This year, my second year as a pre-service teacher has been far from what I would consider normal. I think I can safely say that 2020 as a whole has left us much to ponder in terms of our role as individuals, our role as a collective society, the roles we want our governments to play and the roles we envision for ourselves as educators. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken me, and I would assume most people, through a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. This is most notable as it pertains to my role as an educator. Although teachers and administrators have jumped right in and made the very best of a tumultuous situation, what is becoming more evident as I work with students in care and examine issues through new lenses, is that vulnerable and racialized students are bearing the brunt of already huge inequities within our public schools. Although these deficits existed prior to the pandemic, I am left contemplating and examining what my role is as a White, able bodied, woman, within this system? What role do I want to play and how can I strive to build up the students for whom the system is holding down. Through my practicum placement at CAS, I have witnessed the everyday challenges BIPOC students face within public education and have seen the very real effects of streaming as well as a lack of resources for students who are not well supported. Through Ibram X. Kendis How to Be an Anti-Racist, I have questioned my privilege within an axis of power, and I am committed to an ongoing examination of my philosophies and my responsibilities.
I have been fortunate enough to have had this opportunity to work with students in care and to meet and work with some inspiring educators who model these practices and have put their time and their hearts into supporting and advocating for racialized students who may have simply disappeared had no one been there to catch them. As an educator reading and engaging with Kendis work has afforded me the opportunity to explore further into the works of Bettina Love, Roby Maynard and Bell Hicks.
These explorations have led me to resolve to always look through the lenses of social justice and learn more about the things I do not know. I will not be complicit in advancing harmful narratives. I will not be guilty of omitting uncomfortable topics and I will be aware of who my students are and commit to each and every one of their success to the best of my capabilities. Furthermore, this experience solidifies my commitment to embrace and implement culturally relevant pedagogies, trauma informed practice, hear and value every voice and experience, embody abolitionist philosophies, understand, value and acknowledge the role of intersectionality, and never shy away form tackling difficult histories or subjects. I also commit to an ongoing practice of exploring what I do not know and understand that if I do not do this as an educator, the price we will pay as a collective society is dear.