Roberto German: Textured Teaching by author Lorena German is a must-read book. This secondary professional learning guide will help you implement social justice work while building literacy skills, add layers of texture into the English curriculum inclusive of diversity, create a framework for teaching and learning centered in love. In our fight for positive social transformation, we nurture and sustain students' hearts through the tool of books. Learn more and purchase Textured Teaching at heinemann.com. Welcome to our classroom. In this space, we talk about education, which is inclusive of but not limited to what happens in schools. Education is taking place whenever and wherever we are willing to learn. I am your host Roberto German and our classroom is officially in session. Back by popular demand, we have Lorena German, the author of Textured Teaching, and The Anti Racist Teacher: Reading Instruction Workbook. She's also the co-founder of Multicultural Classroom and Disrupt Text. She's gonna be sharing about agency. And this is an excerpt from a presentation at the Iowa Council of Teachers of English. Oh, you gonna hold onto these gems. Agency, agency, agency. You have it.
Lorena German: I do wanna communicate that you have agency. Some states, teachers in some states have more agency than others, for sure. You are most certainly limited here in some ways, but in other ways, you've got a lot of agency too. And so it's important to leverage what you do have, right? Like, okay, I know I can do this. Well, girl, run down that hole. Run down that tunnel and just max that, right? You have agency. You can be a texture teacher for students because they actually -- they deserve this. We deserve better education. Even for those of you that were here, who did well in school, who became a teacher because you had a great teacher and Mrs. Barry was your favorite and that's why you're here right now. Even you could have had a better education because we're talking about the same educational system that's been going on forever. And so the community, therefore, deserves texture teaching in schools, or at least for you to understand this concept of texture and to apply it because we need some community healing. I know that I've worked with schools who sometimes are like a predominantly white institution and they're like, we don't really have a lot of diversity. I'm like, cool. But did you know that you're on stolen land? Like, oh, right, right. Yes. And that lack of diversity has a root. How did you become a predominantly white community? How did you become a predominantly white school? Why are you still, breathe, in 2021, a predominantly white institution? How are we here? How are you here?
That is the conversation to have then, right? And so we need community healing. This is why I'm talking about community centered teaching. This is why there are things that we have to rectify. There are things we need to address now. Well, yesterday, but most certainly now. And then, you, I'm gonna come back to that as a nation we need it because our future depends on it. I mean, it's very corny, right? I'm thinking like Michael Jackson and then like children are our future. But like, no, they actually are. Like those kids sitting in front of you right now are going to be the doctor later when you're 85. Jimmy, that kid. Like, that's gonna be the doctor. Ethel, whatever her name is she gonna be the one who's the clerk when you go for your, I don’t know, you're calling AARP and it's her. Okay? These are the kids. What is our role? And let me just pause for a second. I don't mean to be like teachers are, you know like it does not all fall on us. Okay? No, no, no, no. Let me just add that real quick. We are not the sole, you know, we are not solely responsible for all the things in the country. No. And because I'm an educator, I am concerned about my implication. What is my role? Plumbers have a role. Doctors have a role. Scientists have a role. Teachers have a role. I'm a teacher so this is where I'm at. So what is our role in their life and in their preparation for the society that we need? And then that brings me to yourself. You have agency because you deserve to also. Me, I deserve to be all of who I am in there. I deserve not because you know it's a self-centered no, no, no. But like, if I'm really good at knitting, well then why can't I bring that and make it a part of my teaching somehow?
Why can't I use that as a metaphor? Why can't I have some of my knits up? Why can't I say today, we're gonna take a quick knitting break. Let me show you this. Then they have a little bit of a connection with you. That's not this performative. One time I had a boyfriend like you, like what? You know what I mean? Like believe it or not, I've actually heard that. So, you know, my point is it is okay to be who you are in that space. If we're doing that for them, it is okay for us. This is a profession, mostly of women. And we are very good at hiding ourselves. We are very good at saying, oh no, no, it's not about me. It's all about you. So let me just -- let me just hide in the wall with my posters, right? No, no, no. Walk in there bold say this is our classroom, mine and yours. This is who I am. This is what I believe. This is what we are gonna do. And I'm not talking about politics. I'm saying, I believe that you deserve a good education. I believe that what happened in the community I agree with you it was wrong. How we go about it? Well, there might be differences in how we approach it, but I am here all of me and you too. Y'all know what I mean? And I promise you again, this will be done. This is not a gimmick. Part of why I wrote this book is because, for a long time, I would hear things about me, but also other teachers who do things like this in their own way, like, oh, she's got a spark.
What's your name? Allison. Allison, she is such a special teacher. And I used to do this with my students too. I like doing it. You know, Allison is such a special teacher. She's just got a magic touch with those kids. No, Allison is thoughtful. She plans her stuff. She's methodical. She is dedicated to the craft of teaching. That's all. Well, you know, that's a lot, but you know what I mean, right? It's not this magical thing that like, oh, let's just go in there and observe her. You can observe her, but take notes 'cause she's taking very concrete steps. She's doing very methodical things. And so part of this is about, you can do it too. You can. And it's gonna be different how it looks in your room because you're not me. And that's great. That's a very good thing. And so find your texture. Find your texture and then build community, which is one of the things that I heard a lot in the intro. That whole community piece is important. Being associated to a professional group but also not feeling alone in your building that's a real thing. I've been there.
Roberto: As always, your engagement in our classroom is greatly appreciated. Be sure to subscribe, rate the show, and write a review. Finally, for resources to help you understand the intersection of race bias, education, and society go to multiculturalclassroom.com. Peace and love from your host, Roberto German.