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Category: #TeacherLives (Page 2 of 2)

Mon 11.10 – Social Justice Unionism: A Conversation with the Caucus of Working Educators @Swarthmore

#SolidaritywithTeachers #PhledFree & Open to Public

Monday, November 10

Swarthmore College, Science Center Room 199

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM


Join members of the  Caucus of Working Educators of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers in exploring:

  • Social justice unionism
  • The current landscape of Philadelphia public schools; and
  • Ways that the Swarthmore community can participate in the struggle.

Follow the stories:




Sponsored by: Department of Educational Studies, Department of History, and the Forum for Free Speech

Tonight (11/6) Precious Knowledge Screening + Convo with Curtis Acosta


Free and Open to the Public

Screening of Precious Knowledge and Conversation with MAS teacher, Curtis Acosta

November 6, 5:30 pm.

Swarthmore College

Kohlberg Hall, Scheuer Room.

Precious Knowledge portrays one of the final years of the highly successful but controversial Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program at Tucson High School. The program was a national model of educational success—93% of its enrolled students graduated from high school and 85% went on to attend college, bucking a statewide trend that saw only 48% of Latino students graduating at all. The program taught Mexican and American history, as well as Central and South American literature and culture. But the political tide shifted in Arizona in the 2000s, and in the midst of controversial state-level immigration reform lawmakers turned their attention to Tucson High’s ethnic studies program, and MAS in particular. Opponents of the program launched a campaign to convince the public that ethnic studies teach everything from communism to terrorism to “reverse racism.” The film follows some of the students and educators who fought to save their program and to provide Ethnic Studies for everyone.

The movie screening will be followed with a Q&A (via Skype) with Tucson MAS teacher Curtis Acosta* and a discussion of Ethnic Studies here at Swarthmore.

Food provided by Taqueria Michoacana (Norristown)

Sponsored by ENLACE,  Educational Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Latin American Studies.

For more information contact Edwin Mayorga,

Follow: #TeacherLives and #SaveEthnicStudies


*CurtisAcosta was a high school teacher for nearly 20 years in Tucson, where he developed and taught Chican@/Latin@ Literature classes for the renowned Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District.In response to the elimination of Mexican American Studies in Tucson, Curtis created the Chican@ Literature, Art and Social Studies (CLASS) program where high school students receive free college credit through a partnership with Prescott College. He is also the founder of the Acosta Latino Learning Partnership; an educational consultation firm committed to help educators create empowering and engaging pedagogical practices in their classrooms and schools, along with being a founding member of the newly established Xican@ Institute for Teaching and Organizing (XITO). XITO is a sponsored program through Prescott College that strives to support the Xican@/Latin@ community through teacher preparation, social justice pedagogy, and community organizing.


In Lak’ech

Luís Valdez

Tú eres mi otro yo.
You are my other me.
Si te hago daño a ti,
If I do harm to you,
Me hago daño a mi mismo.
I do harm to myself.
Si te amo y respeto,
If I love and respect you,
Me amo y respeto yo.
I love and respect myself.

From the poem Pensamiento Serpentino por Luis Valdez

For more go to:’ech-you-are-my-other


precious knowledge poster

Dr. Bree Picower Book Talk: Practice What You Teach – 10.26.14, 4p, Swarthmore


#TeacherLives Speaker Series

Sunday, October 26th: Dr. Bree Picower
4:00 pm, Scheuer Room,

Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College

Dr. Picower will discuss ideas from her book, Practice What You Teach. The book follows three different groups of educators to explore the challenges of developing and supporting teachers’ sense of social justice and activism at various stages of their careers. This timely resource helps prepare and support all educators to stand up for equity and justice both inside and outside of the classroom and offers a more nuanced portrait of what the struggle to truly “make a difference” looks like.


Dr. Bree Picower is an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University in the College of Education and Human Development. She is the co-editor of the annual Planning to Change the World: A Planbook for Social Justice Teachers published by the New York Collective of Educators (NYCoRE) and the Education for Liberation Network.

This is the first speaker of the #TeacherLives Speaker Series. The series is a set of talks sponsored by the Department of Educational Studies at Swarthmore College that center on the lives of teachers and teaching for social justice. The series stems from the course Teacher Narratives, Policy and Power being taught by Edwin Mayorga. Join us for these Sunday conversations in October and November. Follow the ongoing conversation that these talks stem from on Twitter at #TeacherLives.

For questions about the series please email Edwin Mayorga ( or, via Twitter, @eimayorga


#TeacherLives Syllabus

As a new faculty member in the Department of Educational Studies at Swarthmore College, I have been given the opportunity to design and implement a new course in our department for the Fall 2014 semester.

Thus what has emerged is  Education 43: Teacher Narratives, Policy and Power – We Answer with our Lives”  #TeacherLives

This course is an exploration of the lives of teachers, how they are framed within popular culture and policy, and how they frame themselves within the politics of the classroom, schools and broader society. While our analysis is situated in a national/global discussion, the focus will be on teachers in U.S. urban settings. Students will be working with various critical social theories and analytical tools to think through teacher narratives, historical and sociological texts, film, policy debates, guest presentations, and other sources.  Assignments will include conducting interviews with educators and producing mixed media projects that deepen our collective understanding of teacher lives/identities and interrupt dominant and often reductive discourses about educators.


#TeacherLives on Twitter

I invite interested individuals to follow course conversations with students through Twitter at #TeacherLives


Jose Luis Vilson & Dr. Bree Picower

Jose Luis Vilson & Dr. Bree Picower

#TeacherLives Speaker Series

We will also be hosting a speaker series on #TeacherLives which will include talks by educator-scholar-activists Dr. Bree Picower and Jose Luis Vilson

Course Goals/Big Ideas

  • Coming to know #TeacherLives informs our understanding of broader ideologies, social relationships, and structural inequities and cultural differences
  • #Teacherlives are situated within the gendered cultural political economy
  • Teacher working conditions are their students learning conditions
  • Working/learning conditions are mediated by policies and institutional structures
  • There are various discourses that frame teachers and their lives, and these discourses are articulated in media, research, governance, and policy making.
  • Teachers have a voice in the classroom, in community, and in policy that is often ignored or misunderstood
  • Oral history, interviewing, and portraiture are effective qualitative research methods for documenting #teacherlives


Required Books (All are available at Bookstore and EMC)

  • Picower, B. (2012). Practice What You Teach: Social Justice Education in the Classroom and the Streets. New York: Routledge.
  • Vilson, J. (2014). This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education. S.l.: Haymarket Books.
  • Weber, S. J., & Mitchell, C. (1995). That’s Funny You Don’t Look Like A Teacher!: Interrogating Images, Identity, And Popular Culture. London ; Washington, D.C: Routledge.

Teacher-authored books

  • Garon, I. (2013). Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?: Teaching Lessons from the Bronx (1 edition.). New York: Skyhorse Publishing.
  • Kaufman, B. (2012). Up the Down Staircase. Harper Collins
  • Paley, V. G. (2000). White Teacher. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.


Recommended (Excerpts will be used in class)

  • Achinstein, B., & Ogawa, R. T. (2011). Change(d) Agents: New Teachers of Color in Urban Schools. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Ayers, W. (2010). To Teach: The Journey, in Comics. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Casey, K. (1993). I Answer With My Life: Life Histories of Women Teachers Working for Social Change. New York: Routledge. (Out of Print)
  • Endo, H., & Chamness Miller (Eds.). (2013). Queer Voices from the Classroom. Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.
  • Goldstein, D. (2014). The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession. New York: Doubleday.
  • Green, E. (2014). Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works. W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Ingersoll, R. M. (2003). Who Controls Teachers’ Work?: Power and Accountability in America’s Schools.
    Harvard University Press
  • Kumashiro, K. K. (2013). Bad Teacher! How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture. Teachers College Press.
  • Leavy, P. (2011). Oral History: Understanding Qualitative Research (1 edition.). Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Nieto, S. (2003). What Keeps Teachers Going? (3rd edition.). New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Ochoa, G. (2007). Learning from Latino Teachers (1 edition.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Rensenbrink, C. W. (2001). All in Our Places (First Edition). Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • Riessman, C. K. (2007). Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences. London: SAGE Publications, Inc.
  • Rousmaniere, K. (1997). City Teachers: Teaching and School Reform in Historical Perspective. New York: Teachers College Press.


Articles List

  • Lorde, A. (2001). Chapter 11: The transformation of silence into language and action. In B. Ryan (Ed.), Identity politics in the women’s movement (pp. 81–83). New York: New York University Press.
  • Rust, F., & Meyers, E. (2006). The bright side: teacher research in the context of educational reform and policy‐making. Teachers and Teaching, 12(1), 69–86.

#TeacherLives in Film

Here is a partial list of films that students can view for an analysis of how teachers and teacher lives have been depicted in film over the last 50 years. If you have a film to recommend please share via Twitter, use #TeacherLives

  1. Ardolino, E. (1992). Sister Act. Comedy, Music.
  2. Avildsen, J. G. (1989). Lean on Me. Action, Drama.
  3. Barnz, D. (2012). Won’t Back Down. Drama.
  4. Bogdanovich, P. (1996). To Sir, with Love II. Drama.
  5. Cantet, L. (2008). The Class. Drama.
  6. Clavell, J. (1967). To Sir, with Love. Drama.
  7. Craven, W. (1999). Music of the Heart. Drama, Music.
  8. Eyre, R. (2007). Notes on a Scandal. Drama, Thriller.
  9. Fleck, R. (2006). Half Nelson. Drama.
  10. Guggenheim, D. (2010). Waiting for “Superman.” Documentary.
  11. Haines, R. (2006). The Ron Clark Story. Biography, Drama.
  12. Herek, S. (1996). Mr. Holland’s Opus. Drama, Music.
  13. Hoffman, M. (2002). The Emperor’s Club. Drama.
  14. Kasdan, J. (2011). Bad Teacher. Comedy.
  15. Kaye, T. (2012). Detachment. Drama.
  16. Leder, M. (2000). Pay It Forward. Drama.
  17. Lemons, L. R. (N/A). Be My Teacher. Drama, Romance.
  18. Linklater, R. (2003). School of Rock. Comedy, Music.
  19. Menéndez, R. (1988). Stand and Deliver. Drama.
  20. Mulligan, R. (1967). Up the Down Staircase. Drama.
  21. Olmos, E. J. (2006). Walkout. Drama.
  22. Payne, A. (1999). Election. Comedy, Drama.
  23. Reitman, I. (1990). Kindergarten Cop. Action, Comedy, Crime.
  24. Smith, J. N. (1995). Dangerous Minds. Biography, Drama.
  25. Washington, D. (2007). The Great Debaters. Biography, Drama.

#TeacherLives in additional media platforms

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, Keynote @ NW Teaching for Social Justice Conference. (2011).

Rebel Diaz – Chicago Teacher. (2012).


For Edwin Mayorga @eimayorga

For course discussion: #TeacherLives

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