Advice for New Social Justice Educators: “I Wish I Had Known”

From Teaching Tolerance: Advice for New Social Justice Educators: “I Wish I Had Known”

This summer, the Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, for three days of learning, fellowship and planning for the year ahead. Our board is composed of educators working in a range of fields, at all stages of their careers and from all corners of the United States. Sharing their expertise, their ideas and their voices with us, they play an invaluable role in the work of Teaching Tolerance.

The Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board shares Advice for New Social Justice Educators using what they’ve learned as they’ve worked for justice in schools.
Photo Credit: Teaching Tolerance

Advice for New Social Justice Educators

During this year’s gathering, they took the time to share their personal experiences as social justice educators. They talked about what they’d learned over years of doing this work and what they wish they’d known when they began. In this collaborative piece, the 36 members of the Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board welcome educators new to the work of social justice, reflect on their own journeys and share some of the wisdom they’ve harvested along the way.

This is about the kids. Building community is survival.

I wish I had known this is about the kids. Constantly undoing the layers of my own internalized oppression
even though I may never be completely free.

I wish I had known how powerful I truly am to effect change within myself as well as my community.
That internal conflict is where my magic happens.

I wish I had known that some of my actions replicate the oppression I seek to end.
That it’s essential for white teachers to have a full understanding of this country’s history of white supremacy and how they benefit from whiteness.

Read on for more Advice for New Social Justice Educators on Teaching Tolerance.

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