| |to Be a More Equitable Educator |
By Paul C. Gorski (firstname.lastname@example.org) for EdChange
and the Multicultural Pavilion
1. I will learn to pronounce every student’s full given name correctly. No student should feel the need to shorten or change her or his name to make it easier for me or their classmates to pronounce. I will practice and learn every name, regardless of how difficult it feels or how time-consuming it becomes. That is the first step in being inclusive.
2. I will sacrificethe safety of my comfort zone by building a process for continually assessing, understanding, and challenging my biases and prejudices and how they impact my expectations for, and relationships with, all students, parents, and colleagues.
3. I will center student voices, interests, and experiences in and out of my classroom. Even while I talk passionately about being inclusive andstudent-centered in the classroom, I rarely include or center students in conversations about school reform. I must face this contradiction and rededicate to sharing power with my students.
4. I will engage in a self-reflective process to explore how my identity development impacts the way I see and experience different people.
5. I will invite critique from colleagues and accept it openly. I usually dowell accepting feedback … until someone decides to offer me feedback. Though it's easy to become defensive in the face of critique, I will thank the person for their time and courage (it’s not easy to critique a colleague). The worst possible scenario is for people to stop providing me feedback, whether positive and negative.
6. I will never stop being a student. If I do not grow, learn, andchange at the same rate the world around me is changing, then I necessarily lose touch with the lives and contexts of my students. I must continue to educate myself—to learn from the experiences of my students and their parents, to study current events and their relationship to what I am teaching, and to be challenged by a diversity of perspectives.
7. I will understand the relationship betweenINTENT and IMPACT. Often, and particularly when I'm in a situation in which I experience some level of privilege, I have the luxury of referring and responding only to what I intended, no matter what impact I’ve had on somebody. I must take responsibility for and learn from my impact because most individual-level oppression is unintentional. But unintentional oppression hurts just as much asintentional oppression.
8. I will reject the myth of color-blindness. As painful as it may be to admit, I know that I react differently when I'm in a room full of people who share many dimensions of my identity than when I’m in a room full of people who are very different from me. I must be open and honest about that, because those shifts inevitably inform the experiences of people in my classes orworkshops. In addition, color-blindness denies people validation of their whole person.
9. I will recognize my own social identity group memberships and how they may affect my students' experiences and learning processes. People do not always experience me the way in which I intend, even if I am an active advocate for all my students. A student’s initial reaction to me may be based on alifetime of experiences, so I must try not to take such reactions personally.
10. I will build coalitions with teachers who are different from me (in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, first language, disability, and other identities). These can be valuable relationships of trust and honest critique. At the same time, I must not rely on other people to identify my...