I am an 8th grade ELA teacher teaching at the most rural school district in the state of Ohio. I teach through a social justice lens. I am also an adjunct professor teaching critical studies to future early, middle, and high school teachers. My college students spend their lab hours in my 8th grade classroom.
My college students also teach Zinn Education Project lessons to each other and I use ZEP resources to teach weekly history lessons to my college students. My students start our semester by writing down topics about which they feel under or mis-educated. I use their reflections to plan and research weekly lessons, using materials from ZEP.
After several weeks of history lessons on race, class, gender, etc, a white college student of mine commented,
Maybe history is taught incompletely because white teachers are not comfortable teaching about and discussing race, they are afraid of offending [herself included].
I start every class with a mini history lesson after a student asked to know more about people of color, Native Americans, Christopher Columbus, and women in U.S. history. To meet their request, some of the lessons I’ve taught have been about John Carlos and the black power fist at the 1968 Olympics, Angela Davis, Red Summer, and I have read aloud from A People’s History, including the first couple pages about Columbus.