Teaching Manifesto

“When teachers walk into classrooms as ourselves and share our stories, our learning processes – warts and all – it gives permission for our students to do the same. When we silence our challenges, hide them from our students, and play the ‘teacher role’ it sends the message that students should play the ‘student role.’ Then we are all playing school instead of digging into the learning” (Goldberg, 2019, p. 6).

“It ultimately comes down to values. What is it really all about? What are we trying to do as teachers? What do we value as teachers? What do we want our students to leave our classroom understanding or knowing about the world and about their relationship to it? I think if we can hold our values about why we became a teacher in the first place, this becomes the foundation to build upon” (Dr. Shelley Russell-Mayhew, 2020, 39:24min).

My Teaching Manifesto

Everyone deserves to be loved (Pitts) and to be treated equitably (Tottingham) – every race (Kendi, et al), nation (Principles of Reconciliation), culture, religion (Vaught), gender expression (Deych), sexual orientation, etc. Teaching is an act of social justice which requires active attentiveness to advocacy of self and others, especially through action. (Kendi et al.) We are all lifelong learners and have the simultaneous ability to teach and learn from one another through our diversity. (Gregory 1) Every person has a place within the space of the classroom and is on the journey of meaning-making. I have a commitment to engage in the meaning-making of children’s lives and nurture and scaffold students’ learning through that lens (Style). Teaching is a practice and a specialization, and ultimately an act of courageous vulnerability and humble confidence. (Goldberg 5) I especially commit myself to the challenging and rewarding work of refining my pedagogy. There is no such thing as a perfect practice, but a purposeful practice. Being a lifelong learner means that I am committed to connecting with students and peers in a professionally responsive manner. Teaching is a special work where its practice is not done in isolation, but through teamwork and collaboration. Students not only need to witness the potential of personal practice, but the powerful participation of peers, school staff, and families. Professional growth is the act of authenticity which can only be done through critical self-awareness, reflection, correction, and celebration. As an educator, I must draw on my strengths to support my challenges, becoming my greatest advocate while self critiquing yet not criticizing. Above all, I want to be kind to myself, falling in love with the process of personal betterment within every facet of my life. I will continue to consider not only my identity as an educator, but also a mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend. 


Works Cited

Airton, L. (2018). Gender: Your guide. A gender-friendly primer on what to know, what to say, and what to do in the new gender culture. Adams Media.

Deych, M. (2018). On behalf of their name: Using they/them pronouns because they need us to. Rethinking Schools, 33(2).

Goldberg, G. (2019). Teach like yourself: How authentic teaching transforms our students and ourselves. Corwin Press, pp. 5.

Gregory, G. (2013) Differentiated Instructional Strategies: One Size Doesn’t Fit All, SAGE publications, pp. 1.

Kendi, I.X. & Stone, N. (2023). How to be a (young) antiracist. Kokila.

Style, E. (2014). Curriculum as Encounter: Selves and Shelves. English Journal, 103(5), 67. 

Tottingham, R. (2022). The young activist’s dictionary of social justice. Duo Press.

Vaught, Chelsea. Inclusivity is Not a Guessing Game – Rethinking Schools.

Pitts, J. (2020). What Anti-Racism Really Means for Educators. Learning For Justice.

Principles of Reconciliation (2015), in What We Have Learned. Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada, pp. 4.