Mica Pollock, editor of Everyday Antiracism—the progressive teacher’s must-have resource—now turns to what it takes for those working in schools to match their speech to their values, giving all students an equal opportunity to thrive. By juxtaposing common scenarios with useful exercises, concrete actions, and resources, Schooltalk describes how the devil is in the oft-dismissed details: the tossed-off remark to a student or parent about the community in which she lives; the way groups—based on race, ability, and income—are discussed in faculty meetings about test scores and data; the assumptions and communication breakdowns between counselors, teachers, and other staff that cause kids to fall needlessly through the cracks; or the deflating comment to a young person about her college or career prospects.
In this dazzling debut, Carla Shalaby, a former elementary school teacher, explores the everyday lives of four young “troublemakers,” challenging the ways we identify and understand so-called problem children. Time and again, we make seemingly endless efforts to moderate, punish, and even medicate our children, when we should instead be concerned with transforming the very nature of our institutions, systems, and structures, large and small. Through delicately crafted portraits of these memorable children—Zora, Lucas, Sean, and Marcus—Troublemakers allows us to see school through the eyes of those who know firsthand what it means to be labeled a problem.