Why do I need students to reach for someone else's bar? Why can't I help them see and unlock all the magic they already contain?
Teach so all students know they have a right to belong in this world and be accepted as individuals with equally powerful stories and futures.
What obstacles do you think students of color or in low-income communities face when getting their voices heard?
We are so quick to look at these students and see them as "not enough" or "defiant," that we run the risk of also failing to see them as human.
Do we not want students to question? Don't we want them to stand up for themselves or seek the "why" to larger issues? Why, then, are we so afraid when they turn that critical eye onto us as their teachers?
Teachers and parents who call out the not-quite-truths we tell children understand that this matters not only because we should be honest with students, but because the stories we tell about each other matter. They affect the way students understand themselves, their families, their communities, and their potential.
When we call for culturally-responsive education as part of teacher preparation, it's not because it will increase test scores or because it's what's trendy in education. It's because we know that being responsive to and inclusive of a students' culture is a sign of love for the students themselves.
Ultimately, #GraceLeeTaughtMe that we have everything we need already, within us. The communities we serve have all the brilliance they need. We merely need to rake away decades of oppression and release the tethers of systemic injustice to allow it "create the world anew."
When we use the term "minority," we continue to use the language of disempowerment to refer to students, teachers, and communities of color.
"Coddling" my students would be running away from the conversation altogether. Caring about them means creating a space where we can have these difficult, frank discussions in a way that still allows them to feel safe, validated and empowered, even when we disagree.