A Commentary: “As Omicron Surges, Schools Battle Pressure to Stay Open”

A fundamental flaw of journalism is the illusion of objectivity. When I was a journalism major at the University of Maryland, we were taught to get all sides of the story in search for “truth.” But journalism is as wrought with privilege and bias as any other field. So when I saw Ilima Long’s tweet a few days ago and then read the article, “As Omicron Surges, Schools Battle Pressure to Stay Open” by Catherine Gewertz, I was especially sensitive to the sources named.

As a teacher, the conversations me and my colleagues have about going virtual are full of diverse opinions. However, this article reflects the cruel reality that that little to none of the people making decisions on our work are listening to our voices. We teachers are the ones exchanging stories of profound trauma both of our students and of each other. But it is district, state, and national leaders who are supposedly speaking for us, as if they have ever actually spoken to us.

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Show Me Your Work

This week marks the beginning of Black History / Futures Month. As a Black educator I am both excited and hesitant.

For the past few years, this time of Black celebration has been first marked by building up walls around cheap narratives for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day in January. Black people remind the world to not use Dr. King as a prop for their aims. We remind the world that he was radical and he is not around today because he was too radical for whiteness.

This is why being Black in education makes me tense during Black History / Futures month. I have learned to not have faith in these institutions when the focus is forced on marginalized groups. Hispanic Heritage Month and Native American Month have already passed. I know the effort (or lack thereof) that is going to be put into celebrating my people, and discussing the reality of our history.

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Final Teaching Reflection

It’s the last day of school. I sent my students videos as a goodbye, making sure to place my bi pride flag and women of Wakanda poster in the background. Even though I won’t be going back to that school, I wanted to remind my students what I stand for–inside and outside of the classroom.

At this moment, I don’t have much positive to say about the education system. I’ve felt isolated and crushed over the past year as a teacher trying to connect my students to the land they live on, the places they come from, and what the world could be. I’ve been fighting a system of erasure at every step, and I’ve felt it. I believe in education as a tool now more than ever. But my hope in reform for education–as low as it was before–has all but vanished.

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