Teacher and pupil relationship stories podcast

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teacher and pupil relationship stories podcast

Listen to her story of the challenges and successes she's seen! The Podcast Making Change -- Student Anna Addison about Lucy's teaching. . one thing I really strive for as an educator is to build trusting relationships with my students. Oct 13, Brain podcast explores the connections between students and teachers. Hidden Brain stories every week on your local public radio station. Sep 15, Listen to stories from teachers and innovators for teaching tips and great resource for student-teacher relationship building in the classroom!.

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The Teaching Matters podcast focuses on the changing needs of students, and how teachers can keep up with these needs. Spending time in classroom laughing together, there's nothing better than that. I had this student who if, you look at his file, all of the boxes are checked in terms of having every sort of disadvantage, and the student was so quiet.

And one day to start off class we were playing this improv game, and he just worked out all of these like spot on impressions of like Australians, of different kind of geographic regions around the world. And this student would never have been someone who even his peers thought would be able to do this. So yeah it's really important to have this lightness as you really try to deal with heavy heavy subjects, that those are kind of a Yin and Yang.

Part of this part of this project. You know in the way that artists do exactly the things you're talking about. They find a community of artists where they can come together and do constructive critique of one another's work. They can be pushed and challenged, and think about that dynamic message they're trying to share, and whether or not they're actually conveying that. And it's interesting because I tell people that I am a teacher, and they will literally say things like "oh didn't you get a really good award as an undergrad?

I think that it's incredibly creative and stimulating. And of course you have to get rid of this, what is unfortunately a pervasive perception that teaching is easy. And, one thing that's been so important in this profession is that it takes years to even learn how to be a self-reflective educator. I went to the field knowing that I knew very little despite the fact that I had two years of graduate school experience, that I had lengthy experience tutoring with, you know young people being a summer camp counselor.

So I knew I was going in without everything figured out. What I didn't understand, I assumed at that point that I knew how to reflect. And I'm realizing now that I'm still figuring out what the praxis piece means. I think that's what you're talking about which is that you can have an understanding of the theory.

You can live every day in the practice. But just being able to move between the two, and having the process in place to do that is such a challenge. And I think as especially activist educators that's where the role of community comes in.

That's where addressing these things collectively comes in. And I think that as teachers we have to create those spaces ourselves, because our graduate programs, you know they just kind of wipe their hands of us and say "good luck!

They're just like literally the evaluations we get are kind of just to punish us, and like superficially identify our strengths and weaknesses. Like my whole life I mean this is not just a profession right, it's just an extension of this disposition this commitment to changing the world.

But it's also how I get my sustenance.

teacher and pupil relationship stories podcast

So just because that's the case does not justify the treatment that teachers get publicly and how that then is measured monetarily. Do you imagine yourself staying in public education for your career? Does this really feel like the right place for your work? Well, how can I change things structurally? How can this be more of a scale change rather than just impacts the individuals that come through my classroom? And I think that we need to reject that thinking to an extent.

I think that so often actually when we move up in these hierarchies that are sitting over these social services, the further you move from where the people are, from where the actual thing the goal of the service is happening, that it can be really hard to stay in touch with what's going on. But beyond that I think that really schools should be controlled by teachers.

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That education policy should be controlled by teachers. So I'm interested in inserting myself in that fight. I think that at this point in time are there like minded teachers who are committed to staying in the profession and trying to change education structurally from that point? I think that's where I look to people like Jesse Hagopian who is a teacher in Seattle who has done amazing things from inside of his own classroom, really embodied this idea of a teacher activist. But I think that this is another place where I have to always kind of call out my ego.

One of my educator role models is someone named Myles Horton who started the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee and led multiple generations of labor organizers, of civil rights organizers like Rosa Parks and MLK. And he talks a lot about that. He identified himself as someone who would be a good charismatic leader. And sometimes I feel that in me, and I think that it's really important, especially coming from so much privilege, to notice that and to really try to pay attention that we've been so socialized to approach social change from an individualistic perspective.

And so I really want to actively practice trying to be a part of a collective movement, and I think one step of doing that is staying in the classroom and trying to change it from below. Really from the grassroots. What have been the biggest challenges in holding that reality in your daily work? I think though too often that framework is used to assert that people who hold privilege in a concrete psychological way actually benefit from it.

So if you actually use the logic of privilege, for example, someone who comes from a middle class or upper middle class background the privileged framework would lead us to believe that if everyone was only middle class then the problem of social class will disappear. I think that it's really important though to understand that divisions of race, divisions of class, divisions of gender.

Yes they benefit individuals in real material ways.

teacher and pupil relationship stories podcast

But ultimately this really comes down to this divide and conquer logic. So I think it's so important to be conscious of your racial identity when you go into a classroom where there is a mismatch between your racial identity and those of your students. It should not be seen as this insurmountable obstacle.

teacher and pupil relationship stories podcast

I think that there is really real solidarity that occurs between students and teachers. In my economics class and specific, we had a whole unit about race and economics.

Of course, we start with thinking about how slavery is the economic system that builds the United States, and we talk about how essentially class racial formations have preserved over time. And we look at what is kind of a document that's used to begin initial conversations about privilege. It's document by Peggy Macintosh that's called "Unpacking the White Knapsack of Privilege" something along those lines, and it's written by a White woman, and she lists about 50 ways that she experiences White privilege in her life.

And this elicits very strong reactions from students. Sometimes it would be students of color talking about how they've been marginalized by White people receiving these privileges.

Sometimes it's kind of these confessionals where White people are seeing and naming these privileges for the first time. And often there is some debate about how real these things are that emerges in the classroom. And usually it continues outside of my classroom walls.

And so I'll have other teachers come talk to me. Often students in other classes will come and say "oh I heard about that big debate third period. That sounds like it was intense. Would a teacher of color be able to get away with the depth of these conversations, or would they be perceived as having some sort of intrinsic interest in getting students to commit to an anti-racist position? Do you ever do you ever have those doubts about whether or not you're the right person to be to be facilitating those conversations?

teacher and pupil relationship stories podcast

But I think that it's really important when we have these conversations that we don't a essentialize race. We know that race is biologically false, but it is socially real. So one thing I do is I build relationships with other teachers of color on my campus, and we will share stories about what it means to not only have discussions about race in our classrooms but how different methods of working with students are in fact racialized.

And so I think that this is where the collaboration piece comes in handy. You know I wish I could describe myself as an anti-racist educator. I am committed to anti-racism, but I think that it's a little naive to identify oneself as an anti-racist because I have been so socialized my entire existence to take on this oppressive identity, and so undoing that requires a level of of self-reflection and patience and practice that's hard to achieve.

I'm going to respond to this with a story. A class where we were talking about gentrification, and this issue of gentrification is one that's very relevant to students on our campus because our school is actually in a gentrifying neighborhood. And we were talking about how one neighborhood in particular is changing quite quickly.

And we were looking at the tools that economists give us to analyze supply and demand. And there you go. It's a law of economics. So many students found that in itself unsatisfactory students investigated the history of the East Side.

And one thing that we uncovered was this infamous transcript, and the transcript contained the police response to a fire that occurred at a nightclub in this neighborhood, which of course at that time was called Black Land, the black part of town.

Not only were the police officers very slow to respond as you can see from the transcript, but they were saying very dehumanizing things.

And so once we located this transcript I was the one who read it to the entire class, and a Black male student said "Can we stop?

In The Classroom, Common Ground Can Transform GPAs

And so we we did stop, and the students continued to have small group conversations, and I walked in the hallway with the student, and we kind of debriefed. And he said that he's just really tired of talking about negative things in his classrooms, especially negative things that relate to race.

And so I was trying to just validate that and talk through that with him. And he said "I feel like, you know, what I learn in school, especially in classes like yours, is that there's so many barriers, and so many obstacles that seem quite impermeable, and that he would rather just have this blind hope. And he kind of used that language. And of course, it wasn't my intervention that facilitated that self-reflection in the student.

He had students in his classroom, many of who are first generation, students who are also Black males who understand that actually when you see the world as it is, when you see the barriers and obstacles as they are, then you can navigate it more effectively. Then when you stumble you don't blame yourself, you can externalize the problems you encounter.

I think that actually many students of color, many first generation students, still believe wholeheartedly in the American dream. And I'm not taking that away from them.

No one's trying to take that away from them. We're just trying to build a more robust understanding of what that can look like. And one way that that came up this year was towards the end of the school year, students had asked the administration if they could wear traditional Mexican-Americans serape stoles over their graduation gowns. And the administration came out against them saying no. And so at that point, students came to me, and one thing that I really had to resist is my assumption that I actually know how to respond to these things because having been a seasoned organizer I'm like, well you contact the press.

Well you hold a rally. And it's completely the wrong impulse just to start feeding students ideas. So one thing I'm really reflecting on and working on as an educator is how do you facilitate these types of conversations with students. It's different from being in a classroom because all these students have already committed themselves to changing the world, have committed themselves to social and economic justice.

It was difficult for many reasons, one of which was that I didn't know what what to say. I guess really hoped that I would come up with some sort of useful lesson, some like convenient piece of hope to give to students, and I wasn't able to do that necessarily or at least intuitively. It was also difficult because for many students this meant changes in their material life in very real ways.

You know, I teach many undocumented students. I teach many students who live in communities with a militarized police presence. And so I struggled to know how to be, to just be in that day.

teacher and pupil relationship stories podcast

I think what helped was that I could kind of fall back onto some of my foundational beliefs about my practice, which is that you know students should have control over the space. A,nd so that was a day where I wrote four questions on the board and I'll try to think of them I think they were. How did this happen? And they could think about that like analytically think about history or or not. How do you feel? What are you going to do next?

And, how can we support one another? That was a difficult day because I didn't have that perfect response, and I could feel that students were looking for it.

We are kind of position as people with answers, and on days like this where the stakes are so high, we have the same questions as everybody else does.

We want to be the hero for people in moments when they're hurting, or in moments when they're confused, and we want to be able to offer the answer. But that, not just pedagogically speaking do we not want to be somebody giving straight answers to complex dynamic questions, but we also recognize that we're not always the right person to have an answer regardless, even if we want to have it.

And other people want us to have it. And another challenging thing about the day following Trump's election was that I woke up to an e-mail from our administration that suggested that we should not be talking about the election.

It was a reminder that teaching with apolitical, and that we needed to essentially do our jobs, go on and do our jobs. That though was in such juxtaposition to the place that students were in that day. Many of them were in a state of trauma and shock.