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  • Writer's pictureConvening Storytelling Team

Challenges, Identity, and Hope

For this week’s AFL Stories from Aurora, we are sharing two poems from members of the Assessment For Learning Community.

In Hannah Griffith’s reflective piece, “A Round Table Discussion,” she reflects on her identity as a young educator and the ways in which she is learning to disrupt the status quo. Through her own reflection, she asks us to look at the roles we play as educators. Similarly, Norma Gutiérrez Castro’s “Entre Sueños y Realidad: A Journey of Inclusive Exploration,” challenges us to boldly embrace who we are as educators and adult learners, giving us a glimpse into the possibilities that await us when we allow ourselves to embrace the fullness of our identities.

Together, these poems ask us to lean into the challenges that come with trying to implement innovations in education that promote learner belonging, equity, and liberation, so that both educator and learner come out stronger.


A Round Table Discussion

I crawl out of my shell and share our thoughts with the room of supportive faces.

It’s only been two days- yet my voice feels solid, strengthened, amplified, and ready to be heard.

This experience has opened a new path.

A path where my classroom communities can have real power and agency. 

Where I’m not the keeper of the grades or the gate-keeper of knowledge.

I arrived on solid footing- so sure that my kids “needed to:”

  • Research “traditionally”

  • Write “formally”

  • Be graded “accurately”

  • Learn… what?

To comply and confine themselves within institutional borders.

Outdated rules that sure, matter; but matter here and now? I’m no longer sure...

I walk away with a transformed mindset.

I’ve re-learned how to teach learning through learning myself.

Yes, mental exhaustion comes in waves.

But we ride them together to the end.

Image from Unsplash

Entre Sueños y Realidad: A Journey of Inclusive Exploration 

In the realm of academic learning, 

abrazamos our diverse identities. 

Equity, a liberatory beacon, 

illuminating paths of belief and empatía profunda. 

Inclusion stands as our foundation, 

reciprocidad, the rhythm of our expedition. 

Learning is an adventure, 

a journey of esperanza and revelation. 

We challenge, desafiamos, disrupt systems, 

in a world of posibilidades sin fin. 

Aurora, shines upon our quest for pertenencia. 

Empowering those we serve, 

building coalitions with steady resolve. 

Exploración continua, our ethos, 

and in assessment we evolve and grow. 

This narrative, a tapestry, 

weaves sueños into the fabric of reality. 

A journey of learning, understanding, and care, a pledge to a future we bravely dare to share.



Hannah Griffith

New Legacy Charter School

Hannah Griffith is from Orange County, the eldest of seven, and a first generation college graduate. She received her Bachelor's degree in Literature/Cultural Studies and a Masters degree in Education from UC San Diego. She currently teaches 8th grade English, Advisory and Broadcast Journalism. She is three years into her profession and continues to develop her craft everyday. Hannah loves guiding her students, exploring diverse works of literature and other artistic mediums, and fostering community and collaboration between her students and colleagues.

Norma Gutiérrez Castro


Norma Gutiérrez Castro is a dedicated Latinx educator with over two decades of service in Chicago communities. As a proud Mexican immigrant, she channels her personal and professional journey to uplift and empower others. Beyond her career, Norma finds joy in family time, particularly with her nieces and nephews, who inspire her with their endless optimism.

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