I teach Ethnic Studies & Global Studies in a diverse, high-poverty neighborhood. RHS is a diverse public high school: 38% Hispanic, 18% Black/African American, 4% Asian, 3% Pacific Islander, 7% Multiracial, 4% Native American, and 29% Caucasian.
I have amazing students who use their diversity and life experiences to their advantage.
Many of my students struggle with challenges outside of school. Many of our students are below the poverty line. Many students are in the foster care system or are homeless. Many are recent immigrants learning English as a second language. They are excited to boost create social change in our community.
The first time I saw my own experiences as a Latinx woman reflected in curriculum was in college. In high school, I dreaded my Social Studies classes and longed to learn more about justice movements or current events, experiences, and identity. The books on this list are some texts that quenched this thirst. I hope to now share these with my students as I finally facilitate the course I entered education to teach. My district has recently integrated Ethnic Studies into every high school.
We aspire to teach Ethnic Studies in a way that develops critical thinking, promotes empathy, and expands the narrative that is traditionally taught in Social Studies classes.
Ethnic Studies may be the first time that students see themselves and their families as heroes/heroines, contributors, and changemakers of history and today. We will use these texts as anchors for Socratic seminars, in lit circles, and to aid in research projects. I am hopeful that my students will be as inspired by them as I have been.
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