In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of equity work in education. However, I would argue that since the murder of George Floyd, there has been pushback from folks who lack the understanding of what equity truly is. Equity work involves creating a learning environment that recognizes and addresses systemic barriers that may prevent certain students from succeeding, such as racism, poverty, or discrimination based on gender, sexuality, or ability.
While this work can be challenging, it is also enriching for educators and students. This post will explore five ways to find joy in equity work in education: celebrating small wins, connecting with others, embracing learning, creating meaningful connections with students, and remembering your "why." By incorporating these strategies into your daily practice, you can create a more inclusive and equitable classroom and help all students reach their full potential.
Celebrate Small Wins: Equity work in education can be challenging, and progress can sometimes seem slow. However, it's important to celebrate small wins along the way, such as a successful lesson or project that promotes inclusivity and cultural understanding. Recognizing these small victories can help keep you motivated and optimistic.
Connect with Others: Seek out communities of educators who are also committed to equity work in education. This can include attending conferences or workshops, joining online groups or forums, or collaborating with other teachers in your school or district. Being part of a supportive community can help you feel energized and inspired to continue the work.
Embrace Owning Your Learning: Equity work in education requires a willingness to learn and grow continuously. Embrace this process by seeking out resources, reading books, attending webinars or trainings, and engaging in conversations with colleagues. The more you learn, the more equipped you'll be to create a truly inclusive learning environment.
Create Meaningful Connections with Students: One of the essential aspects of equity work in education is building meaningful connections with students. Getting to know your students personally, understanding their backgrounds and experiences, and creating a safe and inclusive learning environment bring significant positivity to your students.
Remember Your "Why": Finally, it's important to remember why you became an educator in the first place. For many teachers, the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of their students is a driving force. Keeping this "why" at the forefront of your mind can help you stay focused and motivated, even when the work feels challenging.
Equity work may be challenging and sometimes overwhelming, but it's also imperative and essential. By celebrating small wins, connecting with others, embracing learning, creating meaningful connections with students, and remembering your "why," you can find joy in this work and impact your students' lives. With dedication, persistence, and a commitment to inclusivity, you can create a classroom that supports and uplifts all students, regardless of their background or experiences.
Every Friday you can expect a small and informative message from the Leading Equity Center. The Weekend Voice is meant to challenge your thoughts of education today and to provoke you to take action in your schools.