This evening, I had the opportunity to join a live panel conversation about diversity in bootcamps hosted by Course Report. From the moment I learned of the panel, I was excited and am now inspired to share my reflection here.
Teaching for equity and cultural awareness are at the heart of my instructional coaching. Too often, I've seen that teachers' perceptions of students' challenges and capabilities are caused by a lack of understanding. Every time educators have the opportunity to talk about race and culture in a safe place, they grow in their ability to reach more students. I've turned complaints about students at casual Friday afternoon drinks into coaching sessions in diversity because I saw students losing learning due to a teacher's lack of training.
As a result of participating in the diversity panel today, I have a renewed awareness of how important these conversations are for educators. Which actually just leads me to loads of questions to crunch on for a while:
What is the current training for educators in diversity? (For me it was a day or two in a college course and self directed learning beyond).
What sacred time is given to educators to have conversations about equity with others? (When working at the New Teacher Center, I was part of a monthly equity group who met and used the Courageous Conversation guidelines.)
How can we engage more educators in these conversations?
How can we work towards a world where all places of learning, from classrooms of first graders to adults at coding bootcamps, have teachers who understand how to work with students from diverse backgrounds?
Should we encourage students to share their challenges when working with instructors who don't have equity training? Do they even know when this is the case?
What can I do to be a change agent and support more educators to realize the urgency and importance of this issue?
By making the time to talk about diversity and race, I'm inspired even more to not backdown from my mission. Who will join me? It's time to shake things up!
*Due to some great questions from leaders, I'm updating this post to include a few simple resources around equity in education. Equity is not the same as equality. To fight for equity is to say that each person gets what they need based on who they are. Not everyone is or will be the same. Here's what the U.S. Department of Education says about equity, or you can also read the pretty accurate Wikipedia post here.