What role do you play in education?
I am currently an assistant professor of American History at the U.S. Air Force Academy
How long have you been in education?
I have been involved in education since 2009, from secondary education to collegiate.
Why do you think education is important?
Education produces a lot of “buts,” which I believe are highly important for students and educators. Skepticism is necessary given that it is dangerous to leave anything standing except that which can survive the onslaught of cogent argument/evidence.
What do you love most about your role in education?
What I love most is being able to learn from students. many would argue that it is impacting students in various ways, but I have grown the most through learning from students–so many diverse and intriguing views of the world and people.
What is the best advice you have received about impacting the education sector?
Be committed to the craft and hold true.
What do you think are the top 3 things that help create a healthy learning environment?
- Adopt a listening styled approach to learning
- Invite students to challenge long-held/traditional views of history (in safe environment)
- Serve as an advisor and mentor
What do you think is the most important quality in an educator?
I believe being accessible is the most important quality of an educator
What advice would you give to the younger generation about their education?
Learn to write because writing is thinking formalized and stop looking to be led.
What encouragement would you give to those who are interested in being in education?
Ensure that your approach to education is not simply a hobby. Have a vision; be a learner, not a finisher; lean into the struggle; feed your passion in positive and transparent ways; own your education and culture.
As a Black Person, what obstacles have you overcome, or are you overcoming to excel in education?
Here is what I have learned for sure when it comes to obstacles I currently have to overcome in education–especially with students: first, the class will not require any real intellectual work from them; my authority is viewed as illegitimate; if students do not get their way it is because I have ulterior motives or ill will (i.e., “know-your-place” microaggressions and petty forms of resistance); I am vilified for upholding and maintaining academic standards. As a result, progress is not a sign to stop, it is a reason to continue. Unfortunately, this is lost on many students I have taught in the past.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Everything is connected: exploitation–on any and all levels, stereotyping, imperialism, colonialism, the environment, and technological advances. Each serves as causes and effects on the other; therefore, our collective voices are powerful integers to be used in order to energize and proliferate positive and long-lasting change.