Accessing Resilience Through Relationships
To say that being an educator in today's sociopolitical context is challenging is the understatement of the year. Educators are dealing with unprecedented demands at this time including the varying needs of the student body recovering from the traumatic experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, being targeted by culture warriors for teaching students about racial justice or being inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community, and the urgent need for everyone to tend to their physical, emotional, and mental health needs.
Tending to Fallen Trees
In the year before the COVID-19 pandemic, two of my grandparents died, both of whom were pillars in different branches of my family. On the fourth yahrzeit of my grandfather’s death a couple of months ago, my stepmom shared Maya Angelou’s poem, When Great Trees Fall, in his memory. I had never heard of the poem before but have returned to it many times in the weeks since as I reflect on the losses, silences, and birth in myself, in our educational systems, and in our society over the past few years.
TransformEd’s First 10 Years: A Retrospective
In my 10th and final year leading TransformEd, I find myself reflecting a lot on the journey we’ve been on. When I first jumped into the work nearly a decade ago, I couldn’t quite imagine what lay ahead. In retrospect, this journey has offered more than I could have hoped for: countless opportunities to work with brilliant, passionate colleagues in the service of a shared vision, and an incredible amount of learning along the way. Much of my learning, and the organization’s evolution over time, has been tied to key inflection points that TransformEd has navigated over the years. I’ve attempted to capture a few of those inflection points here as a way to share some of our history with fellow travelers who have joined us more recently and to express gratitude to those who have been with us throughout the last decade.
Give Yourself Permission to Feel
I still remember my first day of work as a fourth grade teacher. My classroom had a green chalkboard, an overhead projector, one large wooden teacher desk and rows of student seats. I entered ready to present my lesson and engage with students. But within the first few minutes I recognized I was prepared to give a lesson but outside of that really had no idea what I was doing. It would be an understatement to say I struggled my first day as a new teacher.
Two Candles for Cultivating Genius
This is not a book review. It is a celebration. Officially released in December 2019, Cultivating Genius caught fire in the pandemic era, becoming a widely popular resource for ensuring equitable classroom learning experiences. Two years later, this masterwork by Dr. Gholdy Muhammad via Scholastic Publishing deserves its spotlight – better yet, birthday candles – for a few key reasons.
How Teacher Self-Regulation Can Contribute to More Equitable Classrooms
Teaching is more stressful and challenging than ever. It is arguably one of the most stressful jobs in the country. With the ever-increasing workload, accountability policies, restrictions on how teachers are allowed to educate students, not to mention the overwhelm of navigating school during a pandemic, it's no wonder that currently, teacher stress is reported to be just as high as doctors and nurses. High-stress levels can lead to many negative consequences for health and well-being. Quality of life and teaching performance suffer as chronic stress leads to teacher burnout, job dissatisfaction, poor performance, and high turnover rates. At the end of the 2020–2021 school year, nearly 25% of teachers reported that they were likely to quit their jobs, increasing by almost 10% of teachers who said they were likely to leave before the pandemic. African American teachers were especially likely to quit teaching.