What does this phrase mean to you? As we approach, or have started, a new school year, how might you consider this phrase when working with your students. In our own school, our students participated in rallies, sit-ins, and marches-during and outside of school. This summer, our neighboring community, St. Paul public schools, lost a member of their support staff to what has been best understood as racially charged violence. Our students at South are a very diverse group, whereas our teaching staff is not. However, what is wonderful about the teaching staff at South is that we recognize this disparity and we are doing the best we can to bring these conversations to the forefront of what is going on in the classroom. Some people might say that this is anti-racism education, which, in itself, is a much more in-depth pedagogy than just talking about differences.
Next week, students are coming into our school. Some of them may be returning to South, some may be brand new to South and our culture here, some may be brand new to this country and don't speak a lick of English. It is our job as educators to embrace these differences and encourage student's to use their voice, their experiences and backgrounds in the classrooms. Dare I say, sometimes the content is less important than the experiences of building relationships with our students.
There are a few of us that are working on getting this phrase made into poster and underneath having "South Teachers for Racial Equity" added. Many of our students have felt silenced or discriminated against because of their cultural or perceived racial identity, and we want them to know that we do see them, we do hear them, and we believe IN them. What would happen if we adopted this mentality in all of education.