For Phase 4 of my Imagine IT project, I read What Should I Do? Confronting Dilemmas of Teaching in Urban Schools by Anna Ershler Richert. An over-arching theme of this text is that teaching is a profession fraught with dilemmas that do not have easy or even “right” answers. Teachers must navigate the influence of identity (both student and their own), mandates, cultural expectations, and student needs, among others, to determine what is best for students.
A teaching dilemma discussed in the book is creating culturally relevant curriculum While many in urban settings recognize the need to have culturally relevant curriculum, I often wonder how much teacher bias determines what is considered relevant and worthy of being taught. Additionally, what is the role of the student in the development of the curriculum? If the curriculum is to be relevant, then it seems that student voice should play a role in its development and direction. How can teachers incorporate student voice meaningfully in their instruction without finding themselves overwhelmed or finding that incorporating student input in curriculum design has resulted in the content of the course being too far removed from the relevant standards and mandates for the class?