Giving Compass' Take:

• Susan Gonzowitz at Chalkbeat discusses her own time as a teacher, the need for race discussions in the classroom and how her and her colleagues created a new kind of training space that would put cultural responsiveness front and center. 

• How will teaching students on race differ in different communities? What can parents do to further their children’s education and encourage conversations of civil rights outside the classroom? 

• Learn about how and the best ways to teach kids about race. 

When I was young, my father used to call me Mrs. Malaprop, a reference to a character in an 18th century play famous for using words incorrectly. This was a reminder of how often I spoke when I didn’t know.

I remember the interruptions to my stories. “Susan, don’t speak when you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“But I do know,” I would insist.

“OK, then, what does it mean?” he demanded.

“I can’t explain it, but I know it,” I reassured him.

“Thank you, Mrs. Malaprop,” he would say, before ending my story midstream.

Thirty years later, as a teacher and teacher-educator, this lesson is one I still try — and often fail — to live by.

In my seven years of teaching, I prioritized understanding my students and their cultures. But it was only later, when I joined an organization deeply committed to culturally responsive pedagogy, that I truly began to unpack what that meant. I’m a white woman who grew up in a wealthy community, and I now train future teachers who will mostly serve low-income students of color. I do what I do because I never want another educator to come to recognize race and racism in the way that I did.

Read the full article about talking about race in the classroom by Susan Gonzowitz at Chalkbeat.