As individuals entering the field of education to hopefully become professional educators, we have an important responsibility to our students, the culture of the school district and the community to create an atmosphere of acceptance and connectedness. In a recent article that I had read, I was actually shocked to find that in the past discrimination and stereotypes were like a lens through which some educators and other professionals approached the task of educating in order to maintain the system of white privilege. Because of this system that is still in place, many “students of color…may have fewer advocates to protect them” (Connor). This article talks mostly about special education services that created segregation because of biases. We must act as advocates in every opportunity.
Teachers would be in a perfect position to dispel prejudice and injustice in their students’ minds. In order to do this we must “be working against the grain and be willing to see themselves as agents of change” (Kohl). This may seem like a daunting task, but it is really simple. Teach policies of no tolerance for social injustice. Cultivate an atmosphere of acceptance. Teach by example and seize every opportunity to take a situation or circumstance that could potentially form harmful ideologies in students’ minds and show how it can be much better.
Kohl, H. (2002). Developing Teachers for Social Justice. The Radical Teacher, 65, 5-10.
Connor, D. J., & Ferri, B. A. (2005). Integration and Inclusion: A Troubling Nexus : Race, Disability, and Special Education. The Journal of African American History, 90, 107-127.