Location: Chicago, IL
Years of Teaching: 9
What drew you to Reading Apprenticeship?
I was drawn to Reading Apprenticeship (RA) because I knew I wanted to cultivate a culture of literacy learning in my mathematics classroom but did not have the full background as a humanities teacher to do so. The school I was working at was using RA to drive their school-wide instructional goals but noticed my fellow mathematics teachers were not as engaged in the work. I dove in, started mapping out ways to be a RA teacher in a math class, and started to feel comfortable with the routines. In first learning sessions, I loved that the facilitators were open to my questions about incorporating the moves in math classrooms.
My classroom, vibe, energy were always focused on making sure that the most silenced, marginalized students were at the forefront of my planning. In addition to that, issues affecting them as Black students always superseded the mathematics lesson.”
If you had to describe yourself as an educator, what six words would you use and why?
Facilitator. I do not believe in being the “sage on the stage” at all unless I’m in an actual play or musical. My instruction was always centering the students, their learning, their emotions, and their humanity before anything else.
Curator. I create safe spaces for kids to be their full selves unapologetically even in the usual rigid mathematics classroom. Allowing students to meditate, show emotions, dance, or showcase their thinking were some of the ways I created safety.
Fave/Bro/Mr. C/LenDog. These were nicknames my students bestowed upon me once they knew they could be comfortable with me. They would affectionally call me these names within any setting.
Black. My classroom, vibe, energy were always focused on making sure that the most silenced, marginalized students were at the forefront of my planning. In addition to that, issues affecting them as Black students always superseded the mathematics lesson. We would watch news coverage, have discussions, and brainstorm ways we can work towards our own abolition in school settings.
Reflector. I always honored time to reflect on lessons and instruction. After a good or bad class, test, grading term, etc. my students and I would always engage in activities to help us accentuate our positive behaviors and work on plans towards our growth areas. Students would reflect on their performance, my performance and vice versa during a whole classroom.
Questioner. My instructional framework, daily reflections, and interactions always started with me or my students asking a question. I was inspired by a lyric from Erykah Badu’s On & On, “The man that knows something, knows that he knows nothing at all.”
What is your go-to Reading Apprenticeship routine?
Definitely Reading Strategies List.
Can you share a story about a time when you or a student had an “aha!” moment with Reading Apprenticeship?
We were beginning our lesson on quadratic functions and I had asked students to just read and talk to the notes packets as they constructed their knowledge. We built four reading strategies lists for just two pages of text, because there was information, examples, charts, and graphs in the notes. After we built the list, at least five students had epiphanies on strategies they wanted to employ in their future lessons to address the texts could not access as deeply initially.
If you could describe Reading Apprenticeship in a sentence, what would you say?
Reading Apprenticeship is a collection of tools and routines to foster cultures where students deeply read texts from wherever their positionalities are.
What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness and Schooling in San Francisco