Literacy Lenses

Focusing on The Literacy Work that Matters

Teaching As A Radical Act

Read Islah’s Interview HERE • See Our Wakelet Chat Artifact HERE

Post written by Islah Tauheed

“One of the biggest lessons I learned is that we don’t empower children; we simply provide the tools for them to embody their inherent power.” ~ Arlène Casimir

I think at this point of the pandemic, we can all agree that the education system in America is deeply flawed. As teachers we gained insight and a first hand view of those problems up close and personal each day. We teach in buildings that are sterile and cold. We are told to implement a curriculum that is not reflective of the children in front of us. We work under leadership that silences many facets of our identity. When we choose to shift our thinking about teaching as a radical act, we make a decision to lead change in these problems. It was such a pleasure to join the Twitter chat this past week and join other educators looking to make big changes. 

Working to achieve this goal requires a deeper understanding of yourself. We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. Taking on tasks such as dismantling a racist school system or implementing culturally relevant learning practices can seem vague and ambiguous to a team member who is uncertain, yet the only way to deal with adaptive challenges is to grow.  Restructuring a school system requires us to take on new mindsets or beliefs to find solutions. Often these mindset shifts can happen as a result of what we learn from children. There was so much advice given out this past year from “experts” on teaching during a pandemic. However, most of the chat members shared that their biggest lessons came from students within their own classrooms. 

The responsibility of healing a system is a collective responsibility. Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared human endeavor. In the case of radical education, the human endeavor that teachers want is to further society through education. Joining social media platforms like Twitter helped add members to my community of practice. I enjoyed reading about other people you follow and what you learned from them.

Transformational leadership seeks to advance universal freedom from oppression, exclusion, and violence, and freedom to participate in economic, political, cultural, religious and educational activities equally. (Perkins & Richards, 2007) Teaching is the beginning of our journey towards achieving this noble goal.  I am so proud to stand with all the teachers lifting the voices of students and putting them first every day. Though seemingly ideal, we remain future minded and aware that it is only together, we are strong enough to enact change. Holding on to this belief in the face of resistance is the most radical act.

A Few Words of Appreciation From Mary Howard

Midway through 2021 in the middle of a pandemic that showed no signs of slowing down, our #g2great co-moderators recognized that there was a need to celebrate educators who were doing truly remarkable things. We called this chat Educator Spotlight and had our first guest, Nawal Qarooni Casiano on 8/26/21 . We knew early on that Islah Tauheed needed to be celebrated for her dedication to children as a second grade teacher and now through her extended role as an Assistant Principal supporting her teachers in honor of children.

About two years ago, Towanda Harris told me about Islah Tauheed and shared some posts she had written as well as her My Two Cents Worth With Towanda Harris podcast she had done with Islah. I wrote about that podcast HERE. Before I knew it, I was looking for everything I could find with Islah’s name on it (see links at the bottom of the page). I was completely professionally smitten by the incredible things that Islah was doing and eager to learn even more. That appreciation has only grown since I have had the chance to visit with Izzie via Zoom in preparation for our chat.

We are so grateful that Izzie honored the #G2Great community who hunger for inspiration and information and she brought all of that and so much more. This beautiful post that Izzie wrote is one more reminder why she is much needed in education and why we feel privileged to honor her on our Educator Spotlight

Please read on with some resources below to get to know Islah Tauheed


Q1 Tonight we are reflecting on the title of our chat, “Teaching As A Radical Act,” based on an interview with our guest, Izzie Tauheed. What does that title mean to you? 

Q2 Tauheed said. “I teach for the children in front of me, so they feel safe and loved and affirmed in this classroom space.” How does student ownership show up in your classroom spaces?

Q3 When asked about my students, I described them as “They are brilliant, thoughtful, inspiring, and hopeful”. What has a student taught you this year?

Q4 I am influenced greatly by community we have here on Twitter and the resources that are shared. What’s one thing you’ve read that has made you a better educator?

Q5 Using strong literacy practices, we can guide our students to become engaged agents of change. My passion is to guide students in changing their communities through environmental justice. What are some areas of change you and your students are seeking to challenge?

More Read posts from Islah Tauheed

Bringing Community into the Virtual Classroom

Empathy as a Radical Act

Reading Heals the World: A Case For Literacy And Environmental Justice

Bringing Community into the Viral Classroom

The Power of a Black Teacher