#SawYouBeingAmazing: A Conversation Sparked by Four Inspiring Educators

by | 05.10.19

Christina Torres is a teacher in Hawaii. Follow her on Twitter @biblio_phile.

As teachers, we all get really busy. It can be hard to make time to plan a new and innovative curriculum, and instead we end up reaching for something we’ve done before without questioning it. I’ve definitely found myself in that boat.

Yet, it’s essential that we stay current in our practice, not only with innovative techniques or tools, but with how we look at our students, our communities, and our classroom’s culture. That’s why the #DisruptTexts movement has been so powerful for me. This Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to celebrate its leaders, four amazing educators: Tricia Ebarvia, Lorena Germán, Dr. Kim Parker and Julia Torres.

#DisruptTexts is a movement to challenge the language arts curriculum “canon” that so many of us grew up reading – and that so many of us are still teaching. They have a weekly slow chat on Twitter, and they’re active leaders and supporters of fellow teachers online and in person, providing space to ask questions and respond to powerful and important discussion.

#DisruptTexts asks us to look at the books we’re giving our students and ask, “Whose voices are we lifting up? How can we make sure we’re not complicit in oppression?” But these educators don’t stop at those higher-level questions: they offer space and time to work through these issues out together – including tangible steps and actual resources we can use to make change.

Even though I try and work to make my curriculum relevant, these educators have pushed me to ask myself if I can become a better teacher for my kids. Until recently, I defended the idea that we can teach the literary canon through a social justice lens. I still think it’s possible, but these women have challenged me by responding, “But do we have to?” They’ve reminded me that, in my seventh year as a teacher, I still have so much work to do. Thanks to the creation of this community, though, it doesn’t feel overwhelming or impossible – I feel like part of a greater movement doing this work for my students.

Without community, making change can feel lonely. We can start to wonder if we’re crazy when we identify a problem that others don’t seem to see. We might start asking ourselves, “Am I being too sensitive? Am I rocking the boat too much?” It’s great to have people to turn to who will say, “Nope. We feel that way, too.” I’m so grateful to Tricia, Lorena, Kim and Julia for shaping this community of educators who ask questions and inspire me to grow.

Their influence is continuing to expand. I was recently involved in an online conversation about these issues, and someone asked if I knew about #DisruptTexts. I thought: “Of course! I know these women. I’ve met them and hugged them.” Then it hit me: These are the women who started this whole conversation for me, and I haven’t shouted them out in the way they deserve. These women were the reason I questioned myself and my approach to the curriculum. I think it’s powerful to remind ourselves that it’s often women of color pushing these conversations forward – and too often, they don’t get the props they deserve. I wanted to shout out these educators, because they deserve their props – and I’m so grateful for all they do.

Whether it’s in a movement like #DisruptTexts, or among the educators in your own school, I encourage you to find your community. Find those educators who push you to learn, grow and ask questions for your students. Find those educators who care about making positive change. Find those educators who will confront challenges alongside you, and offer a shoulder to lean on when you need it.

More community favorites


Looking to Try a Classroom Library Audit?

by Molly Castner

I teach middle school, and it’s such an important time for students to discover what books they like and to develop a solid reader’s ide...


How We Can Support Our LGBTQ Students

by Wendy Garay

As a gay educator, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing my identity with my students at first. Before coming out, I wanted to make sure I was...