I’m writing to follow up on an email you received from Kia Walton asking for your support of the Black Teacher Project. I, too, am a Black teacher. I teach fourth and fifth grade special education at Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School in San Francisco.
BTP has been instrumental in my development as an educator, and along the way, I’ve gained a stronger professional community. As one of only a few teachers of color at my old school, I felt stymied in my efforts to champion students who look like me and help close their achievement gap. I felt like I was hitting roadblocks as it became clear my colleagues and I had differing expectations for our students, particularly the black and brown ones.
Then a friend teaching at another school told me about the Black Teacher Project. By the end of my first meeting, I felt such joy at being in the presence of other Black teachers, who had some of the same understandings of the world and similar reasons for teaching. By my third meeting, I had turned the challenges I was encountering into sheer determination to find an environment that would be more supportive of all of me and the “why” that fuels my teaching practice. The meetings were like therapy, and they helped me heal. In BTP I’ve found my community!
Today, I am in a position where I feel sustained and excited to teach. My colleagues and I often stay late to discuss what we can do to improve the next day, week, or month and truly support our students. The Black Teacher Project is also giving me opportunities to grow. I’m now a facilitator in the same group that helped me. I feel lucky to be there to help other teachers.
This holiday season, if you are able, I hope you will contribute to BTP’s Winter 2017 fundraising campaign. Your donation will provide support to teachers like me and help all our youth reach their full potential.