Category: Teaching Social Justice

On Walking Out

They think increasing security is a bad idea and arming teachers is worse. That no one’s going to listen to kids anyway. Which is why today mattered so much

My Dinner with Betsy

The doors open; I sit at a table next to an older white couple. We greet each other; I also say hello to 7 others at my table. Everyone is white, except me.

Welcome back. Now smile.

We’re going back to school soon. You’re probably going to hear some teachers talk about how they won’t smile at their students until October. At some point, an older teacher might have given you the advice to start the year off cold and gradually warm up to your kids. But only once you’ve broken them […]

When I Talk About Defiance

J flipped her teacher off the other day. A quiet, straight-A student, J generally isn’t one to act out. She comes to school, cinches her hoodie tight, and goes about her business. Except, of course, for that time she threw her teacher the bird. J didn’t have much of an explanation for what happened, just […]

On DeVos: Let’s Stay Focused

This week, Betsy DeVos cleared another hurdle towards becoming the next education secretary of the United States. Ms. DeVos is a vocal supporter of school choice, most notably vouchers. She advocates for parents to be able to choose the best schools for their children, whether they’re traditional public schools, charters, or private schools. American Federation of […]

10 Ways Teachers Can Turn Stress Into Action

The work we do in our classrooms each and every day is essential. It is, I believe, the foundation of democracy and the space where possibility is at its most limitless. Our classrooms are where worlds are changed, art is created, and scientists are born. Our classrooms are where the art of inquiry and critical thinking are developed, […]

The Stories We Tell

Live from the other side what you see A bunch of nonsense on my TV Heaven on Earth is what I need But I feel I’m in Hell every time I breathe Reporting live from the other side what you hear A bunch of nonsense all in my ear Rich man, poor man, we all […]

We Fight Back

When police fight We fight back We use our words – Excerpt from a poem by a 7th grader At the beginning of the year, when my students and I recapped the summer news, we talked about police brutality, but we didn’t delve to far into the issue. I wanted to build more schema, a deeper […]

Taking Sides: Revolution or Oppression?

“We cannot treat our students as ‘other people’s children’ (Delpit, 1995) — their pain is our pain… audacious hope demands that we reconnect to the collective by struggling alongside one another, sharing in the victories and the pain.” — Jeff Duncan-Andrade “Why; our backs are now against the wall. Listen all of y’all it’s a sabotage. Listen all of […]

Yesterday Was a Bad Day

Yesterday was not a good day. Xenophobia won in the U.K. The Supreme Court, by deciding nothing, exposed five million lives to fear, uncertainty, and instability. While his city still tries to heal, the police officer who drove the van where Freddie Gray’s spine was snapped can now wake up every morning without fear of […]

Yes, You Do Want Drama in the Classroom

“Yo Mister, that ain’t right!” I’m teaching test prep in a Title I High School, in a part of Brooklyn that’s not portrayed on Girls, leading a rambunctious group of previously failing students through a content-review of the Cold War; exploring the difference between capitalism and communism. One particularly volatile student, Jonathan, is decrying the […]

“Can Hip Hop Save Us?” Hosted by Fresh Ed’s James Miles

“Hip-hop is one of the most powerful forces…It’s a culture that connects people from any race, school of thought, creed, religion, or color; a global phenomenon that exists in the United States, started in South Bronx and exists in crevices of the world.” — John Robinson, rapper, producer and educator We’re all accustomed to the same […]

The Majority-Only’s Dilemma

“I make $1,100 per two-week pay period. Union dues are $60–80, and Arizona puts 11% of my check into a retirement fund,” says Molly Hanzel, a science teacher at Carl Hayden High in Phoenix. Hanzel says the Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) maintains “a very strong presence at Hayden.” They recruit at the beginning of the […]

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