Years in Education: 7-10
High School English and Theory of Knowledge Teacher
Q: What do you have in common with your students?
A: I work with students whose identities and backgrounds are largely very different from my own. Their life experiences and their relationships to school are shaped by a set of cultural, socio-economic, and institutional factors that I can't claim to have a full understanding of.
That said, I think what we have in common is our interdependence, our vulnerability, and a deep curiosity about the world around us.
These things might manifest themselves differently in each individual but I think they're universally present and it only takes a little relationship building and a bit of digging to start to see them emerge. When my classroom is functioning at its best, these are also the factors that drive everything we do.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
A: Definitely. The points of commonality are what allow us to see ourselves in one another, and from there to a greater understanding of how valuable our differences are.
Colin is the coordinator of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle where he is also the Building Leadership Team chair. Learn more about Colin's work and how the IB program has transformed Rainier Beach here.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong
Humanizing the gaps separating teachers and students.