Why do Teachers Resist Anti Racism?

I’m sitting on the tube, it’s noisy, there are no seats, and I’m squashed against the door. Full disclosure, I’m exhausted, and if I’m honest, I’m stumbling haplessly towards half term. 

In this current state, my mind flickers towards my activism and the work that has to done to decolonise the curriculum. After writing the tweet below, I wonder about the counter-argument and why some teachers are reticent to engage. 

tweet21

This morning, my brain was tired; it’s dark, it’s wet this morning and all I wanted to get my day’s work out of the way. The priorities I set out in September have changed to survival being promoted to the top of the list. The likelihood of me engaging with anything that isn’t survival-based feels wrong at the moment, but I am an educator. 

In these times, it is certainly not the money that gets me out of bed and brings me to this tube. I get to work because of my vision and core purpose. 

‘To serve the children in my care, in the best way I can.’

People can be hesitant to engage in work to decolonise the curriculum, due to it ‘not feeling right’ because of, anxiety around the extra work. A possible admission that for years, we have been causing damage to those we serve.

People can be hesitant to engage in work to decolonise the curriculum, due to it 'not feeling right' because of, anxiety around the extra work. A possible admission that for years, we have been causing damage to those we serve. Click To Tweet

We have to remember that the content of the curriculum we teach is relatively static and has been propagated for 100s years. Teachers have been indoctrinating pupils for generations; this includes our childhood teachers. As a Wolves fan, the early part of the tweet makes sense as it bolsters my opinion of my club, but like our curricula, after a while, nothing else sounds right or as right. Recently I engaged in a conversation with James Wren about how West Bromwich Albion was a great family club, the work they do with the community, etc. Interesting isn’t it, even typing that out feels off, a part of me couldn’t wait to get to the ‘etc.’ It feels wrong. Rationally this cognitive dissonance around my marriage to a football club makes little sense.

The impact of being inculcated into a world of gold and black (Wolves colours) has implications on my perception of the world; I and only I suffer the consequences of my actions. However, as an educator, sometimes the outcomes are not mine to own, the impact not only impacts my pupils but society as a whole. 

The impact of being inculcated into a world of gold and black (Wolves colours) has implications on my perception of the world; I and only I suffer the consequences of my actions. However, as an educator... Click To Tweet

We are going to go the back to our collective visions. When things are tough, we remind ourselves of our core purpose. No matter how ‘off’ our positions are, the questions I ask are,

  1. Do our pupils deserve to be taught a fair representation of the world?
  2. Do you believe that the current curriculum represents knowledge well?
  3. What is the best that has been thought and said, are those voices usually in English and uttered through homogenous lips?
  4. What is the impact of my actions on society? Am I causing further inequity? Am I setting pupils up for superiority or inferiority?
  5. Are we serving the pupils in the best way we can?
Yes, to decolonise the curriculum takes work. No matter how tough it gets, it is still time to get on the tube. To continue with the repetitive chants of wolves aye we or the propagation of our ethnocentric curriculum serves no one… Click To Tweet

Yes, to decolonise the curriculum takes work. No matter how tough it gets, it is still time to get on the tube. To continue with the repetitive chants of wolves aye we or the propagation of our ethnocentric curriculum serves no one well least of all our children. 

  

  

  

  

  

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