I know. It's been a couple of weeks since the last Weekend Voice. Well, I'm back today with this week's thoughts. If you didn't know, I have two kids. My daughter (12) and son (9) are total opposites. I mean, like night and day, salt and pepper, you get the point. My son is more like his dad, quiet, introverted, and prefers to be by himself. My daughter, on the other hand, is more vocal, outgoing, and extroverted.
When I pick up the kids from school, Baby Girl typically does most of the talking and shares with us about her day. This week they were learning about various global religions. The teacher shared with the students an issue that occurred when a woman saw a man wearing a turban taking pictures. The woman was concerned and went and told the police. When the police arrived and approached the man wearing the turban, he told them he was an undercover police officer.
What didn't sit right with my daughter was that the conversation around this situation was that the woman was "scared" and notified the police for her safety. However, my daughter felt that there was a deeper issue at bay. She didn't want to share her thoughts in front of the class as she perceived this was a scenario rooted in implicit bias and racism. A student in the class yelled, "that's racist," while listening to the story. But his comment was ignored, so naturally, my daughter didn't think it was the best time to share her thoughts that she agreed with the other student.
As always, my little girl said, "Daddy, what should I do? I want to talk to my teacher about this." She and I went over a game plan to approach her teacher the next day in school. We discussed the impact of the woman attempting to weaponize the police and how this was a classic "Karen" moment. We also considered that the woman would not have been "scared" if it was another white woman taking pictures instead of the man wearing the turban. Finally, we discussed the importance of the teacher acknowledging that this was more than a situation of a woman fearing for her life. Instead, this was a woman who allowed her stereotypical beliefs to make a poor decision of calling the police.
The Advocacy Room: An Affinity Space for Student Voices discusses scenarios like these and more. Student work is something that I'm passionate about, especially since I see these types of issues as a parent.
When I picked the kids up from school yesterday, my daughter told me she talked to the teacher and shared her concerns in a one-on-one conversation. The teacher listened and even asked for suggestions on addressing this in class. My daughter gave her thoughts, and the teacher revisited the discussion about the man in the turban during class.
I asked my baby girl how she felt. "I feel better, daddy," she said. "I'm glad I talked to her."
My message this week is simple: as parents, our children share their daily school experiences with us. Sometimes they want to vent; other times, they are seeking advice. In these situations, equipping our kids with the skills to address adults is not a matter of giving them a voice. Instead, it's a matter of self-empowerment and confidence at an early age. Furthermore, our kids are learning how to stick up for themselves.
As teachers, there will be times when our students will want to express their disagreements with a lesson or action we have taken. Have you created a space where students are comfortable telling you that they disagree with you?
On another note, there was no Art of Advocacy live stream last night. We will be back next week! BTW, will you help me get to 500 subscribers on YouTube? You can subscribe here. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Wishing you all a great weekend,
New episode this week:
P.S. Did you get the Leading Equity Book? If not, you can get a signed copy here. If you have the book and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. Even dogs believe the book deserves a round of a-paws :)
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.