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teachers

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Teachers around the country are decking out their doors for Black History Month

To both inspire and inform their students about Black History Month, various teachers around the country are decorating their classroom doors — but they’re taking their decorations to the next level.

The paper and fabric-based designs are larger-than-life, depicting faces of famous black figures throughout history and boasting vibrant colors. One teacher created a door dedicated to Ruby Bridges, the first African-American student to desegregate an all-white school district in 1960, with the message: “We are brave like Ruby.”

Here are a few of the most awe-inspiring doors shared on Instagram and Twitter for this year’s Black History Month.

This teacher at Lake Alfred Elementary School in Florida created an amazing portrait for her classroom door

A post shared by Chanique Davis (@takachanique)

She titled it Black History Month, and the art club at her school helped her create the character’s lifelike hair.

This first grade dual language teacher explains the story of Ruby Bridges through her intricate door artwork

In her photo’s caption, Instagram user isapartycreations says she always kicks off Black History Month by sharing Ruby Bridges’ story, and asks her students to write about bravery.

Bridges was the first African-American student to integrate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana, when she was only 6 years old in 1960. She has since become a civil rights activist and speaker.

A New Jersey teacher did a “guess who” door, challenging students to see if they could figure out whose portrait this was

Spoiler: It’s the face of Kenya Moore Daly, the second black woman to be crowned Miss USA in 1993.

Other teachers used collages, vibrant colors, and inspirational quotes for their doors

 

The quote “Who are you not to be?” can be found in the background of this door decoration, toward the left side.

The question is from a poem by Marianne Williamson called “Our Deepest Fear,” in which she writes, “We ask ourselves/Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?/Actually, who are you not to be?”

Brooklyn teacher Hollie Tubbs created this larger-than-life design for her special education students

Special education teacher Hollie Tubbs teaches in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and made waves after creating this larger-than-life door for Black History Month. Its design was purposefully layered and tactile, so that her autistic students could interact with the display.

Tubbs told the New York Daily News, “I wanted it to be a black woman’s face. I wanted her to pay homage to all the other African-Americans who were successful in their own right in various fields.”

The project took her over five hours. People were in awe of the realistic portrait, and it has since racked up nearly 90,000 likes on Twitter.

And this teacher recreated her school photo from eighth grade, showing her students that they can be their own inspiration

She wrote in her caption: “My 8yr old self is the person I admire the most … at such a young age I knew my trials and tribulations were only temporary and here I am today! One day I hope I’ll get a call from one of my students expressing how I inspired them!”

Mrs. Berlotto from Ludlow Middle School in Philadelphia depicted singer Diana Ross on her door

A giant portrait of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick hangs on this elementary school teacher’s door

View image on Twitter

Source: Insider

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Students of Color Need to See More Teachers of Color. That Shouldn’t Be Controversial.

I spent most of my first year of grad school sitting in the back row of class with my hood up. There were nearly 40 of us in the cohort. Two were Black.

My hoodie was an act of silent dissent. Today, I completely understand when my students want to do the same, even with me in front of the room. Academia and public schools are spaces where people of color often feel underrepresented, unwelcome and unheard.

Nate Bowling

From third grade through high school, I was a student in a series of neighborhood public schools. Afterward, I went to community college and then on to a public liberal arts college where I earned my bachelor’s and eventually my master’s degree. Each phase in my educational journey shared two characteristics:

  1. The further I progressed, the fewer Black and Brown classmates I had.
  2. As I progressed, regardless of the demographics of the student population, the faculty and administrators were uniformly nearly all White.

That needs to change.

An organization I am part of, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, recently released videos designed to provoke conversations that will lead to this kind of change. Called Courageous Conversations About Race in Schools, the videos provide an effective starting point for real discussions that should be happening in schools—particularly in colleges and universities—across this country.

Research tells us that upwards of 80 percent of U.S. teachers are White. Different research tells us that nearly 80 percent of teachers are female. Obviously, those Venn diagrams overlap in a largely White and female workforce.

At the same time, because of higher birth rates among immigrant populations and the “mysterious phenomenon” of disproportionately high numbers of White children in private schools, the majority of the population of students in public school are students of color, and those numbers are headed even higher, based on enrollment numbers in lower grades.

Schools systems need to do a better job of attracting and retaining effective teachers of color. Students of color need to see more people of color in positions of expertise and authority, and teachers need to be conversant and literate in the cultural traditions that are present in their classrooms. None of these statements should be controversial.

The lack of representation is an equity issue, and to resolve it we can look to lessons elsewhere in our society. During the Vietnam War the Pentagon realized that majority Brown platoons of soldiers and Marines wouldn’t take life-or-death orders from a uniformly White officer corps. The Pentagon thus underwent an intentional effort to diversify the officer corps. Since then, the Pentagon has submitted amicus curiae briefs in every major affirmative action case before the U.S. Supreme Court because they understand that representation matters.

TIME FOR A REPRESENTATION DISRUPTION

The word “disruption” gets hurled around frequently in business and increasingly in education. Usually, it’s about handing Silicon Valley tech bros a metric-ton of venture capital to sprinkle the #EdTech™ fairy dust of the moment. But I’m going to argue that when it comes to teacher diversity and representation in schools, we actually need disruption.

In my neck of the woods the numbers are especially grim: There are only about 800 Black teachers in all of Washington State. In my 12-year teaching career, I have never worked with another Black male general education teacher.

There’s no reason for me to be alone. We see talented students of color all over higher education because universities know how to recruit them. As Jeff Duncan-Andrade says, “Look at any college football or basketball team and tell me colleges don’t know how to recruit Black talent. When I was a kid I thought Georgetown was an HBCU.”

But it can’t just be student athletes. We need to bring in students who can increase teacher diversity. It’s imperative—and it’s well within our power.

By Nate Bowling for Education Post

Nate Bowling is a high school government teacher in Tacoma, Washington, who was named the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the year and a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. His blog is called A Teacher’s Evolving Mind.