Kyle represents so many teachers in the world. She wants her students to excel academically and personally. Yet Kyle is different in many ways. Her unyielding grasp on her own sense of self, as well as her unwavering and highly attuned social justice orientation leap out before her in everything that she does, especially when she teaches. However, her in-depth content knowledge, as well as her adept teaching pedagogy are only a portion of the story. For Kyle, her social justice orientation is the fuel for supporting students whom the system has otherwise given up on, to excel.
This focus on social justice, particularly in schools, particularly in the area of mathematics has been explored at length by educators and activists such as Robert Moses in his book, The Algebra Project. In this book, Bob Moses indicates (and backs up the fact) that mathematics, Algebra in particular is a filter for continued student success, not only in mathematics but in college and the workforce. For this reason, it is vitally important to have teachers like Kyle, teachers that understand the intersection of mathematics and issues of social justice.
For Kyle, these issues are not only apparent professionally and personally for her within the walls of her own classroom, they are also part of her experience as a parent, particularly of boy, specifically of a bi-racial boy. Like many of us who juggle professional and personal around issues of education and social justice, Kyle experiences these same joys and dilemmas, which some may say are heightened by her experiences in a large urban school and in her home as a white woman with bi-racial children.
I am intrigued by how Kyle navigates her world at school as a teacher, at home as a parent and in the school community for her young son as a teacher and a parent. Kyle and I are embarking on a journey together to peel back the issues as she sees them and document her experiences (and others) in order to not only tell her story but to draw connections to the stories that so many of us share.
Stay tuned. We’re excited.