How I empowered students to be advocates and 21st-century communicators
As a Spanish teacher in Title I public schools in Washington, D.C. and Vista, California, I served students who faced obstacles in life as a result of socio-economic status, race, sexuality, gender, origin, language background, and ability level. Systems of inequality and oppression surrounded my students so that their success was an uphill battle for which they were unprepared. My schools leveraged extracurricular programs to help students become self-advocates and leaders through after-school programs, learning extension, arts integration, and community partnerships. However, I wondered how I impacted students through teaching and learning: As their Spanish teacher, how did I provide access to learning opportunities that promoted self-advocacy and civic engagement? How did I help my students become successful global citizens and respectful communicators?
As I work toward developing the perseverance and drive to achieve my goals, I am reading Grit by Angela Duckworth. My biggest learning so far has been the importance of identifying and defining my inner compass, "...the thing that takes you some time to build, tinnier with, and finally get right, and then that guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately, you want to be" (p. 60). I use this compass to set goals, plan my daily actions, and reflect.