Teaching is one of the noblest professions. It requires not only the sharing of knowledge but also instilling values and ensuring the holistic development of students. In the current climate, where divisive laws are being passed, and certain states are becoming increasingly challenging to navigate as educators, staying grounded in your purpose and convictions is crucial. To support teachers who are beginning their school year in places like Florida, we’d like to provide you with some affirmations to serve as reminders and sources of strength.
- You are not alone. Remember that across the country and even within our state, countless educators share your commitment. The aspiration to build inclusive and affirming classrooms that cater to every student, irrespective of their identity or background, is alive and well.
- Your voice matters. As a teacher, the impact you have goes beyond the four walls of your classroom. You are in a unique position to influence and change young minds, and raising your voice against injustice amplifies that influence.
- You are an expert. Your years of training, experience, and continuous learning have equipped you to teach students about the complexities of the world. External voices might attempt to discredit you, but your expertise speaks volumes.
- You are resilient. Through the ups and downs of your teaching journey, you have displayed immense strength and resilience. Every challenge faced has only added to your fortitude, and this situation will be no different.
- You are supported. In these challenging times, remember that there are numerous organizations dedicated to supporting educators who champion social justice. Their resources and networks can be invaluable.
- You are loved. Even on tough days, it’s essential to remember that there’s a community rooting for you. Whether it’s your students, peers, or family, they value, appreciate, and love you for all that you do.
- You are powerful. As educators, the ability to shape the future lies in your hands. Each student you touch carries forward a piece of your teaching, making your influence on the world profound.
- You are enough. Amidst external pressures, remember that your dedication, passion, and abilities are more than enough to make you an exceptional teacher.
In addition to these affirmations, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to ensure your safety and that of your students, given the evolving legal landscape in places like Florida:
- Stay updated on recent laws and how they impact your teaching methodology.
- Maintain documentation of any discriminatory incidents or harassment.
- Actively engage with your students about their rights and safeguarding measures.
- Foster connections with like-minded educators committed to social justice.
- Align with or extend support to organizations that advocate for the rights of LGBTQ+ students and other marginalized groups.
- Use your voice and platform to condemn injustices.
- Actively participate in the electoral process, supporting candidates who stand for equality and justice.
Remember that the journey might be arduous, but the impact of your efforts is monumental. The challenges faced today will shape the narratives of tomorrow. And as you forge ahead, always remember: you are not alone in this fight. Your dedication is recognized, your efforts are appreciated, and your resilience will pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future. Stay unwavering and continue fighting for what you believe is right.
By: Harold Marrero
Chief Operating Officer
We encourage you to share this information with friends, fellow teachers, and allies and join us in bringing awareness to our efforts. Your support is essential for our ongoing work to create safe spaces for all students, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or expression. Please consider donating to Safe Schools so that we can continue advocating for inclusivity and diversity within the education system.