Things I do well:
- finding diverse books especially books with characters that are of the same culture/race as my students
- I stayed after school with a former student who is often categorized as an angry black kid (but has a lot to be angry about and is actually an awesome kid) when his ride didn’t show. I stood up for him. Latino Police Officer was a total jerk to him and made fun of him for not knowing his dad’s phone number. I calmed the kid down and had him stand up for himself once he was calm. Police officer looked pretty embarrassed when the kid said the reason why he didn’t know the number was because they kept getting the account cut off and new numbers so frequently (common with families that don’t have a lot of money).
- Trying to learn Spanish and use it with my Spanish-speaking parents.
- Writing letters to representatives on topics such as stand your ground and militarization of police
- Encouraging my admin to hire people of color
- Respecting parents’ decisions to opt out of the sheriff program that finger prints children to make identification papers if the child ever goes missing
Things I could do better:
- be more involved politically - more letters, phone calls, letters to the editor
- be a better listener
- read more on race-related topics
- donate to organizations that support equal rights
- I do stand up to white people making racist comments, but I could be better prepared for when it happens… I mostly just see red and my heart starts beating really fast
- expose students to people from their race in different professions ie: field trips, speakers, and books
- stand against trends like an alarming rate of referrals for black boys within the scope of education
- get more books reflecting Hatian culture or characters
- attend protests
Questions I have as an educator (some are really just more frustrations than real questions):
- In relation to the police, I teach pre-k. We usually teach our students that police are there to help. How do I continue to tell them that considering current events? I feel like a little bit of a liar.
- As a white teacher of an entire class of students that are black or latino, what am I blind to that I should a) be aware of or b) be doing?
- What can I do better in relation to my students’ parents?
- What are the best ways to teach tolerance at a young age (we teach Conscious Discipline and the Hands are not for Hitting Series and I try to do it during teachable moments, but I feel like there could be more)
I’d love to hear your reactions as educators. Anyone’s ideas or suggestions are also welcome.