Raising Anti-Racists in the Classroom: A Resource Guide

I am a teacher. For the last decade, I have carefully crafted each lecture for optimum retention, spent hours at my dining room table comparing The Odyssey translations and perfected my time management skills by delivering the punch line 30 seconds before the bell rings. Though things have looked a little different these days as I am teaching from home due to Covid-19, one thing has remained: I am a teacher, there are still a few weeks left of school, and I have a job to do.

But the last few weeks have challenged this idea as I witnessed, along with everyone else, the murder of another black man named George Floyd by a police officer televised across the nation. The out-cry of our nation in the form of protests for the targeted and grieving Black community has been too strong to overlook that when it comes to social justice, systemic racism, activism and allyship I am not a teacher at all, but still a student; and have been, until now, a mediocre one at that.

What do you do when you are charged with the teaching and instructing of something you are still learning? How do you even begin addressing white privilege when your classroom is predominantly white, as are you? It is up to us to de-center ourselves and listen, address white supremacy and amplify black voices, words and art, to encourage our students to investigate, research and explore the historical narratives surrounding civil rights movements and to support and invest in black-owned businesses. It’s also my job as a white, female in the front of the class to make it extremely clear that I am doing the work alongside them.

There is an incredible wealth of resources on dismantling white supremacy, the history of protests, the black lives matter movement and how to be an ally to glean from in order to do this necessary work in the classroom. This list is only a drop in the bucket. However, We cannot continue to demand that the black community educate us on our own failings and history- it’s on us to do the work ourselves, and then teach what we learn to the listening ears in our desks.

If you’re an educator who has been listening but didn’t know where to start, I’ve provided some resources below to help you begin. Teachers have one of the greatest opportunities to influence the future through our children- it’s time to make equity a prioritized value and not just a pedagogical buzzword.

On Addressing White Supremacy/Privilege in the Classroom:

https://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2020/06/15_classroom_resources_for_discussing_racism_policing_and_protest.html

On George Floyd and Current Events:

On the Black Lives Matter Movement:

On Black Voices, Authors and Activists:

On Civil Rights Movements and the history of Protests:

This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor is it even a sufficient beginning. There is much to learn, much to listen to, much to process, much to dismantle. We’re going to get it wrong. We’re going to need to ask forgiveness, rectify, pivot, and press on. But I can’t think of any other legacy I’d rather model for my students than this.

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Jenny Vanderberg

Jenny Vanderberg

A recovering know-it-all learning how to eat my words. Sometimes, literally.