Bronwyn Harris

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Bronwyn Harris is a writer, editor, teacher and tutor in California. She is a veteran of the Oakland Unified School District where she was an elementary classroom teacher and passionate advocate for her students and their families. Her hobbies include knitting, traveling, and training her sweet pit bull, Rio.


Pages authored by Bronwyn Harris

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Violent Truth Is Much Scarier Than Simulation I have never been in a situation like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have, however, been a teacher in one of the most violent parts of...
Partners in Grief In Oakland, Calif., there are a lot of homicides especially for a fairly small city of about 400,000 people. Last July, there were seven homicides in...
Conversations Move Us Beyond Bias I recently confronted my prejudices. After teaching for many years in a low-income, high-violence area of Oakland, Calif., I decided to do some...
Ethnicity Check Goes Outside the Box I recently served as a reader of scholarship applications. The process included a complex algorithm for inclusion and took several criteria into...
A Place to Play is a Release from Prison When I was a kid, I attended two different elementary schools in the same town. They were very different. One was large, suburban and within walking...
Affirming Many Variations of Family When I was growing up, most of my friends’ families had a mom and a dad. A few parents were divorced and that meant stepdads and stepmoms were also...
Segregation is Still Part of Our Classroom Through Big Brothers, Big Sisters, I’ve been working with a little girl from the neighborhood where I used to teach. I think very highly of this...
Seeing the Child behind the Anger Many of my third-graders are very angry. They have good reason. Growing up in the most violent area in Oakland, many have lost family members to...
Putting Feelings into Words Emotions can be frightening for all of us, especially for children. But if students don’t have the vocabulary to express their feelings, they may...
It’s Still Good to Talk About Race Recently, I was in a public place with a friend when I saw a woman wearing a very creative, flamboyant outfit. Knowing that my friend would be...
For the Want of a Home Editor’s Note: This month, Teaching Tolerance launched a new series of lessons called Issues of Poverty. This week’s featured lesson can be found...
Classroom Guest Busts Stereotypes It’s not unusual to encounter misconceptions about Africa. People erroneously refer to “the country of Africa” or say that someone “speaks African.”...
Going Deeper Than Skin Color Among my third-graders, conflicts often arose over the issue of skin color.  “Your mama left you in the oven too long. You look just like a...
Get Past Group Mentality, See People First When I began teaching classes of primarily black students in Oakland, Calif., many of my white friends started to see me as something of an expert on...
Get Past Seeing Diversity as a Difficulty For all the wonderful things that diversity brings to a classroom, teaching a diverse group of students can be much more difficult than teaching a...
Tracking Derails Diversity The first day of my second year of teaching, a third-grader walked into class, saw another student and punched him in the nose. He didn’t say...
The Black Teacher Who Wasn’t As a young white woman from the suburbs, I knew I was going to experience some culture shock as I began my teaching career in one of the more violent...