Be the teacher America’s children of colour deserve, because we, the teachers, are responsible for instilling empathy and understanding in the hearts of all kids. We are responsible for the future of this country.’ Emily E.Smith, a fifth-grade teacher, is not just like any random one.
— Emily Smith-Buster (@EmilyE_Smith) November 10, 2015
She is the founder of the Hive Society-a classroom which has children know more about the world…and themselves- by co-operating with literature and actual events. Students watch TED talks, read Rolling stone, and look into infographics. She also has a working club to stimulate students to look after their minds and bodies. Smith is such a great teacher, that she obtained the 2015 Donald H.Graves Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing.
— Emily Smith-Buster (@EmilyE_Smith) September 8, 2015
She always dreamed of working with children in urban areas, so when she began teaching there, she began at full speed. She had them making podcasts, and would have discussions about their while accepting her award. She explained that it changed her career:
” Things changed for me the day when, during a classroom discussion, one of my kids bluntly told me I ”couldn’t understand because I was a white lady.” I had to agree with him. I sat there and tried to speak openly about how I could never fully understand and went home and cried because my children knew about white privilege before I did. The closest I could ever come was empathy.”
She was conscious that just being aware of her white privilege wasn’t sufficient. She intended to go beyond empathy and find a solution to initiate activity that would change her students ‘ lives.
She continued making use of the same teaching techniques, but she improved her curriculum to incorporate activities by people who were alike her students. Smith also added more classes to talk about issues her students were encountering, like xenophobia and racism. And it was absolutely worth the effort! ”We studied the works of Sandra Cisneros, Pam Munoz Ryan, and Gary Soto, with the intertwined Spanish Language and Latino, culture-so fluent and deep in the memories of my kids that I saw a light in their eyes I had never seen before.
The changes made to her classroom are appropriate and pretty easy to be incorporated by teachers everywhere: -They analysed Latino figures historical work, including some of the original Spanish language. A lot of children of colour are growing up in bilingual families.
In a survey made in 2007,55.4 million American children aged 5 years and older Spoke English and another language at home. -They examined the idea of America that great writers of colour wanted to create. They reached the conclusion that our country isn’t keeping up with those ideas.
There is still a lot to be done despite the progress done towards racial equality. Black people still suffer much more injustices when it comes to health, wealth and unfair arrests than white people.
-They read excludes from contemporaneous writers of colour, such as Ta-Nehis: Coates who writes about race. Her students are reading and learning from a different group of writers.
-They read about the Syrian crisis, and others wrote about journeys over the border in their family history for the class. One of the students was that much affected that he broke down in tears .He had never had a teacher who honoured the journey his family had done. And he felt proud of his heritage for the first time in his life. Smith explained,” One child cried and told me he never had a teacher who honoured the journey his family took to the United States.
He told me he was not ashamed anymore, but instead proud of the sacrifice his parents made for him.”
Such opportunities will be greater in years as the number of children from immigrant families is continuously increasing.
In 2013, around 17,4 million children under 18 have at least one immigrant parent. Smith is now considered not any as an English teacher, but as a social justice teacher as well. Smith is a role model for all the teachers everywhere, particularly because of the fact that our schools have become ethnically and racially diverse. Around 80% of American teachers are white. But these last years, most of the K-12 students in public schools are children of colour.
Due to America’s demographics change, we have to create work that ponders the experiences our students go through. And a more diverse curriculum is crucial to everyone and not only to students of colour.
As Smith put it,” We, the teachers, are responsible for instilling empathy and understanding in the hearts of all kids. We are responsible for the future of this country.