Last week, while in the Bay Area, I spent an amazing two days with Dr. Juan Carlos Arauz of E3: Education, Excellence, and Equity. Juan Carlos and I have been friends for a number of years, but this is the first opportunity that I had to hear him speak in a setting where I was targeted as the learner. (And I relish the days when I get to be the learner and grow!) They were two days filled with reflection on how I approach education and for that, I am grateful.
Here are a few of the highlighted quotes that impacted me the most:
“There’s not an achievement gap, but an achievement debt.” — It is time for us, as educators, to move beyond what we perceive as deficiencies with our learners. We need to focus on creating an environment that fosters growth in ALL of our learners. We owe that and have a responsibility to ensure that growth occurs no matter the time, effort, and energy it requires.
“Giving everyone what they need in order to foster success is equity.” — Teaching to the middle or a chosen group of learners is a shortcut in education that creates a dilemma that short changes our learners. Differentiation doesn’t simply mean providing tiered worksheets. It means tailoring instruction for each student based on needs, preferences, and goals. Individualization does not simply mean work at your own pace. It means having a teacher as a coach, guide, and facilitator to ensure the proper supports are in place and scaffolds are provided as the formative assessment data requires. Personalization does not simply mean allowing whole learner choice. It means working with your learners to co-construct the learning experiences based on authenticity and relevance of a challenge.
“How do we meet the needs of students who are the mostly likely to not graduate?” — It is often easier to focus on our learners who are destined for success and greatness. They make our job easier. However, I never simply wanted a job as a teacher. I wanted a career as an educator who impacted lives. That takes a lot of work beyond thinking of teaching as just a job. If we can meet the needs of our learners who require the most work and effort, in the end, we will find the most reward.
How are you ensuring equity is addressed in your own classroom?