The beauty of our jobs, however, is that we are not only gifted with multiple opportunities every day to affect students, but that students give us the space and strength to return to ourselves as well.
It's easy, at the end of the year, to lose sight of the "why"-- why are we in this work? What are we striving for? What does it mean to be an educator when we understand the vast and sometimes turbulent seas we want to help our students navigate?
We are all going to make mistakes when we have difficult conversations. We cannot deny our student the skills and space to have safe conversations about race simply because we're scared.
It's important for us to ensure that we stop and give space for others often not included in the decision-making process: families and students.
It is one thing to be "seen" in a classroom. It is another to know that someone else-- student, teacher, or even text-- sees not just you, but the cultural stories and traditions that you carry deep inside you and made you who you are.
If the genuine goal of Teach For America is to bring about educational equity, then why not be more conscious of the success rate of the teachers that you're putting in the classroom?
Being silent and completely engaging in what someone else gives us is a sign of radical love. We are often so quick to focus on our needs and our beliefs, that stopping completely to focus on the beliefs and needs of another can be a transformative way to show our love and validate the other person.
Promoting diversity through teaching starts with active recruiting of women and students of color who, in a culture that repeatedly tells them they don't belong, often benefit from direct encouragement.
How many of our students will have to face violence on so many levels in places that should feel safe?
Are we seeking a deeper understanding of ourselves? Or are we attempting to justify the parts of identity that the oppressor has taught us are unworthy and weak?