Our Duty to Support One Another: Supporting Marylin Zuniga

“We have a duty to fight for our freedom. We have a duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” This chant has been popularized during the #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations this past fall. The words are paraphrased from the freedom fighter and political exile Assata Shakur in her broadcast titled “To My People” on July 4th, 1973. Her words resonate today more than ever because they emphasize the importance of not only struggle, but also the need for us to overcome our…continue reading →

A Letter to Non-Union Teachers in Wisconsin

I currently teach in a unique program that is dedicated to meeting the social/emotional needs of students who have been disengaged in school in order to make progress with academic goals.  My classroom experience allows me to utilize and continue to develop my professional training for students with intensive needs.  Like many of you, I love the work that I do, but I am also very concerned about the world of education outside of my classroom. I began teaching in 2010 which, coincidentally, is when sh*t hit the fan for public workers/educators in…continue reading →

Media Literacy, Social Justice, and Teaching

The turn of the 21st century was accompanied by a huge surge in media technologies, revolutionizing how people communicate with each other. Millennials spend an average of about 18 hours a day exposed to various forms of media This heavy media saturation highlights the importance of why students need to know how to critically analyze the messages they are constantly bombarded with. Just as schools require students to know how to read and write literature, they should also be taught how to “read” and “write” media, especially considering how imagery and representation can have a…continue reading →

Yeezy Taught Me: Teaching Self-Confidence and Self-Love

In his title track for To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar raps the following lyrics, “Everybody lack self-confidence, everybody lack confidence. How many times was my potential anonymous?” These questions and ideas are at the heart of my instruction and my strategies when I enter the classroom. My main focus in my teaching is that I want students to love themselves as much as Kanye West loves Kanye West and to have Kanyefidence (confidence). I want them to believe that there is nothing they cannot do. You can get a student to believe in him…continue reading →

Teaching While White

This past summer Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous published a piece entitled “All the White Teachers I Wish I Never Had.” In the piece, she discusses how during her early school years her entire world was Black, filled with family, friends and teachers who supported her academic curiosity. “As a very bright, gifted Black girl, having Black teachers, mostly Black women, who saw my giftedness and encouraged and nurtured it, meant everything. These were teachers who could look at me and see themselves. They could see their children, their hopes, their dreams.…continue reading →

Teaching Grief: A Reflection

What follows is a reflection of the toughest week I have experienced in my first year as a teacher. Names have been changed and some events intentionally have details missing in order to respect the families involved. A few weeks ago I woke up to a text from the principal at my school explaining that the school was experiencing a tragedy and that he needed me to stay the entire day (I’m a teaching fellow, so I only teach 4 hours a day). Next came the email from the district superintendent explaining that…continue reading →