Lessons Learned from Show Teachers Some Love

5 Key Takeaways from our Show Teachers Some Love virtual event

On February 15, 2022, AdoptAClassroom.org hosted our first ever online fundraising event, Show Teachers Some Love. Along with AdoptAClassroom.org hosts, sponsors, and educators, we were honored to feature Dr. Anton Treuer and Dr. Artika Tyner as our guest speakers. 

Dr. Treuer, Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of many books, including “Everything You Wanted To Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask,” is at the forefront of efforts to preserve Indigenous languages in schools. Dr. Tyner, a passionate educator, author, speaker, and advocate for justice, serves as the founding director of the Center of on Race, Leadership and Social Justice at  the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

Recognized thought leaders in their fields, they left us with many rich and compelling insights on the importance of equitable education and the critical need to support our teachers.  Let’s recap a few of the key takeaways.

Watch the recording of Show Teachers Some Love!

If you missed Show Teachers Some Love, you can view a recording of the event below. While the silent auction is now closed, the wisdom of our speakers and teachers is evergreen. 

Lessons Learned from Show Teachers Some Love

1. Diverse books are essential to provide students with “windows” and “mirrors.” 

“We know if you look at a children’s book, you’re more likely to see a black dog or a black bear on the cover than a main character that’s a Black boy or a Black girl. We know that representation matters because you cannot be what you cannot see.” – Dr. Artika Tyner 

For students of color, seeing themselves reflected in literature is essential to their success. When teachers have the funding to provide their students with multicultural books, they’re providing BIPOC students with a vision of how they can imagine themselves. They’re also providing resources for white students to understand experiences that differ from their own and help to develop empathy.

Dr.Tyner is the founder of Planting People Growing Justice, a bookstore and press whose goal is to increase diversity in books and build leadership capacity in young people. Planting People Growing Justice is one of AdoptAClassroom.org’s vendor partners, so teachers can spend their donated funds on multicultural books through this small, grassroots press. Teachers can also spend their funds through Lee & Low Books, another family-run book publisher focusing on multicultural texts. 

2. “Ultimately, the opposite of systemic racism is not a war against it, so much as centering a healthy, educational space where we can all learn about ourselves as well as the rest of the world.” – Dr. Anton Treuer 

School should be a place where every student can learn accurate stories about their cultural backgrounds and learn about the cultural backgrounds of others. The opposite of systemic racism is a place where every student can thrive. 

Incorporating different cultural perspectives benefits all students. Dr. Treuer spoke about how Indigenous communities have different ways of looking at the world and solving problems, and that the “Indigenous cultural toolbox” has much to offer the rest of the world about how to relate to one another in more humanized and equitable ways.

In her comments reflecting on Dr. Treuer’s talk, co-host Annie Alcott, a retired teacher and member of both the Board of Directors and Teacher Advisory Board of AdoptAClassroom.org, talked about teaching in a school with more than 30 languages and cultures in the student population, and how important it was for her students and their families that teachers were “mindful and deliberate” about centering and protecting those languages and cultures. 

3. Teachers spend $750 a year on school supplies.

According to AdoptAClassroom.org’s 2021 Teacher Survey, teachers are spending more than ever on supplies to keep their students safe and engaged in learning. Ninety-five percent  of educators said that their classroom supply budget is not enough to meet their needs. 

Sarah, a teacher in Minnesota shared her story during Show Teachers Some Love. As an Autism Teacher, Sarah needs a lot of sensory materials for her students. These materials, which she has to replace yearly due to wear and tear, are essential for her students, but often come out of her own budget. 

For Sarah, receiving donations from AdoptAClassroom.org means that these purchases don’t have to come out of her own pocket. 

4. Education is our most powerful tool to break the “school to prison pipeline.” 

America is the incarceration capital of the world. We have 5% of the world population and nearly a quarter of the world’s prison population. 

Dr. Tyner is an attorney who worked in criminal defense for a number of years. Dr. Tyner writes and advocates for diverse children’s literature because it has the power to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. “One in four American children are not reading at grade level by fourth grade,” Dr Tyner shared. “If you’re not reading at grade level by fourth grade, you’re four times more likely to drop out of school. If you drop out of school, you’re 3.5 times more likely to be arrested. One of the things we can do to prevent mass incarceration is ensure that all children learn how to read.” 

5. AdoptAClassroom.org’s flexible funding recognizes and supports teachers as professionals.

During the event, host Annie Alcott, a retired teacher said that, “Teachers are professionals. They know their kids, they know their families, they know what they need to support their students.” 

In the face of legislation that aims to ban books and restrict curriculum in multiple school districts and states across the country, it’s more essential than ever that we treat educators as professionals who know their material and their students. 

When a teacher receives a donation on AdoptAClassroom.org, they’re able to use the funds on supplies for a last minute lesson plan or books that reflect their diverse students. Our flexible funding model trusts educators as professionals. 

It’s not too late to show teachers some love! Make a donation to AdoptAClassroom.org and help us make education more equitable.