Flying (BP Letter #7)
I'll be honest - I haven't finished reading your last response. I'll keep referring back as I go. But I've been meaning to share something with you, and I want to share it quick!
My coteacher, BD, and I have been throwing around the idea of highlighting mathematicians who represent our students over the past year. And in a recent conversation with him, a bolt of lightening struck - and the "Just Like Me" project was born.
Here is the current draft of our directions to students. Since we just wrapped up their Mathographies, it felt like the perfect segue-way. First students wrote about their own math stories. Now, we are asking them to share another mathematician's math story. They can choose any mathematician with whom they have something in common. We are purposefully leaving it broad - they can choose a mathematician who they look like, or not. They need only have something in common.
I'm excited about it. And to tie back to our last conversation.. there might not have been "room" for this new idea if I had been planning all summer. I am flying by the seat of my pants, and surprising for this control-freak, it is exhilarating.
One of the first paragraphs of your last letter mentioned "not dragging [yourself] through the mud." I had read this awhile back, and it has stuck with me. Thank you. It has been helpful.
Reading your letter now, and something else that I think will stick with me is this idea you posited, which I will try to summarize. Even if math content is abstract and somewhat difficult to pin as tangible anti-racist content, we can make our pedagogy anti-racist. This seems to be a place to start. And I am right with you about flattening the hierarchy. It honesty doesn't sound THAT crazy to build the whole year with students. I think I'm on that path myself. Though, in the spirit of being honest, I feel "freed" by the possibility there will be no state test this year. I wonder if I'd be as enthused if there wasn't a pandemic. (That last one is a strange sentence to write.)
I've been slow to get back to you. And I feel there is more to say. But I'll not let perfect be the enemy of the good and delay "posting" this letter to you any longer.
I miss seeing you and being in the building. It was truly a fraught decision to apply for medical accommodation. Part of me still grapples and wonders if I made the right choice, but most of me knows it was necessary. Still though, I miss 1363. I miss 226, and 225 and 227 and more for that matter. And more than numbers, I miss the people that fill those places with meaning. Give them all a social distance hug for me. What is life like in the building now? How do you think Remote/Hybrid will impact the momentum for Anti Racist teaching/learning/experience at our school?