As an educator, I think it is extremely important to stand up against exclusion, prejudice, and injustice myself, that way I can teach the students in my classroom how to do the same. “Teachers must be educated to understand their responsibilities regarding the content of their instruction and the results they are to achieve for all the students they teach” (Poplin & Rivera, 2005, p. 31). I think a huge part of doing this is talking about the different issues that are occurring around the world with my students on a daily/weekly basis. Having discussions with them will allow my students to understand that these are things we should talk about, so that we can hopefully work towards a solution. I think a great way to go about doing this is to pull different examples from global and local settings to talk with them about. Once we’ve talked about the situation, the students can then discuss what was wrong and how they would go about fixing it. “Social justice educators use culturally relevant content that examines multiple forms of oppression to increase students’ sociocultural awareness” (Storms, 2013, p. 33).
As a teacher, I will have students from all different types of backgrounds walk into my classroom. It is my job to know what rights they have, and to teach them those rights, so that they are protected and can fight for themselves if need be. “Ensuring young learners are aware of the rights to which they are entitled is also important for enabling them to recognize where those rights are not being met” (Struthers, 2016, p. 136). Some of these students’ parents might not talk about social justice with them, or they themselves may not be educated either, so creating a space where I know the students are gaining information on the topic is extremely important. Teaching my students about social justice is so important because it is something they are going to have to deal with every day, whether they are involved directly with an issue, or are a bystander. They are going to need to understand their rights, the rights of others, and how to properly defend those rights. From the moment they step foot in school these things should be taught to them so they grow up prepared to take on any possible challenges they may face.
Poplin, M., & Rivera, J. (2005). Merging Social Justice and Accountability: Educating Qualified and Effective Teachers. Theory Into Practice, 44(1), 27-37 doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4401_5
Storms, S. B. (2013). Preparing Teachers for Social Justice Advocacy. Multicultural Education, 20(2), 33-39.
Struthers, A. C. (2016). Human Rights: A Topic Too Controversial for Mainstream Education?. Human Rights Law Review, 16(1), 131-162. doi:10.1093/hrlr/ngv040