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Opinion: Your authentic self is your superpower

September 8, 2020 Category: FeaturedMediumPurpose

Disclosures

This guest column was written by Ami Patel Hopkins. It represents her individual opinion and does not represent the viewpoints of organizations with which she is affiliated either professionally or personally.
In my last post, I presented this challenge to my fellow educators and my fellow parents/guardians: “please show empathy towards each other as we embark on this historic school year. It is the only way forward. Now is not the time to divide, but come together (like convergent boundaries — science is everywhere)!”

Last week, Dr. William Hite and Mayor Jim Kenney presented a first day of school assignment: “help all students #LogOnPHL”.

I cannot speak for the entire School District of Philadelphia (SDP), but I can speak to my own school community. I want to give a shout out to my fellow colleagues who have put hours of work into creating the best possible learning environment in a virtual world. You all continue to inspire me! I want to thank our families, this is a partnership and I felt that as we brainstormed with each other and set up mock “first day of school” appointments.

I am incredibly proud of my 90+ students who have embraced a virtual start and am excited to continue to build a community in my classroom with them!  If I would have to grade my own school community on my challenge ,and Hite’s and Kenney’s assignment, I would say you Exceeded Expectations.

This week’s post is focused on how all in education can work collectively to make this historic school year successful.

The image at the top of this post (by Dr. Jane Shore) is an example of how partnership can work and create something powerful. Dr. Shore helped me bring my vision for my classroom into a reality through this visual and I am grateful. My 3.5 year old toddler responded with, “mom, you look like a superhero!” This was an indicator of success for me that what I envisioned was accomplished. I am sharing the story behind the image with you in hopes that you will be inspired.

Last week, I shared Chadwick Boseman’s (Rest in Power)  purpose speech with my students. I shared how I was inspired by him to create the #STEAMGalaxy (a.k.a. #MrsPH’s classroom).  I walked my students through what the #STEAMGalaxy is and asked for their feedback on other norms so they were heard, seen, and felt that building my classroom community was collaborative.

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I expressed to my students that in the #STEAMGalaxy, they can be their authentic self (inspired by a professional development session in which school board member, Ameen Akbar, gave this advice). The connection to the galaxy is that being their authentic self is their superpower and they do not need to transform!

In the #STEAMGalaxy, they will be solving problems using both our school’s core values (inspired by Chris Lehman) and the scientific method. I introduced them to their  #STEAMGalaxy toolkit which contains the tools of:  forgiveness, love, empathy, and hope.  The #STEAMGalaxy norms of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion were inspired by a group of fellow STEAM educators (like  Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson) who are continuously holding me accountable to teaching through an anti-racist/anti-bias lens.

Personally, I am defining the 2020-2021 year as a #YearofPurpose (inspired again by Chadwick Boseman). This year I will continue to keep my cup full through #selfcareandselflove (inspired by The Good Hustle). This year I will make connections with the #purposeandintention of collectively fighting for #justice #equity #diversity, and #inclusion. I will continue to spread the message that your #authenticself is your #SuperPower! I will continue to lead through #forgiveness, #love, #empathy, and #hope.

So my challenge to you for this week is to take some time to reflect through your #AuthenticSelf #SuperPower Identity Map!  Here is my example:

(Photo by Ami Patel Hopkins)

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If you have ideas about issues, policies, and/or perspectives that I should highlight in this column, please complete this submission form.   My column focus areas will prioritize submission ideas. The dialogue can be continued at EdSpace. 

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