Before TMC I invited people to have conversations about diversity before, during, and after the conference. While at TMC I attended the morning session with Marian Dingle and Wendy Menard titled Taking the Knee. It was powerful and important. I valued the designated time and space for conversations as well as activities that pushed my thinking about equity. I want to have more of these discussions throughout the year but I’m not sure how to. Even within the normed space we had built over 6 hours of in person discussion, it was challenging to be brave enough to push back against each other’s ideas and language. How do we build a supportive space for teachers to examine their own identity and how identity, equity and social justice impact education?
To have these conversations all year, here are some things I think I’d need:
- A safe, private space
- Norms that are clearly, regularly stated
- A moderator who enforces norms
- A small community where I get to know people
- A leader (the moderator?) who provides topics for discussion (articles or questions)
I have been reading articles, engaging in twitter conversations and writing blog posts about these topics. I plan to continue doing those things, and I think that my private and public work would both benefit from this in between space.
I think we could do this on myNCTM or on slack. It needs to be a private space where we can control who can join and I really appreciate threaded messages for asynchronous conversation.
Who is this “we?” That’s where I’m hoping you come in. I don’t have the time to run this conversation, but I do have time to help get it started and to engage. I want to be careful that we do not ask a person of color to do all the work of educating white people who are interested in learning more. A side bonus of having this conversation in a private space rather than on twitter is that people of color won’t accidentally come across conversations where we are trying to figure out how to avoid microagressions, for example, which I imagine would be an unwelcome reminder of past experiences.
I could imagine starting with a group of anyone interested in any conversations about identity, diversity and equity. Then if we got enough people we could split which will allow us to keep small groups and potentially separate into affinity groups. I’ve heard that MfA has started affinity groups and I’d love to hear more about how that is working!