I ask myself, “How can educators make literacy a more meaningful and successful enterprise for African American learners?” This question has so many layers that I must peel to get to the core of this question. First, who is the “African American Learner”. This identity is deeper than the color of the scholars’ skin, but I would how to understand this group culturally, historically, and linguistically. How can we successfully inspire and lead a group of people to become independent learners without knowing or ignoring who they are? They walk into a building that has no representation of who they are and for some odd reason, everything they have brought from home is looked as nothing worth to even infused in the building. This school building is meant to be a second home to all students, yet can we honestly say we nurtured all scholars?
The teacher, the leader of the classroom, and the person who can either continue to develop their scholars or become more of a burden to the student’s growth have a purpose to transform education and make it possible for all learners to achieve academically. The curriculum, assessments, and other resources can be either an attribute to the class instruction or it can be worthless. However, the truth of the matter is it is the teacher who can be the key factor in the students’ success. Before diving into gaining an understanding of the culture, it is essential for the teacher to self-reflect and self-assess.
Really analyze who you are as a teacher and your “WHY”. Your “WHY” is what drives you to make decisions, it designs your classroom environment, it develops who you are as a leader of the classroom. I believe we truly know our “WHY” unconsciously, but once we actually identify our “WHY” our actions, decisions, and what we attract will begin to all make sense to you. Your purpose also allows you do become intentional in your direction and the path you choose to travel. We as educators must continue to evaluate who we are daily. It is a practice that is not easy, especially when there is work to improve and grow as a leader of the classroom.