Dear incoming teachers,
Don’t be disappointed if you’re teaching white kids.
Sometimes teachers (especially new TFA teachers) get into pissing contests about whose job is toughest, and a lot of people will discount the challenges that you face because you’re teaching white kids. Folks will assume that you have a cushy job. Don’t buy into this. If you believe this, you are allowing yourself to give credence to assumptions that are based on race and reflect lower expectations for students of color. If you catch your friends making these assumptions, call them on it.
The other thing, which I didn’t appreciate until my partner (who teaches in a mostly-black school) pointed it out to me, is that I get to experience diversity every day. I witness racial dynamics in action among the students at my school. Sean doesn’t. In this particular way, my experience is richer than his.
If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach in the integrated south, your experience is going to be unique in ways that your peers can’t yet imagine.
Lots of Love,