I knew a black educator who centered her womanhood.
Ms. Strickland was a tall, deeply melanated & beautiful woman who wore African inspired dresses & wildly patterned hair wraps with locs peeking underneath. I saw her “push into” classrooms, working with kiddos one-on-one or in small groups at the elementary school where I attended. I saw her supporting students in quiet corners of classrooms. The way she floated from child to child, classroom to classroom, in and out was inspiring. I saw her magic.
Seeing Ms. Strickland was the first time I’d ever seen an educator who didn’t have a classroom. I was intrigued. She was free to educate, track/document, assess in an open space & in a pinch. She wasn’t bound by four walls of a classroom. I didn’t see her caught up in the possessiveness of “her” classroom or “her” students. She had the freedom to move about.
What she did possess was this laser focus on impacting a positive impact on the student’s reading/literacy lives with each session. I’m grateful I was there watching her intentional yet grateful moves. I soaked all that sweetness in.
It wasn’t until years later that I figured out Ms. Strickland was a Reading Specialist. -
When I was very young, I imagined how it would feel to be a magical educator like Ms. Strickland.I knew I wanted to educate black students who looked like me. I knew I wanted to educate children in one-on-one or in group sessions. I also loved reading and wanted to help others love it, too. Instinctually, I knew I wanted to embody the mystery and elegance that came to Ms. Strickland so easily. I wanted to do ALL of this while centering my Black womanhood. And I am grateful she taught me that.