Teaching Sankofa: An Intro



I write. I educate. I lead.

But, more than anything, I think and I learn.

I often get lost in thought while considering the past, how it reverberates into the present, and how to presently use the past to prepare for the future.

In other words, I think in Sankofa.

Teaching Sankofa is about two things that I think a lot about—race and education. It’s not didactic in its nature, though I’ll provide my own learnings. Teaching Sankofa is a space for me (and for you) to think more about race and education… to remind ourselves about how the past affects our present, and how the decisions we presently make determine our future.

This blog considers culturally responsive pedagogy, positive discipline, social justice curriculum, children books I love, etc… It also includes the trips and falls I experience as a young leader in education.

From time to time, I’ll include posts called “Realities from the Field,” which are quick recollections of real things that happen at school on a day to day basis. Sometimes the realities are heartbreaking, other times they’re simply funny.

This blog is present tense,

though it draws from its past

and keeps its future at its fingertips.

This blog is Post-Obama,

Currently Trump;

The future teeter-totters in its foresight.

Who’s this blog for?: Well, it’s for you! It’s for educators, parents of children, aunties, uncles and grandparents of children, and people who have attended school.

This blog is for people who care about our future.

Who’s writing this blog: Kirsti-Jewel, sometimes known as ShesGotTheMic, is this blog’s author. I’ve been blogging about race and _________ for about 8 years now, but decided to focus my blogging on race and education.

I’ve been working with children since I was 16, but spent my early 20s trying to avoid the classroom. I embraced my destiny seven years ago when I became a credentialed teacher for Oakland Unified School District. After teaching 4th and 5th grade for for five years, I transitioned into administration and am currently one of two directors for a charter school in Richmond, CA. I’m what many people call, “young,” when they find out my position, though I find being in my early 30s and paying off student loans very A-dult.

I’m a Black/Mixed Race Woman who was raised to be fierce. I notice people avoiding naming my racial descriptors to my face, but they shape how I navigate education and how I navigate the world.

If you’re interested in credentials, they read: B.A. in Creative Writing/ Journalism; M.A. in Women and Gender Studies; Teaching Credential in Urban Education. Yes, I’m a TFA Alumni (Got problems with TFA? So do I.)

It’s important to note that while this blog has been in the making for almost a year, it comes 4 days post Trump Inauguration. This blog is birthed the day Trump signs his first order to put policies in place that will create unsafe living conditions for immigrants/ people-who-appear-immigrant…AKA 60% of my students. It is also the day he signs an executive order to move forward with building a wall along the US border between the US and Mexico. History teaches us that this not only affects my Latino students/friends; it affects us all… It affects our present; it affects our future. We must wake up. Teaching Sankofa


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