Monday, June 19, 2017

National Charter School Teacher of the Year: “I realized that my education had occurred within a racist system that privileged Eurocentric achievements” - The Hechinger Report

TEACHER VOICE: “I realized that my education had occurred within a racist system that privileged Eurocentric achievements” - The Hechinger Report:

TEACHER VOICE: “I realized that my education had occurred within a racist system that privileged Eurocentric achievements”

National Teacher of the Year’s Boston-area battle to level the playing field

Image result for sydney chaffee
Sydney Chaffee: National Charter School Teacher of the Year 


The effect of systemic racism and historical oppression on students of color, especially as manifested in the school-to-prison pipeline, is an issue that educators cannot ignore.
As a white educator, it is my duty to educate myself and work against this injustice.
In my first year of teaching, I had to design and teach a unit on the Haitian Revolution. I was too embarrassed to admit this, but I had never even heard of this revolution.
Humbled, I realized that my education had occurred within a racist system that privileged Eurocentric achievements.
I would need to do significant work to correct my ignorance.
Examining my own privilege—“unpacking the invisible knapsack,” in the words of Peggy McIntosh — is behind-the-scenes work I owe to my students.
When my students are study the Haitian Revolution, they learn that Haiti’s crippling poverty can be traced to colonialism. Hurricane Matthew’s recent devastation provides us another opportunity to extend our learning, and my students and I have begun brainstorming fundraising ideas.
This work requires that students understand learning as broader than how we often envision what happens inside classrooms. Authentic learning enables students to see and create connections in the world.
By framing my class as a place where students do the real work of writers, actors, and historians, I encourage them to see themselves as active community members who have a stake in shaping their world.

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