Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Teachers 4 Social Justice Conference 2012, San Francisco

What an inspiring event! It took me many years to make it there - in the past I was too exhausted and perhaps worried the conference would leave me feeling overwhelmed at the work ahead in creating equality in and out of the classroom. I may have been worried that I wouldn't feel radical enough too, as if I wasn't good enough to be there.

On the contrary, the conference made me feel good about my continued pursuit of teaching through a social justice lens. My purpose was affirmed in one workshop (A Mindful Approach to Creating Inclusive Classrooms by Robin Morales and Ebony Sinnamon-Johnson), and another workshop (Talking in Math Class: Using Discourse Practices to Promote Equity by Rick Barlow ) gave me new tools towards achieving an equitable math class discussion.

This is a picture of the keynote speaker, Seam Arce, an ethnic studies teacher from Arizona. He described how he used Mariachi music to successfully inspire his students, but how other teachers and the institution actively de-valued his methods and achievements. Additionally, he lead a protest with his students to fight the state's ban on ethnic studies. So far, because of their efforts, Arizona officials have not been able to meet to make this ban official. Ethnic studies continue! This isn't a very good picture, but it's the only one I took since I was too busy having a great time!

If you have not gone to a T4SJ conference yet, I highly recommend it. If you are a math teacher, or aspiring to be one, I highly recommend an upcoming math for social justice conference called Creating Balance (in an Unjust World). This conference is held over the MLK Jr. weekend. This may be the last year it is in SF For awhile- the conference started in New York and may end up in Chicago or LA in the future.

Mark your calendars for these two exciting events in 2013! January for Creating Balance and early fall for T4SJ. Both of these conferences are held at Mission High School, in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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