Children's Crusade 1963

Educators, We Have To Prioritize Teaching Students How To Resist and Organize

Students are going to remember what we said and what we did in our classrooms at this moment in history. They’ll remember if their teacher opted out of conversations about the unfair treatment of marginalized people, and if he or she ignored the hateful rhetoric seething through the gums of our new president. Students will say, “No we didn’t talk about that” or “My teacher wouldn’t answer my question about…”

They’ll also remember the teachers that allowed them to have conversations about what they’re seeing on the news or hearing from their parents. And they’ll love the teachers that led and facilitated experiences that taught them empathy, strengthened their knowledge, and gave them real skills they can use in their communities, whether it be their school communities or their neighborhoods.

We need to teach students how to resist, and that they have a history of resisting unfair laws. Fighting against injustice is not solely a role designated for adults.

Students have voices that are powerfully authentic and raw.

Here are 3 ways you can teach and show students how to resist:

1. Teach them about Alabama’s Children’s Crusade.

Also known as the Children’s March, this act of resistance in the 1960s against Segregation was led by thousands of teenagers from Alabama and surrounding towns. Children understood that Segregation impeded on their right to receive a quality of education equal to that of White children. Children endured attacks by dogs, fire hoses, and physical abuse from police officers while being arrested. Many children marched despite the disapproval of their parents, with a sense of urgency driven by their conviction of what was just. To facilitate conversations about this historic event, free resources, including teaching guides and videos, are provided by Teaching Tolerance.

2. Let them speak out about what they feel is unfair in their own schools.

Students have strong opinions about how they spend their time in school, from the amount of time that is allotted for recess, to what they are permitted to wear. As an educator, I understand the tension that is felt when relinquishing classroom control, but to prepare students for a life of activism and critical thinking we have to allow them to voice their opinions regarding their school environment. Student voice is critical in the evaluation of our practice to ensure that we are teaching towards liberation, and not reinforcing oppressive policies. Allow students to write letters, form committees, and request meetings with school leaders to voice concerns. And then change things.

3. Lead them through their own protests and marches.

Create experiences for students where they are able to amplify their voices and be heard. Give them the materials to create signs with a powerful statement. Have them create speeches that they can present in front of the entire grade level or school. Organize a school march around the campus and community. Help students get active.

We have the opportunity to provide students with skill sets and knowledge we did not receive. Take the time to talk about topics that might be uncomfortable, but necessary.

Build students that can challenge the world.




  6 comments for “Educators, We Have To Prioritize Teaching Students How To Resist and Organize

  1. March 2, 2017 at 6:41 am

    You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I find this topic to be actually one thing which I
    feel I might never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely wide for me.

    I am taking a look forward in your next put up, I’ll attempt to get
    the hang of it!

  2. March 7, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Hi my loved one! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice
    written and come with almost all important
    infos. I’d like to see more posts like this .

  3. March 8, 2017 at 4:11 am

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just too great.
    I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly
    like what you are saying and the way in which you say it.
    You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it wise.
    I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is actually a wonderful web site.

  4. March 8, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Fine way of telling, and pleasant post to take data regarding my presentation focus, which i am going to convey in university.

  5. March 12, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Hmm it seems likee your website ate my fitst comment (it wass extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum iit up what I wrote and say,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger
    but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have
    any helpful hints forr first-time blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

More Comments

%d bloggers like this: