It’s Black. History. Month. I have been enthused with celebrating the achievements of Black Americans this month. So many inventors, businessmen and women, athletes, and the first, Vice President of the United States. How does my enthusiasm match with a group of students who are of a different race than I am?
My students are predominantly white. In the beginning, I was a little apprehensive about my idea for Black History Month. I wasn’t sure how the students would receive me teaching about my culture outside of the textbooks in-depth every day. But, I decided to leap into the unknown and have fun with my love of Black History and my students.
First, each day I present a Fun Black History Fact. My students have been so engaged with this tidbit of trivia. Each morning, they are attempting to guess who I am presenting. Once I saw how active they were in our Black History Fun facts, I was pumped even more! I researched influential Black History figures that ranged from Garrett Morgan, Florence “Flo-Jo” Joyner, Lewis Howard Latimer, and Usain Bolt. My objective was to introduce prominent figures whom they have possibly not learned or heard about and provide wonderful facts about these individuals.
Secondly, Black History is American History. I emphasize this statement to my students to further drive the importance of Black Americans’ contribution to the United States. And, it just so happen to fit perfectly into our current learning unit in Alabama History. We just finished studying the Civil War and Reconstruction Era. My kiddos learned new information about Black Americans during these periods. Was it hard to teach some of the learning targets? Yes! Did I choke or cry inwardly during one lesson? Yep! But, having these conversations about the history of our past will help us navigate to a better future.
Lastly, I was intentional with the process of teaching Black History. I like picture books, short videos, and even articles where students can become engaged with the text. I am a first-year teacher who is determined to educate students beyond the textbook about the history of Black Americans. I believe this is important for students of every race and culture so educators can create a community where everyone’s attributes are represented and respected.
Therefore, for Black History Month, I like to engage my students and provide new knowledge as they migrate beyond my classroom. I encourage all educators, parents, guardians, and anyone that has the power to educate children: dig deeper into Black History. There are more influential figures than Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, and Booker T. Washington. Be active in instilling knowledge of other Black Americans, and have fun with it!