How have you grown (or how have your perspectives changed) in the last few years?
Quarantining during COVID and teaching remotely completely shifted my perspective on education. During the darkness of that time, I found peace in slowing down and connecting more with myself and others. I saw a similar shift with my students and their families—for the first time in a long time, they were able to share family dinners and embrace their identities outside of the daily grind. With my students, I now emphasize the importance of slowing down, enjoying their life outside of school, and finding better work/life balance.
How do you work with people whose backgrounds and experiences may be very different from yours?
I recognize that my lived experience is not everyone else’s lived experience, and I try to approach every person I meet with curiosity and empathy. Author and scholar Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a powerful TED talk called “The Danger of a Single Story” in which she cautions her audience against maintaining a limited perspective. There’s one moment in particular that sticks out to me, and it’s her call to action: “When we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.” Being in community with people whose backgrounds and experiences differ from ours demands that we reject the single story and embrace the wholeness of individuals.