Here’s a question: How do you teach a class of all black students in an all-black school that Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation decades ago?
That isn’t a hypothetical question, but one I remember clearly asking myself. I was teaching American History for the first time in one of our nation’s many embarrassingly homogeneous schools. I could not, with a straight face, teach my students that segregation had ended. They’d think that either they or I didn’t know what the word segregation meant.
One of the things I want to do through this series is to expand the discussion of a teacher’s value. We cannot let the worth of teachers be defined narrowly by the test scores of their students. We need to consider all of the different ways teachers have positive impacts on the lives of their students before we choose the criteria with which we judge who is doing a good job as a teacher and who is not.
One of the best ways to do this is to hear from teachers themselves.