Black Teacher Voices: Advice for Taking Action Against Racism and Promoting Equity with Your Students
Many Black Teacher-Authors within the TPT community have been leading important conversations about race, identity, and social justice. They’ve shared their experiences, asked important questions, and inspired action. And here, we’ve compiled some of their advice for taking action against racism and ensuring every student has an equitable education.
7 Black Teachers’ Advice on Acting Against Racism and Ensuring Classroom Equity
“It’s one thing to recognize racism. It’s another to take action. And as a Black woman, that’s what I’m hoping for. Seeing action from non-Black people.” — Vera from The Tutu Teacher
Vera from The Tutu Teacher has been an educator for fourteen years and currently teaches kindergarten in Brooklyn. She’s also an educational presenter and consultant who shares her expertise on weaving diverse texts and conversations about inclusion into classroom instruction. On Instagram, you can find her sharing many of these texts with her followers.
More from Vera:
“When you see RACISM speak up and speak out – this is the only way that it will end. We cannot pretend that we don’t see it when it is happening every single day of the week. As SLPs working with Black and Brown students, I know that you have witnessed it. Advocate for your students and this in turn will help teach them to advocate for themselves.” — Belinda from BVG SLP
Belinda has been a speech language pathologist for over 13 years. She has worked with adults as well as elementary and middle school students, and she currently provides speech services to children as a teletherapist. She has a Masters in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from the University of Central Florida and is certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). Within the ASHA, Belinda has been a member of their Special Interest Group 18 for Telepractice, has served on their Telepractice Convention Committee, and presented at their 2019 convention. In addition to speech language pathology, Belinda is also passionate about literacy and is a children’s book author.
More from Belinda:
On her blog, Belinda shares more of her perspective in the post Teletherapy Tip Tuesday: Black Lives Matter – What Can I do to Help?. And, you can visit her TPT store at BVG SLP.
“Eradicating racism won’t happen overnight because it’s engrained into the many systems and institutions that make up America. It will require ongoing reflection, a genuine willingness to listen and a commitment to learn. But most of all it requires action! Now is the time to do the work. These systems took centuries to build, but we can break them down together, piece by piece in order to build a better world.” — Greg from Mr Elementary Math
Greg is an energetic presenter who creates online math resources and courses for K-5 teachers. He is an award-winning teacher with over 14 years of experience and has also served as a math coach. He has an EdS Degree in Leadership and an endorsement in Elementary Mathematics. Greg enjoys sharing ways to make math clear and fun. His ultimate goal is to help teachers and students learn to love math.
More from Greg:
“I encourage you to find ways to listen to your brown brothers and sisters, your black and tan educators, and your melanin-rich neighbors. Let their words sink into your heart and eventually spill out of your mouth. When this becomes second nature, when you no longer have to try, when highlighting the Black experience almost feels effortless, your secondary classroom will be better for it. Your relationships will be better. You will be better.” — Esther Brunat
Esther has been teaching high school math for seven years. She currently teaches in Florida and previously taught in Panama. As the daughter of Haitian immigrants, education was always emphasized in her household, and her family and identity are part of what inspired her to become a teacher.
More from Esther:
“As a Black instructional coach who coaches white teachers to teach mostly black and brown students, I have been able to observe many white teachers come from a place of saving black and brown students vs empowering black and brown students. Use this time to educate yourself about anti-racism, bias, and take a deep reflection into your practices in the classroom. To other instructional-leaders, it is imperative that we focus on being vocal and holding each other accountable because the work is too critical to ignore. It’s time to take action!” — Nicole from Simply Coaching and Teaching
Nicole has spent the last 15 years in education working as an elementary teacher, a high school special education teacher, a K-12 administrator, and as an instructional coach — her current and favorite role. Within this work, she’s served as a lead teacher, a differentiated accountability coach, an assistant principal, a dean of students, and a school improvement and turnaround specialist. She is also the author of Simply Instructional Coaching and a sponsor of the Simply Coaching Summit, the first virtual conference for instructional coaches and instructional leaders. She’s also a proud mom of three.
More from Nicole:
“Make no mistake, the effort to provide equitable resources is not rooted in trying to make everyone ‘happy.’ Instead, it’s rooted in an honest effort to ensure all students can achieve success with the materials regardless of their identity. This means that the resources I create should uplift and amplify student experiences, without furthering inequity or mistruths. I found that I must consider who I am highlighting in my product, how students will engage with the resource, and if the resource can be modified for learners with special needs.” — Tanesha B Forman
Tanesha has been an educator for 14 years and currently teaches middle school ELA. She has previously worked as a special education teacher for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, as a 5th grade general education teacher, and as a director of a teacher preparation program. Tanesha’s experience and background move her to deeply consider inequities in education and how she can expand opportunities for her students.
More from Tanesha:
In this episode of the New York Times podcast Together Apart, Tanesha shares how she’s thinking about celebrating Juneteenth during distance learning. Also, read her perspective on creating equitable resources, and visit her TPT store, Tanesha B Forman.
“One pervasive and toxic myth about diversity is that it is a one-time ‘event’ or singular unit that is ‘covered’ at some point during the school year. My biggest piece of advice is to dismantle this myth! Diversity isn’t a ‘unit’ that you teach.” — Tanya G Marshall The Butterfly Teacher
Tanya is a Teacher-Author who brings over 10 years of experience to her work. She currently teaches English language learners online and previously taught in a physical classroom, mostly in 4th grade. Her Christian faith inspires and shapes her teaching, compelling her to put relationships and acceptance at the heart of her work.
More from Tanya:
Promoting equity is not only important in the classroom, but across the school. Learn more about taking action against racism and the ways school administrators can support Black educators from Patrice R. Jenkins of Tales of Patty Pepper.