Back to School Pep Talk

Well, fellow teachers and librarians, another school year is upon us. Some of you have already been back for a minute, some of you just started (today is day 3 for me) and some of you return next week. We have had an interesting number of years and this year, due to the teacher shortage, will bring its own new set of unique challenges. In addition, many of our colleagues have been placed in the difficult positions of choosing their curriculums, their books, their very words carefully due to the rage from extremist forces who truly do not understand what we do and the positive influence we have on our students. Many have already left the profession for their own safety and mental health and I cannot begrudge them of that. I get it. I am a very privileged teacher in that I have complete control over my curriculum with very little administrative oversight, therefore I have not been privy to much of the vitriol that teachers and librarians have been receiving nationwide. But I want all of you who are in the struggle that you have support from many teachers across the country, and here at Rich in Color. We see all the hard work you do in instilling a love of reading into your students, encouraging them to become empathetic towards their fellow man; just look at the power GenZ is having on the political climate. You gave them the opportunity to share their voices and they are now using that power with gusto. You did that! Be immensely proud in all that you have accomplished and what WE will accomplish this year. Go forth and be awesome!

And to keep this book related, I thought I’d share a teaching experiment that I’m doing this year. I have a unit titled American Perspectives where students research life in America from a perspective of a marginalized group. The students read articles, watch videos, then in groups, present their findings to the rest of the class. After that, they reflect on their own American Perspective and write a personal essay. This year I decided that instead of reading a class novel, each group will read a novel – a graphic novel actually, written by an author from the marginalized group they are researching.  The books are: 

  • Huda F are You by Huda Fahmy
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story by Lilliam Rivera
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  • Surviving the City Vol. 1 & 2 by Tasha Spillett 

I am excited for this unit and the students’ response to reading the graphic novels. I’ll have to keep you posted!