“I am no longer a language arts and social studies teacher, but a self-proclaimed teacher of social justice.” https://t.co/Mg2CgELy7a
— Teach For America (@TeachForAmerica) December 1, 2015
The article embedded in the tweet is titled, Teacher: A student told me I ‘couldn’t understand because I was a white lady.’ Here’s what I did then.
It’s exactly what you think it’s about, but here is a short snippet:
Most of their school life they will be told what to do and how to do it by someone who is white, and most likely female. Except for a few themed weeks, America’s children of color will read books, watch videos, analyze documents and study historical figures who are also not in their image.
I’ve been guilty of that charge. But things changed for me the day when, during a classroom discussion, one of my kids bluntly told me I “couldn’t understand because I was a white lady.” I had to agree with him. I sat there and tried to speak openly about how I could never fully understand and went home and cried, because my children knew about white privilege before I did. The closest I could ever come was empathy.
My curriculum from then on shifted. We still did all of the wonderful things that I had already implemented in the classroom, except now the literature, the documents, the videos, the discussions, the images embodied the issues that my children wanted to explore. We studied the works of Sandra Cisneros, Pam Munoz Ryan and Gary Soto, with the intertwined Spanish language and Latino culture — so fluent and deep in the memories of my kids that I saw light in their eyes I had never seen before. We analyzed Langston Hughes’s “Let America be America Again” from the lens of both historical and current events and realized that the United States is still the land that has never been. The land that my kids, after reading an excerpt from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s letter to his son that connected so deeply to their personal experiences, decided they still wanted to believe in. The land they decided to still hope for. The land that one of my kids quietly said would be changed by her generation. A generation of empathy.
Can you hear her pearl clutching, tear filled voice? Come on, close your eyes and be there with her — DO YOU FEEL HER WHITE PRIVILEGE PAIN?! Whiteness must be interrupted.
Did you catch the subtext? Not only is she white, she’s a…. SHE. There are too many ‘white she’s’ in schools. Something must be done… or rather undone. Male teachers were systematically pushed out of teaching starting decades ago.
Former Education Aide to Governor McCrory, Eick Guckian, is a TFA alum and left his post with the McCory administration earlier this year. Guckian is now heading up TFA’s political arm – Leadership for Educational Equity or LEE, for short.
His wife, Lisa, is also a TFA alum and headed up a TFA branch in North Carolina, is no stranger to social justice and is a big fan of “restorative justice“:
At the rally, Lisa Guckian, a Teach for America alum and public school parent, elaborated on what these alternatives could look like: “Restorative Justice provides an entirely different way of thinking about student misconduct. It’s a supportive approach to students. It assumes those most affected by misconduct actually have a hand in solving the problem. … It could look like peer mediation; it could look like circles for talking through conflicts and processing feelings; it could look like a mentorship program. It could also look like reintegrating students after they’ve been suspended through positive and productive ways.”
Teachers in Los Angeles Unified School District are not a fan of “restorative justice” or how they are being forced to implement it.
This is TFA and NC tax dollars are subsidizing this to the tune of $5.1 million dollars.
- The Dynamic Political Duo of TFA and LEE
- Protest and Educators
- ‘All Time High’ Teacher Turnover Narratives Return