her husband has Parkinson’s, finances are tight, and she’s worried and exhausted. Every. Single. Day. She’s a 10-13.
And what about the boy in your Grade 5 class who still struggles with reading and writing? His anxiety is growing, and he is withdrawing from everyone and everything. He stays home from school more frequently now and his parents don’t know what to do. He’s a 10-13.
Then there’s the principal who comes to school every day with a smile on her face and tries to “get everyone on board.” She is trying to serve the school board, the superintendent, the parents, the teachers, and the students, as well as her own family. The stress levels and potential for burn-out are rising every year. Definitely a 10-13.
Draw that circle closer. Are there family members who are 10-13’s? Now widen the circle to include community members. Wider yet … members of the human race. There’s nothing but 10-13 stories in the news every day – some, more alarming than others.
Most educators are masters of the code that we call language. Use your words to reach out with empathy, courage, and inspiration to your colleagues and students. Use your voice to speak up for peace, equality, and social justice. Use language to read, write, speak, teach, listen, learn, act, debate, sing, pray, talk, process, and understand. Together, we can stand up for and with others, and help to build a better world.
Vicki Den Ouden is an Elementary Reading Intervention Teacher from BC, Canada. She loves to dream, learn, teach, and create.