We’ve all heard the saying, “All good things must come to an end”. Blogging for the Heart and Art of Teaching and Learning has been an honour and a learning experience. Starting in 2017, I wasn’t sure what I was walking into and yet, here we are in 2023 and I can honestly say that I have learned a great deal. This is my last year blogging for the Heart and Art and in this post, I will share some of what I have learned.
Black Women’s Voices Are Needed in Education
The title alone should suffice and really needs no explanation but I’m happy to go a little more in-depth. In June 2020, I wrote a post about Crazy Hair Day. In it, I shared personally about my hair journey and the number of Black women who reached out to share similar experiences and feelings around the day was shocking. Not because I saw myself as being the only one who experienced trauma in school related to hair but because there were so many and that in 2020, we still felt as though our voices and objections to these days were not being and continue to not be heard.
Black women have a lot to say in the world of education based on our lived experiences as students of the system and also as we navigate it as teachers. I believe that our experiences are unique and as we continue to have conversations related to equity, those experiences need to be heard and change needs to happen. While that post was written over 3 years ago and there were many conversations in schools happening around spirit days, I wonder what has changed. And that’s just one area that needs to be interrogated. How are Black women and their experiences in education being valued? There are certainly a number of policies that have been created and I’m interested in how that leads to action.
Growing a Thicker Skin
Over the years, I’ve written a lot about work that I have done in the classroom. When I look back, it’s sometimes shocking to see what I have done in the past and how it’s no longer a practice that I would consider doing today. I’ve grown as an educator because of conversations I’ve had, books I’ve read and opportunities to reflect.
Over the last couple of years, there have been people who have chosen to critique my work in public rather than having a conversation directly with me. While I know that my work is public and open to scrutiny as I post it, there are moments when it doesn’t sit right with me. It’s in times like these that I am learning to grow a thicker skin. It’s not that I’m above reproach but if you’re really interested in making me a better teacher, reach out. Share your incredible strategies and work with me. Comment on my post and let’s have a conversation. I sometimes find it interesting whose work gets critiqued and this is probably another reason why we might need to continue to listen to the voices of Black women.
Reflection in Practice is Essential
I mentioned before that there are some things that I have written about in the past that wouldn’t make the cut now. Blogging has etched these in my educational journey and I’m so grateful for it. I’ve seen ways in which I have grown over the years through reflection and it excites me. Taking time to be reflective and understanding ways in which I’ve needed to change my thoughts or actions has made me a better teacher. Teaching is a practice. In the words of Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We have so many opportunities to learn and grow in education. Let’s work towards doing better.
I look forward to what this year will bring in my blogging adventures. To those whom my work has impacted and whom I’ve had the privilege of meeting on this journey, thank you. Let’s have a great year!