On students teaching teachers.

I might be wrong.  I often am. Here is a thing I am struggling with: We had our second race and racism article group yesterday with our staff and at the end a bunch of people talked about wanting to have students come in and talk to us about their experiences. I am not sold yet.  Here are some pros and cons and I would love to know anyone else’s thinking:

pro: our students know their experiences better than we do so letting them share is a good thing.

con: we have only been talking ourselves for like two weeks.  we are just scratching the  surface of the work we can first.

pro: impact of students speaking is huge

con: I am nervous that there will be some “that doesn’t happen here” language and it will make us think we are magical unicorns

con: I don’t believe it is the job of our students of color to teach their white teachers about racism and moreover I am really concerned about systems of oppression and I am not convinced our students know about that

pro: it might get a lot of teachers to show up

con: if they only show up for that one is it really helping anything

con: I am really concerned about power dynamics


Pros? Cons? What you got for me? Are my concerns unwarranted?


3 thoughts on “On students teaching teachers.

  1. Hmm, I think your concerns are legit. Did your colleagues identify WHY they want to hear from students? Are they looking for evidence of racism? Are they prepared for a reality check? There may be another time later, or a different format that is going to be beneficial and worthwhile to both teachers and students. Your students of color for sure need a voice, but it may be better to find out how to empower them?


  2. When you come down to it, is it not the relationships that matter most? If teachers are willing to learn, and if students are willing to teach, I believe that is a very healthy synergy. If the environment is not “safe enough” for that to happen, maybe we have to address that?

    Pro: Both with what is said and with what is not said, one can learn what needs more attention.


  3. Making space for people to share their stories is not the same as asking someone to represent their group or prescribe a solution. I think some ground rules with the teachers about what’s going on and how to participate, what are fair questions and what aren’t would help. And the invitation to learners of color might itself be helpful if they know their teachers are trying to grow.

    Love the work you’re doing.


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