Over the semester I have done a great deal of listening, reading, reflecting, and a good bit of talking as well. I realized early on in this course that in order to look toward the future, I had to dig through the past. I began by examining myself and the looking into the history of the independent school movement. I examined my own feelings about race and privilege, the founding of Rocky Mount Academy (RMA), and spoke with Tony Shanks, RMA’s first Black student. I came to the conclusion that in order to shape the future of RMA, I must accept who I am, examine the history of the school, and proactively transform who we were into who we can become. I believe we should continue to strive to be the finest school in Rocky Mount by providing the best education to students regardless of race, religion, class, or economic status. Although I still have more to learn and more to do as an educator, I feel I have begun an important journey to help me be a part of a transformation at my school.
Looking back to the first night of class, I distinctly remember being in tears. I was alone, at the front of the room, I let go of my friends’ hands and stepped ahead of my classmates for every statement of describing an advantage or opportunity. It was a game meant to demonstrate our diverse backgrounds, but I was embarrassed and ashamed when I “won” the race. I felt out of place, isolated, and unheard. How was I going to convince my Black professor and my six Black classmates that I was not a racist? More importantly, could I convince myself? Here I am, a privileged, White woman who left the public school setting to teach in an affluent private school where my students are around ninety percent Caucasian. Am I prejudiced? Am I a raci...
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...ps of Change with VISTA:
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