Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Race & Equity: Yet Another Inconvenient -- but REAL -- Truth

Mention race and equity to any group of seasoned or even novice educators, and you will probably encounter eye rolls, irritation, sarcasm, indifference, and even outward, blatant frustration. These two words have become the new "catch phrases" on the block that everyone in the education world seems to be talking about. And the talking doesn't stop. Some educators even feel like these issues are shoved down their throats, primarily in the form of mandatory professional development. 

My school is no exception, and neither is my Staff Development teacher. Don't get me wrong; race and equity are HUGE issues all teachers need to seriously grapple with, consider, and try to come to terms with on a daily basis. Those who ignore these pivotal issues and pretend they don't exist aren't fooling anyone, most especially their own students. "Race blind" teachers might as well be living in a different century.

This month, my Staff Development teacher wants us to reexamine race and equity from a new lens, from the perspective of experienced, informed, and aware educators who need to continually refine and improve our practice -- and conversations about these controversial and important issues with one another and our students.

The following article does an impressive job discussing the paramount importance of race and equity in our daily classroom lives from a variety of perspectives. What can YOU take away from it to bring into your own practice starting tomorrow??

The article is from the November 2010 issue of the Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development and begins below:

Another Inconvenient Truth: Race and Ethnicity Matter
Willis D. Hawley and Sonia Nieto
Race and ethnicity affect how students respond to instruction and their opportunities to learn.

Given the shameful differences in the academic outcomes and graduation rates of students of color compared to many Asian and white students, one would expect policies and practices related to students' race and ethnicity to be high on the reform agenda. Of course, there is widespread discussion of the "minority achievement gap," but solutions on the public agenda are invariably color-blind. It is widely assumed that what works for white and Asian American students will work for students of color—if only we did it more often.
We need, however, to recognize an inconvenient truth—that when it comes to maximizing learning opportunities and outcomes for students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, race and ethnicity matter. Race and ethnicity influence teaching and learning in two important ways: They affect how students respond to instruction and curriculum, and they influence teachers' assumptions about how students learn and how much students are capable of learning.
I have the full article available as a PDF. Let me know if you are interested.

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