I was a white teacher who couldn’t talk about race. A journey through successful U.S. high schools changed my thinking.

chalkbeat.org - 05-15


Sit down. Now sit up. Take off your backpack, take off your jacket, take off your hoodie. Tuck in your shirt. Get out your notebook. During my first months in the classroom, the only thing that kept me from quitting my job was the desire not to be a quitter. I was 22 and had been put in charge of teaching four sections of 10th- and 11th-grade English at a public charter school in southeast Washington, D.C. I had a college degree in English but little training or experience with teaching. I had almost no experience at all working with “urban populations,” the school’s phrase for the poor and working-class Black families that it served.