Hopefully every educator in the world right now is taking this time to reflect about their role and responsibility in the Black Lives Matter movement.
I know I am.
As someone who is early in their own personal and professional journey of deep reflection and self inquiry, I don’t know exactly what to say or exactly how to contribute. I don’t feel like I have any tips or advice or suggestions. I don’t feel comfortable telling others what to do, because I am still trying to figure that out for myself.
But I also don’t want to stay silent either. I don’t want to be neutral. I want to publicly stand together with the rest of humanity at this important point in history.
So although I don’t feel I have anything new or novel to share to the conversation, I want to still speak up. I want to be open, honest and vulnerable.
All I feel I can share at this moment, is what I’m personally doing in my own journey to become anti-racist.
Which is currently…. listening, learning and reflecting.
I’m provoking my own thinking about how, as an international educator, I am part of the problem. Reading these three articles really helped me contextualize the issues of equality and systemic racism, and how they specifically live and spread within the unique environments of international schools.
I’m taking advice from my students. I am honoured to work at a school with an amazing student body, who has published this site called “80 Ways“. It suggests 10 books, 10 podcasts, 10 websites, 10 films, 10 articles, 10 accounts as well as actions, petitions and donation recommendations for understanding and supporting the movement. I plan to use this as a library as I continue to learn and grow and take action.
I’m confronting my own implicit bias, ignorance and privilege. I’m not shying away from conversations, or trying to present myself in a certain light. I’m trying to critically and harshly see these things in myself and trying to be brutally honest and vulnerable in discussions with family, friends and colleagues about it.
I’m thinking about my impact as PYPC and AP, and the responsibility I have to place anti-racism at the center of everything I do. I’m auditing and documenting the changes I can make to unit planning processes, curriculum design, staff orientation, professional development, dress code, school policies and resource purchasing to ensure I help break the cycle of systemic racism at international schools.
I’m reflecting on the impetus, now more than ever, to shift the paradigm of education. For years I’ve been joining many others around the world calling for a drastic change to the current way we “do school”. But it wasn’t until coming across provocative articles like this one that got me wondering about the connection between re-imagining education and the Black Lives Matter movement. Now more than ever, I feel driven to continue to advocate for a new approach to education that rejects our current power-imbalanced, compliance-based model, to one that is more humane and democratic for all. Now, more than ever, I see the need to be rebels, not robots and push back against the system in which most of us have been indoctrinated, for sustainable and enduring change.
I am nothing, if not a learner. So I am open… to resources, to discussion, to conversation, to suggestion and to feedback.
I want to be a better ally in this fight – and I’m open to help with that journey.
I am here to listen. I am here to learn. I am here to help.
I am here.