Focusing only on individual pieces of policy often leads to a myopic debate that relegates important, systemic issues of race and class to the peripheral (if mentioned at all).
Not all students think that way. There are so many different people who go to school, and so many factors that could affect a student's thought process and reasoning. This prevents every person being able to fit into the same mold.
If we want to combat the issues faced by students in oppressive environments, we need to do something radical and undo the damage from a system that failed them. We need to honor and cultivate their humanity.
If "teacher leadership" means seeking "innovative" ways to deny students knowledge, information, or history that is relevant for them in service of "compliance," I'm not interested and I'm running in the opposite direction.
1. Create lessons devoted to social justice 2. Invite a community member 3. Talk Less, Smile More
Our job is not to feed content to students. Our job is to prepare young people to dismantle systems that are currently failing them, as well as uplift the voices and ideas that showcase the best of their generation.
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." - Audre Lorde
When you internalize concepts of social justice and an understanding of cultural competence, your internal compass can begin to guide the work. This winter break, I'm committing solid time to recalibrate, retune, and refresh my practice.
Writing became a means of expressing their environment rather than merely recording. The students used metaphors which reflected the landscape around them, and also their culture and teenage lives.
We need to teach kids to build movements, not just seek moments. Instead of giving our students permission to wait and be saved by some superhuman, we need to give our students the tools and skills to see themselves as movement-makers.