“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

From Teacher2Teacher

By Sharif El-Mekki

Back in high school and in college, a career in teaching was the furthest thing from my mind. It’s not like I crossed it off from a list of considerations; it just never even dawned on me, despite the fact that my own mother was a teacher.

Would you believe that? Even with this connection, I failed to see education’s role in the pursuit of social justice. But thank goodness my mother planted that seed. I know now that her genuine love of learning and of teaching others rooted deep inside me – it just didn’t sprout until I got a little older.

Not only have I taught, but I’m now a principal. More than that, now that I’ve seen the light, I’m working to make sure other black men can find their way to teaching and that teaching welcomes them.

Coming up in education, I saw a lot of black men adjacent to classrooms, but that wasn’t enough.

We need students to be able to see themselves in their teachers. Students will connect the deepest when the people they look up to – and teachers ought to be among them – mirror their own self-image.

All of us have a crucial role to play in making that happen in our schools. So, along with 16 other black men, I launched The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice to create opportunities for black men to lead classrooms.