Yesterday, a student asked a colleague of mine why there isn’t a White History Month. The student, who happens to be Black, asked the question with all seriousness. I didn’t want my facial expression to give way to the 20-floor drop that my heart took to the pit of my stomach as soon as I… Continue reading Why “Black Panther” Is A “Must See” For All Black Students
For the past few weeks, every time I see the cover of a local New York City newspaper there are reports of incidents of blatant racism and discrimination against students of color. This week, sadly, is no exception. According to an article published this Monday in the Daily News, Liriano [a teacher in the NYC… Continue reading Even During Black History Month, Teaching Black History Is Demonized.
His name is Malcolm Xavier Combs. Yet he was allegedly pulled out of class, berated, and told by a school administrator at his school— Christ the King High School in Queens, NY — that he can’t have “Malcolm X” on his senior hoodie sweatshirt. According to the Daily News, Malcolm Xavier Combs wanted the name… Continue reading His Name is Malcolm Xavier Combs, aka “Malcolm X” — Whether You Like It Or Not.
(Alexandra Cohl is an academic and creative writer who is currently an MA English Literature candidate at The City College of New York. She is also a writing instructor to writers ages 6-18 and professional development program leader for in-school teachers at Writopia Lab, a national literacy nonprofit. Her fiction can be read in Luna… Continue reading Encouraging the Absurd or Uncomfortable: The Power of Validating Student Ideas
A school is only as good as its administrators’ execution of their vision. It starts at the top. Building administrators — specifically, school principals — are the ones who do the hiring of teachers. So much rides on their cultural competence, and this factors heavily into the hiring of teachers of color — or lack… Continue reading When Diversifying Staff, It All Comes Down to Principals!
I didn’t know that there was a researched title for the kind of teacher I am. I just thought it was me being me and, while that’s true, I recently learned that the role I bring to the classroom every day is called being a “warm demander.” According to esteemed scholar Dr. Diedre Houchen, “warm… Continue reading When They Go Low, We Go High: Why Black Teachers Are A Necessity, Not An Option
What could be more important than welcoming 1,300 high school students during the morning into your building as a principal? I mean, seriously. I do it. These students walk past my 5’2” petite frame (hence, I often wear heels making me a resounding 5’3” tall powerhouse) on their way to the cafeteria and subsequent classes.… Continue reading NYC Teacher: Principals, Get Out There and Lead!
“Accountability” is a popular buzz word in the field of education. Often it is used in reference to teachers in correlation with their students’ standardized test scores; however, that’s a very limited scope and sequence. Accountability is so much more than that. Who is accountable for fueling our students with healthy, nutritious meals? Who is… Continue reading Who Is Accountable For New York’s Students?
The popular NBC TV show “This Is Us” currently has a story line about a married couple with two children of their own opening their home to a foster child. This is a topic rarely portrayed on television, although you might be surprised to find out that almost 12,000 children in New York City are… Continue reading NYC Students and Foster Care: Another Overlooked Population
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. I️ grew up hearing this wisdom exhorted in my home time and time again. Words have power. The tone of those words carries with them an even heavier weight. I’ve taken this wisdom into my classroom and observed other teachers who’ve made a conscious effort… Continue reading The Power of Affirming Words In The Lives of Our Students