Black teachers in Canada, Kenya, and the United States share how they have supported minoritized students, even as they themselves experienced marginalizing societal forces, and delineate three guiding principles for affirming the social–emotional and mental health needs of all learners.
A cross Canada, Kenya, and the United States, our collective scholarship highlights Black educators’ motivations, pedagogical praxes, and commitments to asserting the humanity of all students. As researchers, we consider Black teachers’ important and unique contributions to diverse school communities (e.g., Aladejebi, 2015; Boveda, 2019; Cormier, 2019; Gathoni, 2019). Each member of our authorial team has taught in public schools. We also were once ethnically minoritized students within our respective national context and remember the impact Black primary and secondary public school teachers had on our educational trajectories.
In this article, we argue that effective Black educators integrate an ethic of care by implementing pedagogical approaches that infuse community practices both inside and outside classroom spaces. Furthermore, we show that Black teachers often challenge deficit assumptions about the mental health and motivations of members of minoritized communities and offer teaching methods that create truly affirming learning environments.