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Teacher as a Community Member

Written by Margarita Lopez
November 30, 2013

   In the age of education and how Trans(S)pace can be created in our classrooms for young people, I am constantly thinking about myself as a stakeholder in my future teacher communities that I will encounter. As most people so painstakingly have portrayed teachers as the “experts,” what we have failed to realize is the expertise that young people have and how we could have been using that to plan our lessons and guide our instruction and curriculum. Something that resonated with me that Nicole touched on was how we can teach students to use English to “advocate for themselves” rather than feeling burdened by a class that is required of them for their academic lives. Part of that, I think, is being able to come to these experiences with our students not just as their educators but as humans and for them to be able to see our vulnerabilities as we see them and ask of them in our classrooms.

    Being a teacher is more than just playing the part. You show up, give lessons, plan them day in and day out. But how do we help shape our students lives outside of the classroom when they aren’t talking about what they have learned about how to analyze a character in a novel? We talk to them if they come inside our classrooms during our prep periods even if it’s just for a moment, we acknowledge them passing through the halls, we ask them how they’re doing because we want to know and not because “it’s right.” Being a community member or in their community is about being in their lives and playing a role in that, too.