The Diversity, Equity, and Culturally Responsive Teaching course at The Educator Academy Seminar welcomed special guests this past Tuesday. Leslie McTighe, The Educator Academy Director of Curriculum and Program, invited Cohort One Resident Graduates to share their perspectives and experiences regarding dimensions of equity and to take questions from Residents. Participants on the panel and pictured above were (from left) Gaston Woodland, Vincent Gunnels, and Kimberly White.
One of the emphases that Graduates placed on becoming a teacher is the need to have a Growth Mindset. Panel speaker Gaston Woodland of Crossroads Academy Central Street noted, “You’re learning new things; you’re getting better. I’m constantly trying to push myself.” A constant effort to improve one’s teaching was agreed upon by all panelists.
Panel speaker, Kimberly White of University Academy, emphasized the need for education about racial and ethnic diversity in the classroom, saying that she was “pushing her kids to be global citizens,” and adding that she constantly asked herself if her curriculum was “deepening their understanding of their community,” and “deepening their understanding of the world.”
Graduates also talked about the need to persevere and be persistent despite setbacks in the classroom. “Nothing that you love and want to be great at is going to be easy…you’ve got to keep focusing and keep remembering what is your number one goal,” announced Vincent Gunnels, teacher at Central Middle School in the Kansas City Public School District.
All three of the panelists focused on the fact that they were trying to dismantle systems of oppression against their Black and Brown students through their teaching and curriculum. White said, “As a strong black woman, I am unapologetically different. The way I engage in conversation with my students and roll out my curriculum is different.”
At the root of the work of our Graduates was overall a message of Care & Love for all students. In the words of panelist Gaston Woodland, “You’ve got to put some love on your kids…just love them,” Woodland said, “You’ve got to treat them like they’re your own kids. You might even have to tell them that. I love you.”