In this episode, Mark talks with Ariel Serkin and Tanea Hibler, modelers who are passionate about building equity and dismantling racism in the classroom. They share reasons that they are passionate about the work and talk about big things and little things they do in their classrooms to increase representation for all of their students, create safe spaces, and open dialogue about race within the science classroom and in their school communities.
After having taught at international schools since 2009, Mrs. Hibler returned to teach in Phoenix in 2015. She previously taught in Bangkok, Thailand, and Shanghai, China. She earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from California State University – East Bay, a Master of Education from ASU, and a Master of Science in Teaching Earth Science from Wright State University. She advises the Brophy Culture Project, the Asian Culture Club, and the Zoology Club. Mrs. Hibler also serves as a member-at-large on the board of the American Modeling Teachers Association.
Ariel Serkin has been a high school teacher since 2001 teaching history and then science in a variety of school settings. She attended her first modeling workshop in 2015 and has been a modeler ever since. You can find Ariel teaching distance learning and in-person workshops for AMTA, writing for ChemEdXChange, presenting at conferences, helping out as a regional representative for AACT, and an executive board member for NEACT (New England Association of Chemistry Teachers). She is a 2019 Massachusetts finalist for the Presidential Award on Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. Ariel has a slight obsession with chemistry t-shirts and other articles of clothing.
[38:26] Ariel, talking about having a scientist of the week, "I would highlight people of color and women and people from other countries as well. So it's not just Europeans. You have people from all over and their accomplishments and their achievements need to be addressed. And so sometimes as simple as that because that representation in the classroom matters."
[50:53] Tanea: "The kids ask me great questions and the best part is I tell them, I'm not telling you what to think. I'm asking you to think about why you think, what you think. And so they're forced to kind of wrestle with their thought process. And ultimately the goal is, that I'm not producing students that are going to hold on to racist ideas and concepts and then be a part of a racist system that is going to hold groups of people back. And so, I think if all teachers were working towards that end, we could push against racism a lot better than what we're doing now."
[57:31] Ariel: "We have to be intentional about creating a safe, inclusive, and equitable place for all of our students and all of our learners and all of our teachers."
[58:01] Tanea: "I would say you have to be willing to let go of the preconceived ideas that you have in your head about what it means to be a teacher and if you give yourself the freedom to let go and you're willing to try something new in your classroom, you probably are going to fall in love with modeling instruction and your students, if they haven't fallen in love with you already, they're probably gonna fall in love with you too."