Any black kids in your class?

Mz-Tish-pointingPamela Tish,
Dupo, IL.

When I began my first teaching job in Cahokia, IL, “Any black kids in your class?” was always one of the first questions asked by friends and family. I return to that question in my own mind so often as I look across my classrooms, 20 years and three jobs later, and it still prompts the same feelings for me. My reaction is always an emotional headshaking “No. No black kids, no white kids. Kids of a hundred shades of cappuchino, choco-latte, summer peach, melting Hershey bar, toasty wheat crust, caramel malt.” I remember the confusing moment when completing standardized test forms together for the first time, my students and I shared puzzled looks when asked to complete ethnicity questions that had no rainbow answers.

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