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Race To Equity: Why I Teach

Claire Price (Dallas-Fort Worth '14) teaches bilingual fourth grade in Dallas ISD. She shares how recent discussions at TFA-DFW's Race To Equity series have renewed her purpose as a teacher.

Race To Equity: Why I Teach

February 24, 2016

I am grateful to Teach For America DFW and Leadership ISD for hosting the Race to Equity event series. The most recent event, Addressing Historical Inequities in Education, was truly invigorating and an amazing reminder of why I teach.

As a TFA-DFW corps member, I am honored to have “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness” conversations being offered as a component of our two-year training and leadership development program. However, nothing put into perspective more the realities and systems our students are living in than the testimonies by DFW’s own Vicki Smith, Erika Beltran, and Rene Martinez. These panelists shared their perspectives on history in Dallas and Fort Worth that I had not known.

As a non-native of Dallas, I have not been contributing to the fight against the long battle of desegregation for simply not being aware. I taught U.S. history from a book that leaves out the majority of my Mexican students’ culture. I didn’t know about the history of Dallas and, therefore, didn’t teach it. The history of this city makes the history of my school, my students, and their families that much more real and important in the role I play in serving them.

Teachers, on a very real level, are the frontline fighters against institutional racism, and in order to fight vs. perpetuate, there needs to be a deeper understanding of the local context. The community wants to speak, but are we really listening to their wishes, desires, and struggles for their children? The community is the determining factor in what they want for their children— and schools and teachers play a role in seeing out that plan.

In attending this event, I rediscovered my purpose in my struggle for my kids and their families. It was an amazing experience all around. To quote Vicki Smith, “No one can tell me what I lived through. No one can tell me the intention, purpose, outcome, nothing…because I lived it, and I will not be quiet about it.”