- Do you have any new insights after the class experience concerning social justice?
I believe that I have developed a plethora of new insights about social justice due to my experiences in this class. Prior to this class, I, regrettably, only had an understanding of social justice in terms of the much derided “social justice warrior.” While this may be how social justice is discussed on the internet, it bears little resemblance to how I currently view social justice. Instead, I view social justice as a means to create a fair, equitable, and empathetic society for all. This means a supporter for social justice is a force for good in the world who advocates for dignity in all aspects of life. Additionally, I feel that this class has made me more conscious of the words that I use and how they may affect and be interpreted by others. I am much more aware of my blind spots and make a point to tailor my language towards inclusivity. In my case, this is as simple as finding a different way to address the class that is more inclusive than “guys.” While simple, this may make a difference in a student’s life and make them feel more comfortable and at ease- a feeling that all students deserve.
- Do you have any new concerns about social justice?
My major concern about social justice is its maligned reputation. People tend to have a view of social justice that does a complete disservice to its meaning and purpose in society. As a result, they tend to react negatively to any mention of the phrase. Therefore, I think we, as educators and members of society, need to reclaim the phrase and the conversation around it. Social justice is not something to be jeered at, but a goal that I believe to be attainable. This is why it needs become an important part of the classroom and instruction.
- What is your philosophy of integrating social justice in the classroom?
My philosophy is that social justice can and should be integrated into the classroom seamlessly. I do not believe that social justice must be discussed explicitly. However, I do believe it should be a guiding principle for instruction. In regard to ELA classes, I think this can be achieved rather easily. Teachers can introduce social justice issues into discussions about texts and articles. I find this to be effective strategy because it allows students to discuss these issues and interpret them on their own without any outside influence. This is important because it is not our job as educators to instill our beliefs into our students, but to guide them and give students the necessary tools to come to their own conclusions. Therefore, social justice should be a lens through which students learn and develop.