Doing the Work -- Collectively Pursuing Anti-Racist and Equitable Teaching: One High School English Department’s Journey
Our district has long been heralded as a beacon school, one that delivers exceptional education in an exceptional community. Peeling back the layers, however, revealed a district that lurched towards the traditional, even with the hiring of DEI faculty and the step away from an historical indigenous mascot. In a time where teachers are exhausted and afraid of community backlash, our
English department dared to tear off the scabs of old wounds and united to push toward what is best for our changing community and students. Hard conversations, difficult topics, and months of legwork at last successfully provided the impetus to move our department forward.
As we dug into our curriculum and dug out of our individual comfort zones and passion projects, we realized that we had a long way to go to truly provide an education for our students that was representative of the students in the room and inclusive of all. Haltingly, we began to revamp our curriculum and unite in our goals. Along the way, we found ways to build bridges between old and new staff members, and ultimately joined together to write this article to submit for publication. This article unpacks our individual and collective journeys toward cohesion and inclusion, outlines our inquiry work to “stretch the field of literacy, language arts, and English” in our district, discusses the “tensions [that we] see in literacy education today,” and details our work to “best meet the needs of [our] students” (Language Arts Journal of Michigan, 2021).
The work has been and continues to be difficult, but it is critically important—and worth it.
Murchie, Sharon; Andrus, Anthony; Brennan, Pat; Farnelli, Gina; Fletcher, Shelby; Reed, Dawn; Solomon, Emily; and Woodcock, Benjamin K.
"Doing the Work -- Collectively Pursuing Anti-Racist and Equitable Teaching: One High School English Department’s Journey,"
Language Arts Journal of Michigan:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.9707/2168-149X.2350
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