"How can I possibly explain to the young people in my care what’s going on in the world? I want them to do better than this. I’m supposed to know the answers as the teacher. But this time, I didn’t."
I’m a teacher. I educate young people, that’s my job. During the most recent uprising, anger and outcries for racial equality I knew I should have a role to play. Yet, the trouble was, I didn’t know what that role was. What to say? How to say it? How can I possibly explain to the young people in my care what’s going on in the world? I want them to do better than this. I’m supposed to know the answers as the teacher. But this time, I didn’t.
The truth is, in the classroom, I often don’t know the answer. But I can always find out. In the aftermath of George Floyd's death, I didn’t have any answers or explanation, and I didn’t know where to find them. People were mad. They were frightened. As a white man, I didn’t know how to understand. I felt the pain. I knew it wasn’t right. But I couldn’t explain it.
Yet, I’m immersed in black culture. I’m a massive fan of basketball, rap and R&B dominate my daily playlists, and many of the people I idolise are black men and women - including some of my best friends. The culture has given me so much in my life, but what have I given to black culture and history? Why don’t I have more understanding of the challenges I hear about in songs and films regularly? As a voice, I should be a part of the story. No matter how big or small.
I always strive for equality in my work environment. I love each and every young mind I get the pleasure of shaping equally. I don’t care about the colour of their skin, but I understand their differences and what makes them unique and special. But why am I stopping in the classroom? Isn’t it my role as a human being to strive for equality outside of the classroom too?
I’m going to do better. I’m going to educate myself. I’m going to ask for change, and reach out and understand the world black people live in and accept that it’s different to mine. Here, in this moment; I’m the student, and I’m prepared to listen. I’m prepared to stand by my pupils, colleagues and dearest friends as they make sure the world knows, that Black lives matter.