We were thrilled to have José Luis Vilson, educator, writer, and activist, contribute to Keeping the Faith in Education. We interviewed him to hear more about why he chose to be a part of the project.
What does it mean to you to “keep faith in education”?
It means that, despite the rather negative tenor about the state of education right now, with soaring social inequity, and the changing landscape of the teaching profession, it’s important that we recognize and hold steadfast to teaching our students about how to make the world a better place. Too often mired in self-defeatist attitudes, we often pull each other down as a means of solidarity rather than looking at our current situation for what it is and working because of this.
What initially drew you to teaching? Have your goals evolved over the years?
Initially, I was attracted to the high salary and red carpet laid out for me in front of the building. After that didn’t come to fruition, I started to realize that I didn’t want to work in a cubicle. I rather work with students on a daily basis, honing their skills, and setting them on a path where more doors are open to them.
You are both an educator and a vocal advocate for children. How are these roles related for you?
The teaching piece is obvious in the sense that being in the classroom gives me an instantaneous way of listening to today’s youth, understanding their perspectives, and keeping me humble while helping to deliver the type of mathematics education that will propel them towards college (hopefully). On the other end, my social advocacy let me interject and disrupt some of the nonsensical arguments people make about the teaching profession, hoping to expand others’ world views as a conduit between the decision-making adults and the children whose lives are affected by education policy.
For more from José Vilson visit his website.