Greetings! It seems like forever since I took to the blog with a little #realtaneshateachertalk to share! That doesn’t mean my wheels haven’t been spinning out of control with topics. I’m in my tenth year as an educator, and hands down this year has challenged me like NO OTHER! While there have been lots of wins, there have also been times when I had to be honest about how my mindsets were at play. I’ve shared with my closest teacher friends my struggles, and have even felt moments where I wanted to concede. Oh, and it’s only DECEMBER!
The theme that surfaced time and time again was that I need to be stronger, braver, and allow my passion to breathe through. I realized that I’ve suffocated the ideas, concepts, and values that led me to this work. I wasn’t being solutions oriented, and was trapped in web of negativity because I wasn’t speaking up! I came to the realization that TEACHERS MUST BE BRAVE! Why?
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN. Enough said, right?!?! We live in a social media, instant access to everything era. Many times our “teaching” is so much more than the curriculum, and involves topics that might make us uncomfortable. There is no manual on what to say when a student asks, “why do the police hate black boys?” or “how come there aren’t more <<insert description>> teachers here?” or “why am I the only <<insert description>> in this class?” The answer can’t be “we don’t talk about that in school.” I’m not saying that we have to delve into deep reasoning and rationale, but I feel like we have an obligation to our kids to let them know we hear them even if we don’t have all the answers.
WE KNOW BEST. I can recall too many times when I told people I was a teacher, and where I taught, and their response would be “bless your soul” or “just do what you can” or the cringe worthy “they come from…they are so… their parents don’t…” In full disclosure I didn’t always advocate for my students. Sometimes because I was stunned by the ignorance, and other times because I didn’t think it mattered. My voice and experience matters! When people talk about the profession and make assumptions about my students and community, I believe I have to speak up because my silence affirms their beliefs. We also have to be brave with each other. The other day one of my best friends told me that she was in department meeting with her team, and they were discussing constructed responses, and wanted to use the acronym R.A.C.E.S. She stated the obvious that it’s too close to “racist.” This was an important conversation. While her team disagreed, the fact that she said something at all MATTERS because it initiates conversation and thought!
In full disclosure when I started this blog I had no vision for what I wanted it to be. Each day I get closer to what feels right for me, which is a place where I don’t hold back and invite others to do the same. I invite/need conversations that recognize the real challenges associated with teaching… regardless of where, or what you teach. That’s why I am requesting that you complete (and share) the survey below. I’m sure there are other teachers interested in similar topics and I want to share, learn, and collaborate with you! I am not sure what will come of this, but hope that it leads to giving others the audacity to get real and spark conversations about the underlying and pervasive causes of educational inequity in the world. I hope it pushes on the norm that places too many children in boxes with labels. Most importantly, I hope it leads to changes in the way WE think about the students, school, and communities we serve. I hope you’ll be brave enough to jump in and get messy! Below are a few topics that are top of mind!
– Challenges with Creating a Safe Classroom
– Working Across Lines of Difference– Public Charter vs. Traditional Public Schooling
– Creating a Diverse Curriculum For All Students
– Book Study: This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education
– The Role of Teachers in the School to Prison Pipeline
– Classroom Power Dynamics
Please complete this form, which will assist me in finding a path forward! Thank you in advance!
Struggle and Progress,