Culture, language, family and one's interests and hobbies are a few prominent factors that shapes identity. At what point will the social learning, adaptive behaviors and survival behaviors (passive compliance, silence, smiling and nodding because it's the right thing to do) of our African American youth in the classroom be acknowledged to a degree that produces a connection to what is taught?
Identity in the classroom is certainly a lot to unpack, but as an educator that has held almost ever position in a traditional public school setting except for that which is considered administrative, identity when it comes to our black and brown students is overlooked. Just this year, I had the opportunity to sit in a few meetings with educators, secretaries, library media staff and etc. and hear that the main issue is classroom management.
I am no expert, rather we exclude or include (as you read, please do) consider trauma, highly counter intuitive competition among ones contemporaries and self identity ...
The little black boy, who's assigned seat was behind the SMART board away from the class because it was believed that, that kind of isolation was best for his personality and inability to discern work from play. The bi-racial girl who sits in the front of class, who likes to draw pictures and laugh aloud to herself because she knows at least one person sees her though the class is disruptive most of the time. The well-behaved young man with an English accent and "360 waves" his peers call them. He hardly speaks. I've seen him laugh once and it's been 65 days. Passive compliant, whispers of him passing under the radar, though he's a two week tutor session afar from being an academic star.
As an educator, I have come to the realization that my job is not save my students, my passion to teach did not only came from the willingness to change the world but to teach a curriculum that I believe in and to encourage black and brown students to exercise integrity in the moment of choice and disappointment. How can I and those alike successfully reach these goals? I have an idea..
.. to know when to step up and step back, reminisce and decide rather we would like our future generation to be alike or better than us. (the superiors in the classroom)