Restructuring our Safe Spaces
To ensure we are on a path to a truly equitable classroom, we need to be intentional about giving students who have been historically marginalized easier access to the learning. This does not only include the academic content but also the systems, procedures, language and interpersonal connections. The session will cover ways to revamp the classroom from the posters we put up, to the language we use, to the conversations we have. Every decision we make has to be made through the lense of inclusion and to that extent, the work becomes transformational, rather than transactional. Participants will leave this session with tangible solutions to ensure a more equitable classroom for all students. Teachers will create a set of short term and long term goals to ensure that this work stays at the forefront of their teaching practices.
Somewhere along the spectrum of having privilege as well as disadvantages in my own educational background, I found myself carrying a great deal of responsibility to ensure that students understand where they lie. As a choir teacher, a common (and admittedly true in my case) generalization is that we encourage melodramatic and emotional conversations. I have found that through the lense of DEIJ, these conversations have opened both my and my students hearts and minds to the injustices of the education system in which we spend most of our waking hours. Through careful repertoire selection, intentional conversations and physical spaces which recognizes and celebrates historically marginalized communities, I have found meaning and purpose in this work. I’m passionate about effecting change in my classroom and at the larger school-wide level. Our students deserve champions to do the heavy lifting. Their job is to come to school to learn, play, and build connections. My job is to make sure there are no barriers in the way.