Advice for a Teacher in Minnesota

By:

We are personally running out of ways to describe the anguish and exhaustion of living and teaching during this time. We know the news cycle is more than any adult should have to handle, and we know that our students are bearing the same, if not more, of the burden. Unfortunately, we know we have not seen last of racial trauma and violence. With that said, we wanted a turn a recent engagement on Twitter into a blog.  

Original tweet:  

“ADVICE! I am a white female teacher in Minnesota. My students of color do not feel safe, cannot concentrate, and are struggling. How can I help my students? I’m listening and providing a safe space but I feel helpless!” 

Our response: 

“We are also in pain about the police shooting in MN, and unfortunately, other cities around the country. Our students – especially students of color – have witnessed too many of these in their lifetimes.  

  • For students: The worst thing an educator can do, especially when a child has expressed feeling unsafe and struggling, is to ignore them. It does not sound like you are doing that. Affirming their dignity and humanity is essential. We encourage you to continue to provide ongoing opportunities – journaling, chat window, art, music – for your students to express themselves. The emotions will come in waves. Remain supportive even if students choose to never express themselves with you or in class. Hopefully they are able to process with a loved one. 
  • For educators: Finally, if you able, share your own reflections with students or colleagues. How are you feeling? How are you responding? And when you are able, take some action. Are there conversations you can have with colleagues to confront racism in your school or make your school system more just? Whatever you do has to be for more than this moment. Our antiracist future depends on it.  

Take care, everyone.” 

Additionally, our friends at Learning for Justice and @LiberateED_SEL continue to create and share resources to help us through these difficult moments. And educators at Education Minnesota have compiled a list of resources for parents and educators to help young folks process the Chauvin trial. Please let us know how we can continue to support your antiracism efforts, and remember ending racism depends on what and how students learn today.  

“ADVICE! I am a white female teacher in Minnesota. My students of color do not feel safe, cannot concentrate, and are struggling. How can I help my students? I’m listening and providing a safe space but I feel helpless!”