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Review "Leading Equity podcast" by Marc A. Gonzalez

Once a month I will review a book/podcast/article, etc. that I feel is relevant to the classroom. Some piece of material that we as educators can, and should, use and implement thanks to responsible, forward-thinking academics and creators.

This month, I’m reviewing the podcast, Leading Equity, which is hosted by Dr. Sheldon L. Eakins. Dr. Eakins is a dynamic host, bringing his listeners into the world of equitable-focused pedagogy for our students. No, he does not focus on just one race, one gender, one income-level, one age/grade, one social-status, one-on and on and on. His priority is how do we as educators, not just teachers, but all professions in education, have a positive effect of inclusivity on the students in our classrooms. I stumbled upon Dr. Eakins’ podcast by doing a simple Apple Podcasts search for Education. I was an instant fan.

When one listens to a podcast, and I listen to quite a few, one hopes to get exactly what they want out of it. It’s a very specific intent with near-to-no control over what you receive. Dr. Eakins does not ramble, rant, or overly praise. He champions the pedagogical expert he brings on to the podcast, and embraces the alternative ways of approaching a more equitable classroom, curriculum, and school environment. If you’re in the business of having a classroom of student voice and inclusivity, he delivers exactly what you want to get out of it.

A few episodes to start with. Episode 149, where Dr. Sawsan Jaber came on to discuss the topic: “Strength in Numbers: When BIPOC Support Each other’s Initiatives.” This episode shows deep insight to the array of students-of-color in our schools, and how the classroom serves a foundational context for all matters inclusivity. They discuss how we as educators are to be unified in supporting one another’s initiatives and actions, not just paying lip service and mumbling the current buzzwords to sound aware and intelligent.

Second, Episode 175, where Dr. Kirk Kirkwood came on to discuss the topic: “How to Teach Students of Color the Value in Learning Math.” Now, I’m just a theatre teacher. I had average grades in math during my student career, but did have excellent math teachers. But I am white. I am male. I was unaware of the inequities some students-of-color may feel when reading the textbooks, solving the word problems, and receiving certain scaffolds needed to close the gap from previous math years and teachers. I am still learning, and this episode certainly clarified and helped guide me to reach a better understanding. Dr. Kirkwood breaks it all down and, by the episode’s end, will make you a math fan if you’re not one already.

Lastly, let me highlight episode 178: “How to be an Activist in Digital Spaces” with Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz. This interview inspired me so much that I immediately followed Dr. Sealey-Ruiz on social media, pre-ordered her now-released book, “The Peace Chronicles,” and I make sure I read all she tweets and publishes. Dr. Eakins and Dr. Sealey-Ruiz lifted my spirits in how to make a digital space a place for equity, for change, and raising awareness where it's required. It was one of those “Omigosh, I never thought of it like that!” moments when listening to the interview (those same “A-Ha!” moments we educators crave to see from our students). The depth to which educators and students can use digital platforms for change goes deeper than we think, and this episode provides you with the tools, vocabulary, and encouragement to get it going in your classroom today.

The Leading Equity podcast is a must-listen/must-subscribe for all educators who value the ever-changing issue of elevating your students to an equitable level of education. All of our students deserve an equitable chance at success when they’re in school and leave school, whether that be in a career, a family, military, or college. Dr. Eakins has provided a platform that will strengthen what you’re doing right, improve what you’re falling short, and make you re-think how you approach equity with every lesson, exam, and piece of feedback you give. Give it a listen today!

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