Stop Biting Your Tongue

Dear educators who are people of color.  You must stop biting your tongue!  The voice that you have is the voice that your colleagues need to hear and you have direct access to them.  Remember we all are working in educational institutions where we promote the importance of becoming a lifelong learner.  I know all too well the thought of your experiences not being valued or people dismissing your realities.  Even with all of the odds stacked against you the next generation needs your willingness to step in the ring and box.These institutions also have mission statements that have quotes like “Our mission is to establish cooperation with families, school personnel, and community, and to provide an education in a safe environment that will enable all students to reach their highest potential. their highest potential in an ever‐changing global community. productive, meaningful life.”  When I come across mission statements that include buzz words like global community and ever-changing I wonder when the system of education begins to adapt with the times?  The diversity of our world is constantly on display in many areas outside of educational institutions.  I wonder how we can prepare students for a global community when we don’t sustain the presence of multiple cultures in our classrooms.  People of color it is your experiences that are lacking and haven’t been told.  It is your experiences that can help add perspective to a growing mind.  It is your responsibility to share the thoughts and truths that you and your relatives have actually lived through.  I know as we watch our nation change and hire more people to head DEI groups that this is not going to help us sustain.  We are reacting to a deep cut with q-tips hoping to slow the bleeding, one thing for sure is that the blood is coming out fast.  

Social Emotional Learning
Self-Awareness, Social-Awareness and Responsible Decision making are 3 of the 5 Social Emotional Learning areas.  We want students to display mastery in these areas by the time they graduate from high school.  If they can show mastery then it is said that they have a better chance of being successful.  Yet, educational institutions are not making responsible decisions that would include adopting initiatives that help sustain the global community that our students are going to experience.  Are we saying that we want ALL students to have social awareness and be open to other perspectives and experiences but not embed these values into our everyday practice?  If we are looking for these types of results then we need to evaluate what sustainable practices are.  In order for students to develop these skills to prepare them for a global community we must encourage people to share their experiences so that we learn together.  Teachers of color you have ideas that come to your mind when your colleagues bring up SEL needs to improve behaviors. You know that students want to see themselves represented in what they are learning, and you also know that the world has changed.

Student Engagement
Teachers of color have you ever heard your colleagues wonder why they aren’t able to keep the attention of their students?  Do they mention off task behaviors that happen when an individual isn’t engaged?  Do you feel like they always miss the part of the story that should include how the curriculum is only telling this story from one perspective and it is very misleading?  This is a great opportunity for you to speak up!  Some people may not want to hear it but most people will because you are a professional that has lived these same struggles.  Don’t talk yourself out of making a decision that will help a student change their view of the world.  When you speak up you will have sparked the change that is needed for sustainability.  

Workplace Support
Educators love support!  That support can come from an administration that is open to new ideas or colleagues that love to collaborate and work toward helping students realize their greatest potential.  Whatever you think this should look like is why we should be teaching our students these values daily, and why they should be part of how we function.  An educational institution filled with students and staff that feel supported will achieve great things. Teachers of color, the global community is waiting for you to stop biting your tongue!