I may be inappropriately mixing topics in the title of this post, but with an honest intent to honor the powerful messages shared in two presentations by FCPS art teacher and VAEA Secretary Libya Doman.
In her presentation, The Journey to Being a Trauma Sensitive Art Educator, Libya guided a full room to a better understanding of trauma and how it impacts students and educators. She discussed (in more detail than I will) a few ways teachers can support students with trauma including:
- Stay calm
- See the need
- Meet the need
- Don’t quit
The number one most powerful impact on students with trauma is an adult who cares.
Cultural proficiency was woven into the discussion through the lens of leadership and Libya warned against the perils of “business as usual” when we might otherwise make steps to include underrepresented populations. In other words, when new members join a team and make that team more diverse, it is a disservice to that diversity to continue operating as you always have.
She included it her recommendations for culturally proficient leaders including:
- Learn more about affinity bias
- Audit your group (where 30% makes a critical mass)
- Hold people accountable for “othering” and inappropriate behavior
- Recognize your privilege
- Contemplate pathways to success
- Be deliberate in mentoring and supporting diverse populations.
I am so excited to see that art educators are getting the opportunity to explore these complex issues through our conference. It is great to give art teachers an opportunity to make art and share lesson ideas but we must continue to think deeply about the broader context of our work.
Thank you, Libya!