I’ve never really enjoyed the excessively sweet, sugary portrayals of teaching. I remember watching a Harry Wong video during my Masters program and there was some final scene with lighting a candle or something, like lighting the candle of imagination in a child. Stuff like that drives me insane. Maybe I lack sentimentality, or I’m too cynical.
I’m definitely not a motherly type.
The Answer Sheet, for which I’m generally supportive, just pulled a “white savior” move in a profile of a speech made by a white teacher who had an “a-ha” moment about teaching children of color.
Put aside your anxieties and accept your natural biases. Donald Graves once said, “Children need to hang around a teacher who is asking bigger questions of herself than she is asking of them.” I know I’m going to continue to ask the bigger questions of myself and seek the answers that sometimes feel impossible, because my kids deserve it … you’re welcome to join me. Thank you.
Holy maple syrup, I think I now have five cavities. Yes, I’m cynical. But these narratives ignore a whole lot of context. There are schools out there right now that would make this kind of teaching IMPOSSIBLE, and I’m serious about that.
This teacher must take a deeper look at her school and wonder how she is able to do this, and millions of teachers cannot. What administrative support does she have? What training has she acquired, or was she engaged in significant self-study? What privileges has she acquired, as a white female, to teach in this fashion that her colleagues of color may not? And finally, what advantages does she, as a gifted and talented teacher, have that general education teachers, or SPED teachers, do not?
I think many teachers don’t need to be told, “just do it.” It’s patronizing. I think teachers need a full understanding of the context in which an “exceptional” teacher teaches so they can begin to chip away at the barriers preventing their exceptionalism. I’m sure millions of teachers possess untapped potential to do exactly what this teacher proposes, but their contexts stifle them.