‘Don’t avoid discussing race,’ UW–Madison’s Magee advises teachers in Hechinger Report op-ed

UW–Madison student Jennifer Magee wrote a “Teacher Voice” op-ed for the Hechinger Report, headlined “Don’t avoid discussing race with your students.”

Jennifer Magee
Magee

Magee earned her master’s degree is currently a doctoral student with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. She is also a fourth-grade teacher in Middleton, Wisconsin, and an 18-year teaching veteran.

Magee acknowledges that teachers can be nervous talking about current events with their students. “As a white teacher,” she says, “I am especially nervous about discussing racial tension because I am afraid of making microaggressions or accidentally reinforcing stereotypes.”

But, Magee continues, she has learned “to not talk about race and current events is negligent to our students, their families, and our society.”

Magee offers a number of suggestions for teachers to engage with their students on police violence and other current events topics. They include:

  • Know your “why” — why it matters to the students in front of you and why you are choosing to teach in the manner you are.
  • Think critically about how to start the conversation or learning experience.
  • Recognize that each student and class is different.
  • Educate yourself if you are unsure how to begin.
  • Share your conversations with your students’ families.

Learn more by reading Magee’s op-ed at hechingerreport.org.