I am a National Board-certified English teacher from Tacoma, Washington. This is my fourteenth year in the classroom and also my first year teaching abroad. I currently teach AP Literature, IB Language and Literature and Sophomore English at the American School of Abu Dhabi. When my husband and I decided to move overseas, we were looking for an opportunity to teach and travel. As someone who grew up as a third culture kid, I was eager to teach in a multicultural, multilingual community. Moving to the UAE gave us access to a part of the world, we had only read about. It also opened the door to learning about the 200+ nationalities represented here. In just a few short months, we’ve grown to love Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
After writing about the intersection of education, gender and race on my personal blog, I decided to try my hand at a new medium–podcasting. The premise of the podcast was based on a tongue-in-cheek commentary I’d written, about the number of white women in the American public education system teaching children and young people of color. In July 2017, my co-host and I launched our first episode of the Interchangeable White Ladies podcast. As teacher-nerds our bi-weekly show uses essential questions to drive each episode and we are constantly trying to answer our overarching question: “How can white women use their privilege to deconstruct white culture, confront their own biases, be better allies and be less basic?”
I was met with both shock and interest. At one point, I gave an interview on a local radio station explaining that we weren’t attacking white teachers, just pointing out that since we play a vital role in educating the next generation, teachers need to recognize our own privilege and positionality. Since then, we’ve interviewed a range of guests–fellow educators, bloggers, activists, athletes and even academic Robin DiAngelo. We intentionally seek out female guests who will speak their truth with candor and offer an intersectional critique of the world. We’ve only interviewed two men in 64 episodes. Through the podcast, I hope to continue to deconstruct power and privilege, confront biases, and —as we say on the show–“be less basic.”
It’s critical that educators create content to share their experiences in the classroom. Too often the loudest voices are furthest removed from teaching and learning. Blogging and podcasting are two ways I can give others a glimpse into what it means to be a teacher in the 21st century. More importantly, creating my own content gives me an opportunity to share my students’ stories.
Interchangeable White Ladies podcast can be found on Twitter @IWL_Podcast or on Facebook. Our show is on Spotify, iTunes, and all the usual places.
Podcast & Blog: www.hopeteague.com