Popular theory will have you believe that students learn from their teachers. Little thought and weight is given to the other truth– that teachers learn from and because of their students.
I’ve had the honor of having over 800 students pass through my classroom doors during my time as a teacher. They all touched my heart in some way, but there is a special group of young people who shifted something in me that I carry to this day. Here are the words of one of them as he proposes a list of books for his sister to read and be liberated. You can imagine the brilliance that already there when he was in my 7th and 8th grade US History classes.
We must embark on a life long struggle to liberate ourselves from that which would render us unworthy of life and happiness. Self-love is not a narcissistic indulgence; it is an act of self-preservation and radical resistance. Self-love is what I want for my sister, for all of my sistahs (and brothas and bristahs): a form of love that affirms our individual and collective humanity; a form of love that will save us from that which would rob us of our beauty and sublimity.-Kiyan Williams