Slice of Life: Courageous Conversations

“When someone with the authority of a teacher describes the world, and you’re not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing.” –Adrienne Rich.

Sometimes it takes miles, special places, and special people to see what is right in front of us.

It took NCTE in St. Louis to talk with Courtney Kinney.
It took her caring responsiveness and commitment.
It took the resources provided by my own district to start my education towards creating courageous conversations (Courtney’s words) in my classroom.

Seeing around the majority requires a heightened sense of awareness. No matter the circumstance, there is always someone who does not fit. And our kids engage with these differences unacknowledged and unseen. I’ve had several conversations with students about the holidays. Both student-initiated. Both students felt as outsiders.  One told me not to tell anyone. It began with, “Please don’t tell anyone but…” What does a discussion about faith indicate about the other things our children harbor. Things that make them an outsider. Acknowledging the difference that surrounds us directly, courageously is the work we are supposed to be dong. But to do this work takes overcoming fear. Fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. Fortunately, there are so many resources and books to enrich and support us as educators so that fear is supplanted with belief and mission.

Andrew Soloman’s TED talk, Love No Matter What is well worth the twenty-three minutes.  So far I’ve watched it three times. I laughed and cried the first time; the second and third time I took notes.  He quietly touches you on so many levels. As a teacher, a parent a person.

I’m reading up on books to get ready for #ReadYourWorld. Find lists and more here. Reading aloud books is one way to start opening the windows and seeing ourselves in the mirror.cropped-banner2018.jpg

And more books from The Journey Project.

These books along with the Gender Inclusive Schools Toolkit provided by genderspectrum.org offer the beginnings of my journey towards a more courageous classroom.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesday. Read more slices here.