It only took a pandemic
My morning routine is getting up at 4:30 or so checking Twitter and other social media getting ready to head to the gym and once there get my music on and then likely chat with my friend Maire about things that drive us crazy on said Twitter. I figure it is a healthy time to do so because I can burn off my rage fire that the things we talk about fuels haha. Since COVID-19 entered our lives we have had less rage-inducing posts to talk about. Fewer platitude posts flood my feed, less "look at me" run and rants and less peddling of "Educational" books that calling them light on pedagogy would be generous. Aside from this morning and a "Just Be Positive and Your Day Will Be Positive" post I have been able to avoid most of the rage because I really have just been more concerned with my kids before COVID I was not worried about them on the day to day because I had them on the day to day. They had a teacher that worried more about them than about anything else. They had a teacher who was equity-minded, that wanted them to see race and address racism. They had a teacher that was actively learning to be an anti-racist educator and was adjusting his teaching practice to help them become anti-racists. I was not worried about them and I think part of my concern was that there were so many teachers out there that were more concerned with Kindness or Cute, they wanted to talk more about Teachers Pay Teachers pages they love and Starfish analogies than they really wanted to address equity because "I choose to focus my energy on things I can do, those small acts that can make a big difference" I totally get that this is pretty snarky right now and I am ok with it. Teachers were a few weeks ago actively, purposefully ignoring inequity and injustice in education because the conversations didn't fit their brand. They wanted to only sit in the sunshine because they only sold pretty hats and fruity drinks.
Then COVID hit home.
Almost overnight there is this new crop of Equity Minded Educators. Asking for who they should follow to learn about the best way to make sure their kids have access to technology or the best sites that make learning more accessible, wanting access to places their students with no books can find them. Did a whole whack of kids that did not have these things move into the neighbourhood? RIght at the same time, a Pandemic moved in?
Here is what I think happened.
An illness that ignores their cute brands, that ignores their cute classrooms, their cute run and rant videos and platitudes moved in. It put them at risk and forced them to step out of their privilege because now the issues of access were not a district away, they were a desk away. The issues of food insecurities were real and out of their control. Technology access became an issue as schools closed. So many issues that people chose to ignore became the only things they could see. I always wondered what it would take for people to stop saying their one kind act could change the world. A world full of injustice that they chose not to acknowledge instead leaning into their safe place.
Sadly it seems it took a Pandemic.
I wish I could believe that they will continue to be a voice for change, to support our students and advocate for them instead of using them as props to push a brand but I think a large important piece is missing.
There are so many teachers of colour who have been using their voices to fight the fight for equity, justice and liberation for so long and for those who only now see this need you can learn from them. I am not here to provide a list because these educators are not here for the glory, they are not running about promoting their books or pushing some nonsense. They are doing the work. You will find them because they shine bright.
I hope we can all come together to help our students but please let's not try to make equity your brand or book now because of a virus. Others have been doing it way longer and better and I am grateful to learn from them.