Hello there again,
Admittedly, I am almost ashamed by how long it has taken me to get back to this blog of mine. I cannot tell you just how many times I’ve thought “Oh, that seems like a meaningful and important topic that I’d like to dissect more and write about.” A whole lot of times, but for whatever reason…I never wrote those things. Never cultivated this blog into what I wanted it to be. I’m trying to be gentle with myself about it, though. Here I am now and, in my defense, a lot has happened.
My life looks radically different these days (in some ways anyhow). Since the last time I shared anything in this space, I got engaged, moved, turned 30, left teaching, got married, and started gaining a clearer idea of what I want my life’s work to look like. Whew. I’m learning how to navigate life wearing new and unfamiliar identities: 30-something, wife (oh yes, and that new, hyphenated name), Charlottean (sigh), person who tries to be braver in certain areas of her life despite seemingly insurmountable anxiety and fear, etc. I am still in the midst of trying to decide what freedom looks like in the context of my own life, both personally and professionally.
One thing that I learned more intimately as I spent more time in more schools and studied the patterns of educational inequality in the US is that the state of education in our country is dire. It is worsening. It cannot be ignored any longer. Ultimately, I hope to be able to delve down deeply into the trenches and at least try to answer some important and difficult questions that I have. Questions such as: “How can we ensure that our schools are equitable?” and “What can I do to unlearn the problematic ideas that I inevitably (if not subconsciously) absorbed from all these messages (to which none of us are totally immune) to which I’ve been exposed in our deeply unjust society?”
Of course, I am not naïve or delusional enough to suggest that I will magically find the answers to any of these issues. There are people doing this work who have far more experience in the classroom, far more academic knowledge in the subjects of Critical Pedagogy and Critical Race Theory than I. May I learn from them. This is my acknowledgement that I myself have so much to learn and unlearn and so much healing to do. This is my public declaration of my commitment to learn, unlearn, and heal.
Had you told me 10 years ago that I’d one day be pursuing a graduate degree in the field of Education and subsequently working in schools as a teacher of young children, I would have laughed at you. I had dreams of someday becoming a writer, an international activist, and a million and one other things that certainly did not include the classroom (not a classroom with young children in it, anyway). My journey toward education was convoluted, but intentional. I waltzed into the field as an idealist, eyes full of stars. I thought deciding to study this progressive, constructivist method of education meant I was embarking on a journey to become an agent of change, that I was engaging in a radical, political act. Education and Liberation are inextricably linked, after all.
It didn’t take too much time in actual schools to squander that idealism and for me to realize that working as an educator means participating in a system that is profoundly broken. I learned that sometimes we are asked to work with children in ways that make us feel uncomfortable/feel far from revolutionary. Oh, the haunting reality of the things I witnessed in school environments! For now, you’ll have to forgive me for my ambiguity. I will be sharing more about my experiences (both joyous and painful) in upcoming posts.
So, in the meantime, let me share an intention for this space:
May this be a safe space for us to connect and share information that helps me (and, hopefully, others) think critically about the ways in which we are supporting, educating, and advocating for the most vulnerable citizens of our communities.
Thank you for reading. Be sure to stay tuned for more frequent posts!