When I first started working with teachers–20 years ago–I had only been in the classroom myself, as a teacher, for about five years.
The gall of me to think that I could be an “expert” at the midpoint of a decade in the front of a room!
But, I did have authority and perhaps expertise that had been invisible and/or undervalued in the school. My life as a Black student and a Black teacher and a learner of science–that content which finally had been valued–had not been a crystal stair but I could feel the pressure of my ascension.
Years later, I would train teachers using PRODUCTS
PROMOTED as frameworks
Based on research PROGRAMS
Built on best PRACTICES…
I used the language of research based products and programs to reinforce their practices.
I established and shared classroom norms and expectations with my students rather than any rules on the way to forming a community…I believed in the practices being promoted as programs being packaged as products
UNTIL I realized the dangerous entitlements of capitalism creeping into the/my ways…
Had I lost my vision for a new attitude–a P-attitude–in the classroom where voice and reason, and collaboration and community were equally valuable as success narratives defined within a system made for girls (and children) who didn’t look like me? Even the boys of all shades and experiences struggled in this system of rows and columns, raised hands and silent reading, books and worksheets instead of playful engagement with new and old things…
To be POSITIVE because optimism just feels better than despair
To be PENSIVE because being thoughtful and considerate promotes relationship over pride
To be PERSONAL because exhibitionism creates an environment where those who are depraved may be tempted to steal or manipulate rather than simply admire
To be PREPARED because when you are ready for what happens next means you are ready for what happens later
To be PURPOSEFUL because mindfulness leads to achievement and maybe even mastery, for in it–purpose–there is vision that converts ideas into revelation…
I am grateful that I have a sister and a man and a child who believe in me enough to share their lives and thoughts with me. It builds me up so that I can build others…Wooooo sahhhhhh