Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Social Justice Education: Intro (Part 1)

A teacher does not become a good teacher as soon as they walk into the classroom on 
their first day. Before they walk into the classroom, post their fresh and sparkly bulletin boards, or 
create their first pristine rubric for a writing assignment, these teachers have grandeur ideas of what it means to be a teacher.  Sometimes these ideas might not be in sync with reality.  But most of the time they are commendable and worth taking risks for.  

Here is the infamous, but oh so true, teacher meme.

Teacher reality?

These teachers wishes and desires stem from the research geared toward social justice in the classroom and vary from teaching tolerance to a multiethnic, religious, socio economic class to offering equal access to a great education for those that might not be offered one.  

Now, it is important to note that I am one of these teachers. I knew that I wanted to be a conduit of social justice. This means that as a teacher, I would be forced to teach students with varying backgrounds, and my responsibility is to teach for diversity. In addition, I want to foster a sense of responsibility to others’ suffering. As a social justice worker, I would have to make sure that I have high expectations of all my students, and that I provided the adequate scaffolds for each of them. The following images provide ways of how I scaffold for my students:

Using Sdaie strategies for my wonderful ELs

Practicing speeches before the real deal

Even understanding my students and how they learn best

It is important to note that I have changed my way of thinking. This was how I thought back then.  I am writing all of this, because it is something that I have thought about very often. I have discussed it with colleagues, administrators, and even students, but I never really understood what that all meant until I stepped foot into one of my graduate courses with Professor Brian Gibbs.  

That class has truly changed the way I view the teacher’s role, student’s role, and education in general, and it started with the following three articles, “Rigor: We Need a New Definition of Rigor” (Gibbs, 2014), “The History All Around Us: Roosevelt High School and the 1969 Eastside Blowout” (Gibbs, 2014), and “The Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott Revisited” (Kohl, 2005).   Each article was chosen for specific reasons, but the one thing that they all have in common is that I was absolutely shocked at what I learned from the text. 

All three articles changed how I saw my role as an educator, and it flipped my ideas of what social justice teaching is. In the next series of posts, I will discussing my ideas of what true social justice education looks like. Until next time! 

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