Ally = Invitation

A big topic at TMC this summer was Social Justice and Equity. We looked at who we are, fairly white, and wrestled with how do WE represent our students. Grace A. Chen and Carl Oliver gave us platforms to express ourselves in honest and fresh ways.

How do we become Allies? The most popular solutions were to "push in" observations about where stereotypes come from to grow awareness and compassion and to be meaningful about our "whys" and our speech if we teach in mostly white schools and "push out" observations about stereotypes and be meaningful in our intentions and speech if we teach in diverse schools. (please let me know if I have this correct TMCers)

As I was sitting with this information and getting ready for school, I was listening to Pod Save the People with @deray interview @Common. It was a very moving conversation about change. Deray asked Common what advice he could give to young artists to use their voices to make change. "Ask folks what they need." Deray echoed, that sometimes well meaning people think they know what folks need, but that is not what they want or need. So now he always asks, "what do you need?" Common said it is "empowering" for people to listened to be part of the solution. Both agreed that asking was the key to becoming an Ally.

With all this in mind, on Monday it was time to ask for Question 2 on my student's name tents. I scrapped, "What question do you have for me?" and changed it to "What do you need from me?"

Ernesto says, " I am friendly, but slow at math, I just need patience."

Donnie says, "I need help if I don't understand something."

Serah says, "I need you to be understanding about my struggle with anxiety and depression."

Christina says, "I need you to be organized."

Lorraina says, "I need to be valid victorian." Wow. There is a challenge!

These are teenagers speaking their truths. And I get to be fortunate enough to let them know through my words and actions that I am their Ally.

 Carlos let me know how important this question is:

Just when I think I am the giver, I get so much more.

How would you spread this message with your school, colleagues, and parents?

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  1. This was a perfect thing for me to read a few days before my first day of school on Thursday. Thank you!
    Math to the 7th Power

  2. My first questions was, "tell me something you want me to know about you."

  3. Thanks for sharing! This is making me think about what prompts I want to use for name tents.

  4. Glad it was helpful. I am also asking, What question do you have for me? and from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, "What is making you happy this week?" and From Dinner Party Download's podcast, "Tell me something I don't know about you or the world at large."


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