It's been a heartbreaking time in America. The death of George Floyd and the many other tragedies of BIPOC leaves me feeling angry, saddened, and looking for answers. As Educators, we must speak up and work for change. Teachers, we have an important role to play and that includes interrupting racism within our classrooms.
Interrupting Racism in the Classroom:
Sometimes a student will say something racist or offensive and it catches us off-guard. Instead of saying nothing, we have the responsibility of speaking up. Saying nothing is actually giving consent.
Here is a helpful resource from the Oregon Center for Education Equity of helpful phrases and responses to disrupt the narrative. I suggest printing this sheet and having it handy in your classroom.
I want my students to be life-long learners, but that includes myself too. I believe it is important to press into the uncomfortableness and learn and unlearn. Some of the ways that I have done this is by reading and listening to black voices and experiences. Here are a few books that I have found helpful:
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ljeoma Oluo
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, by Jason Reynolds
Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement, by Albert Woodfox
Films Worth Watching:
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption is streaming for free on Netflix and Amazon Prime
13th is a documentary available on Netflix
If you take a look at your classroom library, do your books reflect students from all backgrounds? This blog post will give you some insight into adding diverse books to your library. If you want additional book recommendations, this blog post includes picture books, chapter books, and adult non-fiction recommendations.
Social Justice Standards:
Teaching Tolerance has created Social Justice Standards, which is a framework for anti-bias teaching and education. Find your grade level for a rubric of learning outcomes and scenarios. Print and add to your lesson plans.
James Baldwin said, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." This is a critical moment. This is a time to learn and reflect on our teaching practices. This is a time to acknowledge that there are wrongs that cannot be tolerated. It's a time to stand together in pursuit of justice and understanding.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links to make it easier for you find the books shared in this post.