Raising Each Other Up

I’d be nowhere without my tribe. My tribe of strong, powerful educators surrounding me. And obviously due to the overwhelmingly large percentage of educators being women – my tribe is also filled with women. These women support me when I’m feeling low; listen to me complain when I need it; show me how to be a better educator; remind me to love more. So this post is for them. I’m never going to do justice on spotlighting their amazingness and unfortunately I don’t have any pictures to show you the incredible work they do, but it’s a start.

Timmary

This woman is a powerhouse. I’ve known her for 8 years (at least). She has this undeniable power to exude belief in everyone. We started out as friends, I was teaching elementary, she was teaching high school – our conversations always turned to social justice, student voice, and high expectations for ourselves and students. Fast forward 8 years, I’m teaching high school and she’s the Curriculum Liaison for the district and teaching AP Art History. Our conversations still always turn to the same topics and we continue to work hard at those things for our students.

Timmary has this uncanny ability to not only believe in everyone, but have people believe in themselves. People step into their own power when she is in their lives. Young people, middle aged people, older people – it doesn’t matter. It might be that Timmary has unwavering support for everyone, it might be that Timmary demonstrates that she is also working as hard as she expects others too, it might be some other kind of wizardry in play.

Jane

Jane. Oh Jane. Jane is not someone I work with, or have ever worked with. She is a friend I met through the YMCA. She is a teacher – now she teaches older people in Continuing Education and she used to teach high school science. In the end, it doesn’t matter the subject Jane is teaching or if she’s actually your “teacher” – she is continually guiding anyone she encounters into being their best self. Although Jane’s background isn’t in urban education, her belief in all people makes me feel like she could easily be in the urban education tribe and I’m constantly asking (begging) her to teach in my district.

Much like Timmary, Jane believes everyone can do anything they set their mind to and she will support anyone in any venture. Jane’s teaching with the older people demonstrate her belief in humanity. That it doesn’t matter what age you are – you CAN learn physics. Listening to Jane talk about her students and her teaching is watching someone describe joy and a mission. Jane gets that. She said to me this weekend, “I find so much joy in this.”

Patti

Patti is my friend, a colleague, and a teacher. She teaches Math in elementary school. For the longest time, I thought Math wasn’t for me and I’m pretty sure Patti thought that Art wasn’t for her. But through out friendship, we have taught each other that both are for everyone. She believes that Math is about social justice and a way for students to find their voice and seek equity in this world, through data and numbers. That’s empowering- for me and for students.

Her belief in kids is so strong. She constantly is showing them what they CAN do and while teaching a subject that has such negative mindsets going in. She shares that students have found that Math is for them now.

Lee

Lee is someone I wish I could carry around with me all the time. Her energy, her power, her kindness is something I wish all people could experience. She is a colleague and friend. She teaches ELs and Special Education students but I met her when she was the English Learning Instructional Coach (I’m sure I’m messing up her title…). Her belief in all students is incredible. All students can learn, she says often and her passion behind this is obvious.

Lee is a CAST Cadre member and believes wholeheartedly in Universal Design for Learning. Her patience and support while others learn about UDL and struggle through understanding is incredible. She is a district leader on implementation of UDL and despite many bumps, her belief in adults and students (all humanity, really) in learning and growing has never shaken.

Ann

Last, but certainly not least, Ann. Sigh. Ann is such a wonderful human. Period. Ann is a colleague and a friend. She teaches elementary art coincidentally where I taught elementary art. She was quite literally the only person I was willing to leave my students with when I left to teach High School. She is the kindest soul. She is patient, kind, loving towards all people.

Her ability to teach art so well, so thoughtfully in the early part of a career is unheard of (at least by me, haha). When she stumbles, which is rare, she is so thoughtful in her reflection of what might’ve gone wrong, never blaming students for the missteps. Her incorporation of UDL within her teaching has made what was amazing into teaching that truly has no barriers. Students that come with many barriers in a “normal” setting are relieved of those barriers with Ann.

These women are my tribe. There are many others in my life that inspire me and push me but these women are my go-tos. They’re the ones who I know can hold that mirror back to me and show me my blindspots.

I wish I could be a student in all of their classes.  Isn’t that what we wish for every educator?

Who can you raise up today? 

I’ve been sending out a weekly newsletter. This has my favorite “finds” of the week – articles, videos, images and some commentary about why they are my favorites of the week.  If you’re interested in receiving it, please send me a message with your email address.

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