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Why Do You Want to Be a Critically Conscious Educator?

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

by Dr. Pamela Seda




Hey there! So, I had this amazing opportunity to chat with the awesome Masters of Arts in Mathematics Teaching Program Cohort 9 at Mount Holyoke College on July 21st. And you know what? Someone posed a thought-provoking question: "Where should teachers start if they want to be critically conscious?" It got me thinking about what it really means to be a critically conscious educator and how it affects our students, especially those from marginalized groups. Let's dive in!


Before we get all serious about this, let's ask ourselves: "Why do we wanna be critically conscious educators?" Is it just to get that fancy title or be known as one of the cool teachers? Or is it because we genuinely care about our students and wanna make a real difference in their lives? Our motivation is gonna decide how far we go on this path 'cause, trust me, it's not always a walk in the park. Some folks talk a big game about equity but chicken out when it comes to tough conversations about race or other sensitive topics. We have to be real and ready to face the discomfort to make a true impact.


Actions Speak Louder Than Words!


You know how some schools or districts put out these big equity statements in their mission and vision, but it's all just talk? We can't be like that! Let's walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Being critically conscious means taking action, investing time, money, and resources to understand what equity really means for our students. We need to create classrooms where negative stereotypes don't stand a chance and where every student feels valued and seen.


Start with "Choosing to See”


To kick things off, I recommend diving into the second chapter of this book I wrote with Kyndall Brown, "Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom." It's got some eye-opening stuff, trust me! We start with a personal story that shows how negative stereotypes can negatively impact our students. Critical consciousness is about understanding how these stereotypes affect our diverse learners and doing everything we can to erase the effects of these stereotypes! The book's got loads of practical tips on promoting equity, and we all need that in our lives.


Learning from Others - Pronouncing Student Names Matters


I stumbled upon this intriguing article by Lydia McFarlane called "Why Pronouncing Student Names Correctly Matters, and How to Get Them Right" in Edweek. It made me think about the assumptions we make about students with "difficult" names and why being critically conscious means taking the time to get it right. So, in solidarity with my fellow educators, I've added a "hear my name" link to my email signature, supporting the Name Drop app that gives students the power to hear their names pronounced correctly.


Let's Chat - Share Your Journey!


Hey, being critically conscious is a journey, and it's different for everyone. So, I wanna hear from you! How have you become more critically conscious as an educator? Share your stories, your struggles, and the moments that made you go, "Aha!" We're in this together, folks, so let's keep the conversation going and make a change!


As educators, we're not just here to teach math or whatever subject we're into. We're here to make a real impact on our students' lives, especially those who often get sidelined. Let's dig deep, figure out our true motivations, and take real action to become critically conscious educators. It’s not always easy, but together, we can build classrooms where every student feels respected, supported, and ready to rock this world! So, what are you waiting for? Let's do this!


References

McFarlane, L. (2023, July 17). Why pronouncing student names correctly matters, and how to get them right. Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/why-pronouncing-student-names-correctly-matters-and-how-to-get-them-right/2023/07.


Seda, P., & Brown, K. (2021). Choosing to see: A framework for equity in the math classroom. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.


 

Dr. Pamela Seda is a veteran math educator with over 30 years of experience. She is a wife, a mother of 4 adult children, the owner of Seda Educational Consulting, creator of The VANG Game math card game, and co-author of the book, Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom. She has held various positions in math education including high school math teacher, instructional coach, college math instructor, and district math supervisor. Dr. Seda is passionate about changing how students experience mathematics, especially those from marginalized groups, and advocates for mathematics instruction that develops all students as mathematical thinkers and problem-solvers.

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Shelly M. Jones
Shelly M. Jones
10 ส.ค. 2566

Great article Dr. Seda! I love the Name Drop app. Something as simple as taking the time to correctly pronounce a student's name can go a long way. Thank You

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