I give them tools to create culturally conscious classrooms and homes—environments of mutual respect that cultivate intrinsically motivated, critically thinking global citizens.
I come to this work with a BA in International Studies, an M.Ed in Education, an internationally-recognized Association Montessori International (AMI) teaching diploma in Montessori Pedagogy, and DONA Postpartum Doula training.
I have 6+ years of teaching experience in classrooms in the US and abroad. I have worked directly with schools (both public and independent), nonprofit organizations, and NGOs around the world.
When I’m not facilitating workshops and trainings, consulting with schools and organizations, and creating intersectional, social justice curriculum, I’m usually busy traveling the world as frugally as possible, writing creative nonfiction, and learning more about progressive, anti-oppressive education.
My Educational Philosophy
As an AMI trained Montessori directress, my own educational philosophy is deeply influenced by the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, a physician, anthropologist, and pedagogue, who developed an approach to education in Italy in the early 1900s, while she was working with young children in a housing project in inner city Rome. It is a thoughtful, comprehensive curriculum, which emerged from Montessori’s work of studying children from various racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds for more than fifty years. Maria Montessori recognized that children possess an inner teacher and have minds that are capable of absorbing information effortlessly. The trained teachers (referred to as “directresses” or “guides” in the Montessori environment) observe the children and present lessons based on each child’s interests and abilities. The ingenious Montessori didactic materials are designed in a way that is self-correcting, which allows for the child to ultimately educate himself. The Montessori approach is holistic in nature, as the curriculum is not solely focused on academic growth, but also emotional, social, and physical development. The goal of the Montessori classroom is to foster the child’s natural desire to learn, to establish the ability to concentrate, to cultivate independence—all in an orderly, aesthetically pleasing environment. It is also about raising creative, capable, joyful, socially conscious, and culturally informed citizens of the world. For more information about Maria Montessori and her life’s work, check out the Association Montessori Internationale’s website at: www.ami-global.org and the American Montessori Society's website at: https://amshq.org/.
In addition to the pedagogy of Dr. Maria Montessori, I find myself profoundly inspired by the work of Psychologist Loris Malaguzzi, Founder of the Reggio-Emilia approach to early childhood education. Other notable educationalists and thinkers who have helped me along my journey toward becoming more well-versed in issues surrounding critical theory + critical pedagogy + educational equity are: bell hooks, Paulo Freire, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Geneva Gay, Donaldo Macedo, Sonia Nieto--among many others!
In case you’re still interested, here are 10 fun facts you probably don't know about me…
I’m based in NYC these days, but I was born and raised in the great state of Arkansas. (Go Hogs! Just kidding—I couldn’t care less about football…)
I never thought I'd become an educator, especially not in a classroom with young children. In my past life, I had dreams of becoming a writer, a journalist, and a human rights attorney. In the midst of my undergraduate career as an International Studies major, my interest in education as an issue of social justice was born. The rest is history!
I didn’t learn to drive on the freeway until I was about 21 years old and, to this day, driving is one of my least favorite things on the planet. Hello anxiety!
I'm the daughter of two immigrants and the baby of the family.
I love live music and have perhaps spent a little too much of my humble educator earnings attending the shows of some of my favorite musicians over the years (let’s grab coffee and talk music sometime…).
I'm a strong, but painfully slow reader.
Of all the cities I’ve ever been, I think Istanbul might just be the most magical. Johannesburg was unbelievably stylish. Cairo is the city with which I have the most intense love/hate relationship. Next countries on the list: France and Morocco.
I’m trying to tell my stories more about what my experience has been like navigating the world as a neurodivergent person. (Here’s some homework: if you’re not familiar with this term, I encourage you to look it up.) In fact, I created a lesson plan on this very subject. Check it out!
I fancy myself an international foodie.
I met my now-husband on a crappy, free online dating site after almost completely losing hope that I’d ever meet a like-minded partner who I could see myself doing forever with. Aren't we kind of adorable? (See a few photos below!)
To learn more about my story and my work, feel free to:
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What People Are Saying…
"This training was powerful and transformative. Razan invites participants to examine the ways in which we have been socialized and offers a space to reflect on how that profoundly informs the ways we interact with the world around us. She challenges us to think through a critically conscious lens about whose stories we center and to push against the status quo.
The tools I gained from this workshop are invaluable and after attending, I feel more aware of the task ahead and more empowered to navigate my immediate environment from a place of love, hope, optimism, and liberation. I would recommend this workshop to every educator and person committed to creating schools and communities where ALL students and people can thrive."
-Amanda Roberson (Atlanta, GA)