Who’s Team Are You On? A Black Teacher’s Take on the Game

A guest post by Marquise Evans

“If I can’t be myself, it’s difficult to create. It’s like the school system is working to strip away what makes us unique and able to impact minds.” 

Today at work, I was asked this question in my Teacher Performance and Development Plan

What do you need to be your best self for our students, staff, and community?  

In order for me to be my best self for our students, staff, and community I hope for my thoughts and opinions to be trusted, and the freedom for me to rock: meaning being able to fully express my true individual authentic teaching abilities within the classroom. I possess the knowledge of what is needed to happen in schools that serve Black scholars for the overall goal/mission of the school to be achieved.

There are many school systems across the U.S where scholars of African descent are currently performing low and the bar is set low due to far too many excuses that are being handed out due to the trauma some have endured. Scholars are receiving sympathy for their trauma, but seem to not be receiving the tools to rise above their current circumstances. 

There is a lack of  “I understand, but this is how you persevere”, which is resulting in the majority of our scholars being coddled. 

John 5:8

Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed and walk.

You’ll find three different teams in the school system: 

  • There are people who are obviously against the rise of minorities, and clearly have no shame about it. I feel like Charlamagne Tha God would call them “The Mayonnaise Warriors”. We’ll run with that. 
  • Next, we have UNITY. This team is packed with not only minorities who are down to put in work for the overall mission to liberate and revolutionize the education system but also fighting alongside people of European and Asian descent, who know how to play his/her role and not overstep boundaries. 
  • Then we have those who are down for the fight but are unknowingly fuck’n shit up for UNITY. These culturally blind citizens are the “Guilt Raiders”. They see the injustice, want to help, but have no clue on how to assist with the movement other than showing love and being sympathetic. 

At 18, I chose to major in education because strong black men and women are essential to the lives of black youth to break generational curses that are continually taking place in and outside of the classroom, which have yet to improve. Moreover, there is a mission that the Black community is striving to accomplish; and for us to achieve this, understanding our mission and knowing what it takes to guide black youth in that direction is essential, crucial and urgent. Some days, I feel that a disservice is being provided to our scholars, especially our black, brown, and Arabic scholars. 

Don’t get me wrong now, I enjoy what I do. I always focus on the positives, knowing that no school is perfect; but damn, why must I silence myself for the sake of keeping my job or coming off as if I’m aggressive and not assuming positive intent? There’s a constant battle within. “Should I stand up and give glasses to the culturally blind”, or “Should I shut the fuck up and allow this bullshit to continue.”  If I can’t be myself, it’s difficult to create. It’s like the school system is working to strip away what makes us unique and able to impact minds. 

Thank God I was blessed to run into a Brotha that simply gave me the words that led to my solution to combat mayonnaise warriors and guilt raiders. Bruh simply said, “Sometimes it’s best to ask for forgiveness than for permission”. Along with those words, and a boost of encouragement from an OG Educator of Oakland,  I now nod my head to any task that is put on my plate, then decide for myself if it is essential to my scholars. If not, it’s discreetly wrapped in a napkin to be removed from my plate to create space for duties that serve a purpose for my team to win. If you’re an educator, counselor, parent, or any other adult affiliated with a school, ask yourself… Who’s team are you on?

MarQUIS “Malachi siuQ” Evans is a native of Warner Robins, GA. and a graduate of Fort Valley State University with a B.S. in Middle Grades Education. After graduation, he worked in multiple schools in Georgia, before moving to Indiana to teach. In Summer 2016, he moved to California to elevate career in entertainment. Currently in 4th year teaching at KIPP BRIDGE ACADEMY in Oakland, CA., while pursuing modeling and entertainment opportunities part-time. 
Social Media:IG: @malachi.siuQ      @amaze_knowledge

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