This month I am teaching a whirlwind course on Crime and Punishment in American History at a corrections facility in New Jersey. As I’ve prepared for my course, I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from books on the Inside-Out reading list, especially bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress. She writes:
“To educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. That learning process comes easiest to those of us who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred; who believe that out work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students. To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential is we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.” (13)
I think this graphic sums up why there is a tremendous need for states to look to classrooms as “a radical space of possibility” (12). I feel fortunate to be apart of the kind of change I’d like to see.