Question asked by @quranianiana
This is a great idea, and an awesome way of engaging students.
Though…urgh. I hate to be nitpicky like this, but I’m a little annoyed that the student who “doesn’t want to learn” is portrayed as being a person of colour, because that seems like a tired stereotype. YES, students of colour are often the ones who seem not as interested in class, but maybe that’s because education is so often Eurocentric and does not include people they identify with/can relate to? Maybe that’s because we talk about things that they don’t feel are relevant to their lives? Maybe that’s because too often, education indirectly serves to reinforce an us-vs-them set-up, a hierarchy of knowledge and systemic oppression? Just a thought.
Look, you’re asking good questions and I’m not arguing with what you’re putting out there. These are things we need to think about as educators. Hell, these are just things we need to address as a society, full stop.
I don’t know what to say about your concerns regarding my work except to point out I work in an inner-city school. I’ve worked in inner-city schools my entire teaching career, from Boston to Brooklyn to Cincinnati and the surrounding areas. I have made working in schools with diverse populations and economic challenges my passion and livelihood.
Over the course of the four years this version of my journal comic has run, I have tried incredibly hard to make sure POC are well represented as my students. It’s something I’ve been conscious of from Day One of taking on this project.
I’m sorry the stereotype you point out exists but I’m not going to whitewash my classroom in these strips to make it seem like it doesn’t. If readers are concerned about this issue, I highly recommend going back through my archives - I’ve been doing journal comics going on ten years and teaching comics for exclusively four years, posting them on Tumblr, Wordpress and originally on LiveJournal (remember that one?).
If you do that, you’re going to see so many strips where I struggle as an educator to build engaging lessons, where I spotlight the brilliant work of my kids, and yes… you’ll see place where I show the severe issues of teaching English Language arts in an urban environment, warts and all. I don’t expect people who read one of my comics to immediately go back and read a ton of my work… but if they’re going to be use to make some larger point about societal problems, I want to at least point those extensive archives out.