Refueling for Educators of Color

iChange Collaborative - We offer inclusivity consulting and training workshops to businesses, schools, community organizations, and government agencies.

 Dr. Danielle Stewart

Let’s face it. Confronting the pain of racism and coming to terms with its brutality always takes a toll. This work is not for the faint of heart, and the global pandemic and continuing police murders of unarmed Black people have intensified the pain.

For educators of color, the feeling of exhaustion has never been deeper. Yet here we are, standing strong, still fighting the good fight against a system of racism. We do it on behalf of our students (and future generations), and not infrequently, we do it while encountering racism ourselves. Most of us can’t be just educators. We’re called upon to do the extra work of supporting students of color who come to us when they hear racial slurs, experience microagressions, or feel stereotyped by a white teacher. We listen to their stories, validate their feelings, and help them figure out how to best respond.

We’re also the ones putting ourselves out there to share our testimonies, our challenges, our pain, and our journeys to educate our white students and colleagues, some of whom have a strong desire to grow in this work.

One teacher described being a Black educator as “an extra part-time job I don’t get paid for.” She spent so much time counseling Black students that she struggled to keep up with her regular teaching load.

I’m a strong advocate for self-care and that’s why I’m passionate about educator resource groups (aka affinity groups) for my fellow people of color. We pour out so much of ourselves into this work, and no matter how exhausting the process is, we continue to work hard to help others. This group is a safe place to debrief and refuel so we can continue to accomplish our goals and move our work forward.

If you need a safe and welcoming space to share your strengths and find encouragement for your challenges, I invite you to join us in the Educators of Color Resource Group. For eight years, a core group of us from a variety of schools have been supporting each other in a professional learning community specifically designed to meet the needs of people of color in education. We would love to support you!


NOTE:  Martha is leading a group for Race Conscious White Educators. For more information, see the links below:


The work that Martha and Oman are doing is revolutionary in middle level education. Students create, sustain and evaluate critical conversations around race, gender and orientation. The result is student-led curriculum design.

Dr. Karen Weller Swanson, Director
PhD Program in Curriculum and Instruction
Tift College of Education at Mercer University
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