Small Bites Friday Five 12-04-20:
20-30m – Watch the election episode of ABC’s Blackish, it’s chock full of context for this year’s election. Did you know that Black people were not officially given the right to vote until 1965?
15-20m – Spend some time reflecting on what has changed since the death of George Floyd and Brionna Taylor, and what still needs to change. Think about who in your community has the power to make that change and join me for #TeacherTurnout Tuesday. Use your Twitter, IG, fb, email or phone to let them know what you, your students and your district need, especially now.
10-15m – Move. Like…stop the video and move. Check out this TikTok video from Dr. Burt (and the one on Small Bites) for inspiration!
5-10m – Look at the graphic in this article on confirmation bias and other types of bias. See if you can find yourself. Reflect on how you form your opinions on the world around you and whether or not you need to make some changes.
0-5m – Use this form to let me know what you are struggling with as you work to become a more inclusive educator and let’s start a dialogue. I will be opening up a cohort in 2021 so that we can talk more in depth about HOW to make small changes with big impact.
Much of what I talk and write about is deeply intertwined with identity. Our thoughts and preferences are often a part of our armor, the thought walls we put up between us and them. Think you’re ‘woke’? Mebbe…but even if you are, your us, them and everything in between is held together by some kind of bias. Bias for things that validate us, bias against things that make us feel insecure or threatened.
When we begin to reflect on how we can create more equitable classrooms and campuses, we often begin with divorcing ourselves from some train of thought and espousing another.
What is your process? How do you know what to leave in and what to leave out? My humble advice is to have you begin by examining your own preferences, and as author Barbara Bray says, define your why. Why do you want to help these students? Do they remind you of your younger self, untarnished by life’s rough spots? Do they remind you of the bits about yourself that you still struggle with? Does helping to level the playing field in education make you feel noble or help you atone for some middle school gym class evils?
Are you doing right because it’s right to do? The answer probably is, partially. Even when we have the purest motives, there is always something self-serving in our ways (Terry Heick has about 180 ways our thinking can go wrong in his article on bias). That’s no indictment, it’s just humanity. But realizing that as fact can help us to make sure that there is nothing odoriferous in our well intended deeds.
Is there a likert scale to help you figure this out? A weighted scale? A chart with four color coded quadrants? Nope. There is only you, a pen, some paper, maybe some sun and fresh air, or perhaps a cuppa in your favorite spot.
As you make changes, look not only outward for new stories to provide context for your students, but look inside yourself as well. The best answers are always there. Find your blind spots, your biases, maybe even turn on a new light or heal a few old wounds with Traci Nicole Smith.
I am excited for you and your willingness to learn how to be a more culturally responsive teacher, but I am even more excited about the opportunity this gives you to be an even better human being.
Who are you? What are your biases? It's one of the things we will explore as we talk about how to implement change in our classrooms and on our campuses. Join us for the #SmallBites cohort next year. Fill out this form and let's start a conversation!