If you aren’t yet familiar with them, please allow me to introduce you to the Nepantla Teachers Community
), a non-profit organization committed to developing mathematics teachers who strive for social justice in education.
I first came across the term “Nepantla” in the work of Dr. Rochelle Gutiérrez (@RG1gal
). From the Nepantla Teachers Community (NTC) website, I learned that nepantla
is a Nahuatl (Aztec language) term connoting in between or a reference to the space of the middle; the space of uncertainty, tension between truths, and “grey area.” What does this mean for mathematics teachers? The NTC believes “we can learn in this space by reexamining our beliefs and questioning oppressive structures and practices.”
You will find below the unique structure of the NTC blog and hope that it will interest you and elicit your engagement in growing in nepantla to form critical perspectives.
The goal of the Nepantla Teachers Community blog is to provide an honest and encouraging space to navigate sociopolitical situations that occur in mathematics education for the purpose of working towards justice in traditionally marginalized communities. By using the word political, we mean any situation that involves power dynamics.
Each post will be published in two parts (Part I: The first Saturday of each month at 5 PM and Part II: the following Wednesday at 9 AM). Part I will give a math teacher author’s real dilemma that they have recently experienced and to share some information about themselves. Part II will provide an analysis of the powers at play and the author’s response (or lack of response) to the situation. Before Part II is published, readers are encouraged to interact with the author and each other by asking questions, comments, and/or providing ideas on how they would respond if they were in their shoes.
The latest blog reveals a situation many of us have undoubtedly found ourselves in, navigating the tensions between fostering joy in mathematics, promoting creativity, supporting parent engagement, our personal teaching philosophy, and teacher performance as determined by administration. It is the essential question of how we balance doing what we see is working for our students and their families with succumbing to the pressures of standardized testing.
Both parts of the blog can be found at the links below.
Strings Attached Part 1 – Saturday, December 7, 2019
Strings Attached Part 2 – Wednesday, December 11, 2019
In Part 2 of this most recent blog, the NTC share a reflection tool, Levels of Oppression, created by Mariame Kaba (@PrisonCulture).
In addition, I would like to share with you Episode 4: Nepantla Teachers Community of the TODOS (@TodosMath) Podcast as described below:
What are the teacher communities that we build to sustain ourselves and each other? A double-length episode featuring two founders of the Nepantla Teachers Community, who speak to the roles of identity, tensions, and finding your people to sustain yourself in mathematics teaching.
It is with joy that I share this teacher community with you and invite you to live in Nepantla with us.