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Reflect on One’s Cultural Lens

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Lesson 2, Topic 62
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Competency #9 Episode Copy


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Sharif El-Mekki:

96% of public school teachers in Pennsylvania are white. 96%. 4% is everyone else. The odds of you having a Black teacher or a Black male teacher as a student growing up in this state is slim to none.

What would you tell the White teachers about how to teach Black youth in particular? What can make that a better situation than what a lot of Black kids experience today?

Ramir (high school student):

So the way that I look at it is… you have to embody your students. He says he uses slang to make them feel more relatable to them. As a teacher, if you don’t embody your work and feel as if this is apart of you, the people you’re teaching won’t feel it either. So as a teacher, if you don’t really invest into their lives, to learn about their culture, learn about what’s happening and how they do it, then how are you supposed to teach them how to take the next step? I am used to learning things a certain way. If you don’t know about that, then how are you supposed to teach me how to learn in the future? So as a teacher, you need to serve AND lead them. That’s why it’s called being a servant leader. and that’s one of the things we embody in Freedom School. So as you’re leading them, you also need to serve them. You can’t serve somebody if you don’t know what they want.