Independent Schools by @ VictoriaTheTech
Updated: Apr 12, 2020
I walk these old, storied, brick halls with a grain of salt.
Halls that were not made for people who look like me,
or dress like me,
or act like me.
Halls that boast quite proudly of its settler school heritage
near indigenous grounds.
Halls that are named after supposed great women
who rarely appear in anything other than name.
Halls that pledge acceptance but were created to exclude.
The price of tuition alone brings an interesting barrier to entry:
we boast that this is the most diverse class in decades,
and yet white faces cluster and pass through quickly in hallways
like snowflakes in a winter storm.
A product of public schools myself, questions and doubt cause daily disarray inside of my
Can I be accepted as an educator in this new space?
Am I able to trust the other adults around me?
Is this a safe place for me and my wife?
And when the students come in,
in their pleated skirts,
thick-soled black shoes,
and smiling faces,
the chaos dissipates and the calm washes in.
Because behind the brooches and thigh-high socks and expensive toys, they are still
Kids wanting stability, warmth, and acceptance.
Kids craving representation—
from LGBTQ folks,
from non-white folks,
from non-binary folks,
from folks of different faiths—
representation that is so severely lacking from the school’s history.
Representation that I didn’t know was meaningful to them
until I received a standing ovation when I shared my wedding photos with my classes.
Representation that looks like kids telling me that I,
have been their only black teacher.
Representation that meant that both my wife and I received invitations
to attend a school play,
and the kids were so excited to see us in the audience.
Representation that means more than any math lesson I could ever teach them.
The bell rings and they pack up their materials,
ready to be whisked away to their next class,
when a group of them turns around to tell me:
“We’re so happy that you’re here.”
Name: Victoria Thompson
Place of Residence:Tacoma, WA
My favorite quote: "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney
My one wish for the world: I wish for us as adults to create a world for the youth so that they can grow into a space that offers unlimited possibilities; possibilities that are not hindered by race, gender, sexuality, accessibility, or expression. It is only when we feel comfortable in our own skin that we become empowered to do great things. Change starts with us.