I hate to admit my failures but I promised to be honest in this blog. And failures lead to future success if you find the lessons in them.
When I was new to college I really wanted to be a radio DJ. Back then we had to get an FCC license and the test included setting up a huge reel to reel tape to play recorded broadcasts. I only practiced it once so I was doing great at all the parts of the tests – pushing this button, turning down that dial, announcing the call letters, then came the tape. I put it on wrong and then tried another way and tugged at the tape. I could see I was failing and I just started crying. Not a little cry but all out wail.
I went back to my dorm room and cried more. Luckily I remembered Rene Poussaint’s speech from my graduation. She told us during her address how she interviewed the KKK leader and other daring accomplishments. She also told us that we were going to fail. Then we would pick ourselves up and try again. So I stopped crying but vowed I would never be a radio DJ.
The next day, the sophomore who had trained me came up to me and said he heard what happened. I started to cry again. He knew of my failure. He said we would practice more and it would be okay. So I woke up early the next day to join his morning show and we did practice and practice. In fact, when I went to take the test again I had to pass because I was set to start my own show the next day. I’ve been in radio ever since and love it.
So, here is my recent failure. Again, it’s my fault. I didn’t put enough time and effort into it.
I work for an amazing school district. Not only are they focused on Culturally Responsive Teaching but they have two certificate programs in it. It’s not good enough to be anti – racist, you have to prove it. You have to prove that you are making a difference to your students. Are they attending schools? Are their grades improving? Etc.
I was new to the system but jumped right into the certification program. I had no idea how much work and data it entailed. Once I figured it out I froze. I realized I didn’t collect the data. I hope I was a good influence and helped some students improve their grades especially in this crazy year.
I love how the district works – prove it! I didn’t. I didn’t get the certification. I tried. I also panicked and did everything at the last minute and ran out of time. I am glad I tried and from now on I will collect the data. I will see that my thoughts match the outcomes. I will challenge myself.
I also saw how defensive people can be. Some teachers didn’t want to examine how their curriculum choices or pace or connection (or lack) with students changes the outcomes. They rest their laurels on knowing about CRT and anti-racism. I also personally saw someone (not a teacher but someone in Intentional Community circles) become defensive when I presented data that many women found him sexist – that he interrupted women more than men, that he listened more to the men, etc. I even had actual data of a meeting where he interrupted the women and not the men. He blew it off saying he finds women stronger and smarter than men.
Aha. Now I see why we have to prove it. What does the data say? Not our beliefs but what we actually do.
I’m sad I didn’t get the certificate but I hope to try again next year and this time I will collect data from the get go. Certificate or not, I am going to keep proving it – how does what I do affect my students? Maybe we should all try. Not just with students but with everyone. You say you aren’t racist, now prove it.
Here is an article I found while writing this. If you don’t have NYT and can’t open it, the title says “Two Black Students Won School Honors. Then Came the Calls for a Recount.
After two white families claimed a grade calculation error, a Mississippi school added their children as co-valedictorian and co-salutatorian, reviving questions about race and equity.”