A place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools
Sometime in the next week or so, the Senate of the state of Tennessee will probably approve the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. It’s a proposed law that states, “No public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality” in grades K-8.
Elementary school-aged children get no time to just be, experience their own selfhood, to rest. It’s important for the development of creativity, for mental growth and even for discovering something new. However, from the time most children get up in the morning until they go to sleep at night, someone is hurling demands at them.
The question above was posed to me in the comments section of a blog post I wrote recently. The post was entitled "Imani and the Cabbage Seeds." In it, I wondered about “isms”—racism, sexism and other things that either separate people or give one group power over another.
I broke a toe recently. Woke from a deep sleep, ambled around my apartment for just a few moments and then thump! I hit my foot on a piece of furniture.
As I hobbled around in the days that followed, lost in the effort of just getting about, I thought “this is what it must feel like to be old.” And then—“this is what it feels like to have a disability.”
When I was studying to be a teacher, I had to write a philosophy of education. This essay was to explain what I believed about kids and the role teachers and education played in their lives. I wrote that all kids could learn, that they all deserved equal access to inspired teaching and that my role was to meet them wherever they were and serve them in the way that best met their needs.
Although I still believe those things are true, I've come to realize that my teaching is driven more by a different philosophy than the one I wrote about.
“You can’t sit with us!”
I giggled as I, along with the 20 or so other girls in my high school health class, sprawled out on the classroom floor and watched Mean Girls. Gretchen Wieners had just told Regina George she couldn’t sit at their lunch table because she was wearing sweatpants. We’d all seen the movie countless times before, but it didn’t matter. The scene was perpetually funny.
When many students think of buses and desegregation, their minds instantly go to Rosa Parks and the 1954 Montgomery Bus Boycott. But the larger civil rights fight over transportation took place seven years later with the Freedom Rides, which mark their 50th anniversary this May.