So I am sitting at the gym this morning between sets and I check my twitter feed to see the daily post under the #31daysIBPOC hashtag. You can learn more about it here https://31daysibpoc.wordpress.com/about/ Each morning this week there have been amazing posts that have helped me learn and grow as an educator. I do not live in a diverse area, it is hard to know how to best serve the students of colour in our school without being that “white teacher”. I think to the story A Very Large Expanse of Sea and the scene where the lead character is upset because her teacher tries to include her by making her a the spokesperson for all Muslin people. I have worried that I have done that myself, unintentionally, but done it all the same. I wonder often what I can do to help my students, to be more aware of the privileges I have, that my students unknowingly wield and how I can prepare them for the diverse world that awaits them. This is all just background for where I found an amazing post and a quote that led to so many thoughts.
Chad Everett, an educator and blogger who posted todays #31daysIBPOC post which is here http://www.imaginelit.com/news/2019/5/3/dearmsrayford writes a letter to his first black teacher. As he reflected on this experience a quote quite literally made me gasp in the gym and has been playing on repeat all day.
How often do we try to make a student fit our unrealistic expectations and then blame them when they do not meet those expectations? How often do we set our students up for failure? All day I have looked at the work I am doing in the class, the work I want my students to be able to complete and I have wondered if I am overloading them.
I continue to build my capacity as a teacher to see all my students as the individuals they are. To provide them with as many different opportunities for success as I can. I am grateful for the educators that continue to share their stories and struggles. So that, while not my experience, I can still try to learn, to be an advocate for those who do not enjoy the same privileges I do. I am grateful for my 100 Watt bulbs in the classroom who have had patience with me as I work to find them the lamps that fit.
Learning is one of the best parts of teaching and I am grateful today for the lessons I am learning. Thank you Chad Everett and the teachers of #31daysIBPOC for sharing your stories.