As I stated in the beginning, I am focused on diverse literature. As noted, it’s an uphill battle. Finding quality is difficult. Finding quality diverse literature is a monumental task.
In my day-to-day conversations, in my daily social media feeds and conversations, in my personal interactions, I have been confronted with confusion, defensiveness, and dismissal.
People are confused. They tell me that children’s books are good–fine as they are, good enough, and mostly feature animals anyway. People are defensive. They have attachments to their own upbringing, their own learning, or just their routine. Re-evaluating their classroom experiences or their teaching practices requires acknowledging a deficit, challenging the status quo, and expanding their worldview. These are emotional endeavors. All of this leads to dismissal. The passion behind the task, the commitment to diversity is relegated to my individual soapbox rather than a collective project for every teacher.
It is easy to be discouraged. It is easy to feel alone. In my research, however, I found my words–my words of rebuttal and my words of personal encouragement: mirrors & windows.
Children are provided a lens in their learning, this lens can either be a mirror or a window. The mirrors are just as important as the windows. Mirrors allow them to be seen and heard, to realize their potential and reaffirm their value. Windows allow them to see others, to realize the potential and reaffirm the value of every person they encounter–whether that is now or in the future, in the classroom or somewhere else.
So, if you need a little encouragement or a reminder on why diverse literature is critical or important; remember, every child needs mirrors and windows, everyone benefits from being seen and seeing others.
The language of mirrors and windows comes from my original post, the image had a caption that led to researching the concept and finding several articles on it, including one on We are Teachers.
A repeat of all my work this past year–replete with additions, updates, and clarifications based on my initial presentation(s) and feedback. It’s been quite the July — and I still have a certification series to go!
These webinars have served as a tremendous growth opportunity for me. I have had to review what is most important to my work and research for every topic. I have had to play with technology and visual organization. I have had to rehearse definitions, arguments, concepts, frameworks, and possible Q & A. I feel more and more prepared, more and more inspired with each presentation–and I hope you can join me, share this opportunity, or provide me with added ideas as I move forward and keep presenting!
Every so often I go through a phase of intense research and discovery to find quality accurate representative literature for my classroom, for my friends, for the children in my life.
I focus on re-configuring my library. I am inspired to find the next best thing. I am thrilled to get to those books I have heard about, but haven’t gotten to read, until now. It sounds fun, and generally it is an enjoyable experience; however, I would be lying if I said it was always sunshine and roses.
As previously mentioned and announced, I have been fortunate enough to be able to take all my learning and passion into professional development training for my colleagues and fellow educators around the nation–most recently and specifically into webinar presentations.
All teachers know that while summer is our official break time, multiple opportunities come out for learning and preparation for the following year.
I have been asked, and I am thrilled to present, two webinars next week on two demographics of students near and dear to my heart, my work, my experience, and my community: BIPOC students and immigrant students.
If you can’t join me, please share with friends that may be interested, and wish me luck!
This weekend marks Juneteenth — known in the African-American/Black community for generations, recently acknowledged and celebrated on a more national stage, Juneteenth marks the liberation of enslaved Africans in the United States.
This weekend take some time to learn more about this day and what you can do to ensure its inclusion in textbooks, and conversations on the importance of history. Find a local event, and attend too! It is through these experiences and this learning that we learn more about ourselves and all of our students.