All posts tagged: Education

TueNight 10: Jamia Wilson

Jamia Wilson is quite fond of the Florynce Kennedy quote, “Don’t agonize! Organize!” — a sentiment which prompted her to co-create the kick-ass guide, Road Map for Revolutionaries: Advocacy for All, just out today (Happy Pub Day!). “In the post-Trump frenzy, I turned to books written by strong women disruptors as a roadmap for what to do, says Jamia who co-authored the book with Elisa Camahort Page and Carolyn Gerin. “I was compelled to collaborate on a direct, snappy guidebook that showcases tools you need to ignite the change you want to see in the world.” Jamia is also the director of Feminist Press, the author of Young, Gifted, and Black, and she wrote the oral history in Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World.  Carolina-born and Saudi Arabia raised, she currently lives in New York City, where she’s an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “I love teaching undergraduate classes about gender studies and revolutions,” she says. “We can learn so much from the past to help inform a better future.” 1. On the nightstand: Training School …

tuenight first job black at school kelly wickham

Being Black at School: A Teacher Creates a Better Classroom

I was born in Chicago, raised on the south side and Hyde Park, and finished high school in the south suburbs. My upbringing was so diverse that there didn’t appear to be a dominant culture. It wasn’t until we went to the suburbs that I asked my white mother, “Where did all these white people come from?” My dad is Black, and all our friends were a blend of countless cultures. In that very white environment, I found myself searching for any kind of color and I also began to hear, for the first time, about how proud the people were for being colorblind. It’s funny that I’ve only ever heard this expression from white people who use it as a way to let others know how great they are for not considering color. It’s even funnier that they never notice the absence of color when they’re surrounded by homogenous populations. After graduation, I continued south to college and then again to start my career as a high school teacher. My first professional job came …

The Most Important Part of My Job

As a Guidance Dean at a middle school in Illinois, my office life is very different from what it used to be when I was a classroom teacher. Meetings, phone calls and e-mails between parents and teachers and me seem to take up a significant amount of time. As far as being out of the office goes, I’m not in it all day, either. Each day a full hour and a half is devoted to doing lunchroom supervision. The lunchroom is where I do some of my best work. Though I will complain about that huge chunk of time when I’m not visiting classrooms where teaching and learning is happening, nor is it time spent in my office, it is uppermost in building relationships with students. If they don’t see me regularly, how will they trust me when they need a confidante? Now, more than ever, this important part of my job becomes known. My students are tech-savvy and all have cell phones with access to social media. Yet social media norms are something about …

Why I Begged My Mother to Take Me Out of the Gifted Program

I understand what they were trying to do. When my teacher nominated me to be sent to a different classroom for part of each day, a class with older and more advanced learners, it was her way of keeping me interested in the learning process. Our school system was 90 percent black and, according to standardized tests, most of us were performing below grade level. Not me. At nine years old, my reading aptitude test scores were at the college level. My mother was so happy that she took out an ad in the local paper congratulating me for my grade-school accomplishment. She was proud. I was bored. For weeks after the test results came in, my teacher would create separate spelling tests and reading lists just for me to try to keep me engaged and challenged. I understand that was probably an extra burden on her. If I was a third grade teacher and one of my students was reading Romeo & Juliet during silent reading time, I might suggest she needed to join …

A Student Took My Advice and It Worked! Then, He Helped Me

I give advice for a living. Naturally, I always try to give the very best advice that I can. I have been a community college counselor and teacher for a long time, and it’s not a job you do for immediate gratification. There are no bonuses or commissions, and very few reminders that the pearls of wisdom I think I’m dropping on a classroom full of Snap-Chatting young adults are even getting through. Rarely do I see, first hand, any paying rewards in changed lives and lessons learned. But there was one time someone took my advice and ran with it, totally surpassing my expectations. I had a student in my first year seminar course, who we’ll call K,  a 17-year-old student who was really smart. He was also a hyper-verbal, former star athlete, and was chief among a group of guys who made fun of a young lady in my class whose disability caused her to speak many of her — often inappropriate — thoughts out loud. They don’t tell you when you sign …