Q&A with Teach For America's Liana Bowyer

Name: Liana Bowyer
Grade Taught: 4th Grade
Location: New Orleans, LA

1. How do you bring up the topic of diversity in the classroom?

My students are mostly black, with the exception of two Latino students. Given the racial injustices of our society, I've made this topic very open with my students. Every morning in my classroom, we watch CNN student news. Often the topics are dense and difficult for them to fully grasp, but they often see politicians that they believe are racist and don't have their best interests in mind. I encourage them to talk about why they feel that way, ensure them that their culture is valued, and discuss how to be a person in the world that works towards a more accepting society.  

2. What is the biggest problem you see facing today's youth?

For my students, in particular, I worry about the school-to-prison pipeline and the message that's sent by suspending students. My school has taken an active, conscious approach to lowering the number of suspensions this year by providing therapeutic services instead.

3. What is the most promising trait you see in this upcoming generation?

Although it took time to adjust to the common core curriculum at first, I believe that it teaches students to truly engage with the material and explain their thinking. This teaches them to be advocates for their learning and approach/solve problems from multiple directions. 


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