NK Start Teacher of the Year call students, society


On Thursday, Feb. 17, I was recognized as a freshman teacher of NCCAT 2022 Prudential North Carolina.

The chances of me getting this recognition were incredibly low – not because there is a lack of my work ethic, teaching skills or character, but because there are several social factors that have prevented and prevented many black men from becoming educators. In fact, less than 2% black men are among the teachers in the United States. If you had applied to Harvard University last year, you would have received greater chance (3.4%) to go to university than to have a black man be your teacher while there. The unfortunate reality is that black men are just one of several people – as teachers with disabilities – which are underrepresented in the face of educators in the United States.

At the end of my speech, I made the following statement: “I learned that being a good teacher means having high expectations of your students, so Orange High School students, I expect some of you to be here one day.”

I sent this challenge to all Orange High School students: students of all races, students of all economic backgrounds, students of all countries of origin, students of all sexual orientations and gender identities, students of all learning and physical abilities, students of all religious traditions and students of all political backgrounds. But, because of social structures, some statistics students will be less equipped or less encouraged to achieve this goal.

In the education system, we have not been able to properly nurture the gifts of colored students, lower expectations good luck to them. For queer students, we have not always created learning environments that welcome and value their identity. In turn, we increased their risk of having lower quality mental healthwhich may reduce their neurological ability to learn new information. Outside the direct control of our classrooms there are factors such as COVID-19 that have exacerbated the need for additional educational resources in rural areas. The federal government also needs to equip educators with the tools they need to better empower themselves Learning English. After a student leaves the K-12 education field, low-income people have less incentive to become public educators because payment is less can help them and their families get out of poverty, which is complicated by factors such as student duty. And in the rare moment when a black person enters education, a feeling arises loneliness and racial discrimination. The statistical chances that some students will become future beginning teachers of the year say nothing about them as students, but say everything about how our society is organized.

In other words, accepting the title of “Teacher of the Year-Beginner”, I welcome stories that describe me as wonderful, but I refuse to portray myself as an exceptional black man: the notion of talented 10th cannot ask enough of himself and society.

In order for educators in North Carolina to better reflect the student group we teach, “we need to nurture the genius of all students in North Carolina,” said Eugenia Floyd, North Carolina’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. To do this, educators and politicians need to study and understand how we are failing students in our schools. As I write this article, I understand the optics: I am a young, enthusiastic and well-meaning educator who has made hyperlinks to several articles related to social justice to encourage our state to better educational practices, but I seem to lack the experience to understand that people have both called for change and worked on it for years, but have met with active resistance in the work they do, or I am completely wrong in my belief that the education system does not serve all students well. After all, I am only the teacher of the year-beginner.

However, I am deeply convinced that both of these groups are wrong.

In my class I structured my class’s approach to history to fit “Sankofa” method of thinking: we analyze the victories and shortcomings of our world history to work to make society a better place for all people. When I turn to the history of my own people, I literally have only the opportunity to hope that public education will be better. By hope I do not mean the deliberate ignorance and unfounded sense of optimism that some people quickly burn out. Rather, I mean hope in the sense that Cornell West means when talking about being hope.

My ancestors, who were enslaved Africans in this country, had few external reasons to believe that they would become free, but due to their usual practice of singing, seeking freedom in Canada or Mexico and the self-education they became and created the hope they needed for emancipation. The same goes for my Mexican ancestors who fought with the Spanish colonial authorities until they finally declared themselves independent in 1821.

As a freshman year teacher at NC, I define my role in this position as dedicated to listening and acting according to the needs of all my students at Orange High School, and beginning the process of understanding the needs of students from around the state. I invite all North Carolina residents – community members, parents, teachers, board members, leaders, politicians and others – to join me in this process of love, justice, truth and hope.

Xavier Adams

Xavier Adams is a sophomore at Orange High School in Hillsboro, North Carolina, where he teaches world history, African American studies and LatinX studies. Adams has two master’s degrees from Duke University, a master’s degree in theological studies and a master’s degree in teaching.

NK Start Teacher of the Year call students, society

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