The history of America was built by many cultures and ethnic groups. American history encompasses a myriad of cultures, and during the month of February we get the opportunity to celebrate and put a spotlight on Black history and how a race of marginalized people continue to strive against the odds and work toward equality.
January 2021 marks the fifth anniversary of the annual For-Teachers-by-Teachers Conference presented by our district, the Houston Independent School District. This conference allows the teachers who make up our secondary social studies teacher leader corps program the space and time to authentically exhibit their new learning content, instructional strategies, district instructional resources, and the skills needed to successfully create and execute professional development.
American democracy began as an experiment. Historically, nations around the world were empires founded on a hierarchy of monarchs or dictatorship. The founding fathers implemented the US Constitution to ensure that the new nation would be different and represent the interests of all individuals rather than aristocrats—hence the creation of our democratic two-party system of government and the electoral college voting system that elects the presiding members of the executive branch.
As the end of the first semester during COVID-19 approaches, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how the experience has gone and what I can do going forward to make the school year a better experience for the students and myself.
Burnout is a word being used quite a bit these days. It’s no wonder, with the colossal shifts in education that we all had to undertake without much notice eight months ago. Between learning the alphabet soup of available digital products and platforms, managing new models of instruction, and WFH (that’s “working from home” for those of you born before 1995), it is enough to make our heads spin. Feelings of frustration, anxiety, and being overwhelmed are understandable during this time of transition.
For the majority of children in the United States, formal and required schooling begins in kindergarten, at approximately age five or six. Yet research tells us that the years prior to children entering school are a cornerstone phase of development for all human beings.
Social studies teachers hold the key to our future.
In early 2019, I walked into an exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles that exponentially expanded my love and respect for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I had long admired her soft but fierce demeanor on the Supreme Court bench and was excited to learn more about the life of this extraordinary woman and pop culture icon. I left that museum more awestruck than I could have ever imagined.
Funding for public education can be a tricky topic to comprehend fully. As the process is complex, federal funding can bring up a myriad of questions, and new educators may not know how to make sense of it all.
FEAR. That was the only emotion I felt when I first saw yet another viral video of an African American citizen being senselessly murdered in broad daylight. Fear that when people see me, they don't see someone's son, someone's brother, someone's teammate... they see a threat. I am stripped of my identity and instead reduced down to the color of my skin.