Despite a well-resourced education in the suburbs of Massachusetts, I would not describe my experience in formal education as "holistic." There was very much a norm that you either did or did not fit.
As a person who identifies as able-bodied and multi-racial, I felt as if some parts of my identity were welcomed into these spaces, and other parts were not. In fact, it was until I graduated from college, and was liberated from formal education, that I was truly able to explore my own self-education. This path brought me to Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, Australia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Just as I needed to break from the mold of a conforming educational system, I believe students in New York City need the same opportunity. More importantly, I think that the people of the world need to hear what the students of New York City have to say.
I have seen how powerful it is when students step outside their comfort zones and explore a different culture. Similarly, as a dean at a school implementing Restorative Justice, I have seen what young people can do when given an opportunity to take ownership of their process and development.
While my passion for education is what pushes me towards burnout, finding people who believe in the same mission, cause, and purpose drive me to keep teaching - despite the struggle. At TU, I find these people. I find a community of like-minded people who do not need to hear the rest of my sentence before they know exactly what I am going through.
I quickly realized how large the ripple effect of Teachers Unite truly is. Before I knew it, other schools were visiting and learning from my school's earliest endeavors in Restorative Justice. This collaboration was both affirming and informative as I watched our students truly take ownership and pride of their growth through RJ.
If you are also someone who feels isolated in your radical work, then TU is for you. Similarly, if you think the students of NYC schools would benefit from your practice, then TU is for you. Come share what you have, and see what we have to offer.