The impact of hearing a variety of stories of hardship and pain touched the hearts of many students and hit home for a few. Tears were shed as students released some pent up emotions upon hearing others overcome their own emotional turmoil and ridicule.
Fast forward to a Twitter chat I participated in tonight called #SOBTC (Send Our Boys To College). The chat connects to the social movement of Black Lives Matter and how educators can speak to this social justice issue in a meaningful/authentic way.
I made an error tonight when partaking in this chat. I stated that all lives matter. Of course all lives matter, few with a good head on their shoulders would argue different. However, its not the issue of lives that matter, more so the inequality that exists between cultures/race that is in question and in particular, Black lives in the US. This image perhaps states it better than I.
Connecting the chat back to today’s student presentation is simple. My group of students have an opportunity to grow as individuals based on owning their own story, their own history, and writing the hopeful journey of the future that lies before them.
By providing students the space to own their story and understand the story of others means that there is a brighter future for all those who have seen hardships, injustice, and lack of empathy in their lives and that of the ancestors. My students have the opportunity to end movements like Black Lives Matter by simply understanding that equality and equity are number one, not colour, religion, or race.
I have an obligation as an educator and a member of our global society to ensure that my students understand this amazing power that they posses in making our future a better, more equitable place. It is their right to do so, and it is my duty as an educator to create the space, the materials, and the mindset to ensure it happens.
Social justice, and Empathy truly need to be at the front of an educator’s teaching role. Curriculum and standards will not change the state of the world, empathy and social awareness can if we create space for it in our classrooms.
Yours in learning,
The Enthusiastic Learner
Post thoughts from student conversations held throughout the week:
My students have defined social justice and empathy as the following:
Social Justice: Owning your own story for the sake of knowing others
Empathy: Understanding/respecting other stories for the sake of a better world because we all deserve equitable treatment.