An Interview between Lorena Germán and Daisy Han

The Anti-Racist Teacher: Q & A with Author Lorena Germán

8 minute read
Image of a school
Embracing Equity’s founder and CEO, Daisy Han, chats with anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, Lorena Germán about her instructional book: The Anti-Racist Teacher: Reading InstructionWorkbook.

Daisy: Hi Lorena! Our team at Embracing Equity is so excited about your book! For those who are new to meeting you, can you tell us about yourself and this project?

Lorena Germán with her husband and “The Multicultural Classroom” partner as well as their two beautiful children.
Lorena Germán with her husband and “The Multicultural Classroom” partner as well as their two beautiful children.

Lorena: My name is Lorena and I was born in Dominican Republic. I came to the US at the age of 4 and was raised in Lawrence, MA. I’m bilingual and bicultural because although I was raised in this country, speaking in English, at home I lived in Dominican Republic. I came to learn about Embracing Equity at the Montessori for Social Justice Conference a couple of years ago. The Anti Racist Teacher: Reading Instruction Workbook is an act of love. It’s meant to be a resource for teachers to embody anti racist practices when teaching students how to engage in reading.

Daisy: Why is this work important to you? What was a moment you had early on that showed you that you were really onto something/could be successful in this anti-racism work.

Lorena: I began teaching at the high school where I went to school myself. Before the classroom, I worked with young people in after school and community settings, so that type of work also comes with me into the classroom. As a teacher, I try to be the teacher I never had by practicing a culturally sustaining approach and more. This work is important to me because I believe that education is one of the ways we will get ourselves out of where we are. I must have hope in the future, because otherwise life is bleak. Things can change. This is possible. Young people will have to lead us there. My

Author and inspiration to Lorena Germán, Toni Morrison
Author and inspiration to Lorena Germán, Toni Morrison

I knew this book had to be written. Toni Morrison tells us to write the book we wish we could have read. I wish I had more resources that could have helped me earlier on in my teaching career to do better. I made so many mistakes in those first few years. I harmed immigrant and undocumented students with my teaching approach. Sure, my intentions were good ones. Sure, my desires were honorable. I know that my mistakes could have been prevented, but I also know that there’s often a disconnect between published research and classroom practice. I knew that there wasn’t really a lot of material, or well known material out there, that we could use to improve our practice specifically through anti racist strategies. So this book is a gift to us all. I’m still learning, too, and I wrote this book so we could walk together.

Daisy: Are there any practices that you regularly do to determine whether your work still feels fulfilling to you?

Lorena: I go through seasons. Sometimes those seasons include a lot of creating, envisioning, and producing. Other seasons involve consumption: I read, I watch, I listen. So I try hard to stay tuned to myself and my needs. I listen to what my body is saying and try to respond to it. I work to create an environment for it to thrive. When I have ideas that won’t stop coming, I don’t fight them. I let them flow. I jot them down. I trust myself. When my brain doesn't want to do anything, I let it rest. I read poetry to heal. I spend time in prayer and worship. I see a therapist and process. I watch movies and see us on screen. I imagine and let the land hold me. It is through this process that I know my work is worthwhile. That’s how I sustain, but also I how my work keeps going and giving.

The Anti-Racist Teacher: Reading Instruction Workbook, available for sale on Lorena’s website
The Anti-Racist Teacher: Reading Instruction Workbook, available for sale on Lorena’s website

Daisy: How can people learn more about you and your work?

Lorena: People can sign up to receive content from us via The Multicultural Classroom website. We share blogs, resources, and more. The Anti-Racist Teacher: Reading InstructionWorkbook is available for purchase on the website as well!

Daisy: Thank you for your work, Lorena! The Anti-Racist Teacher: Reading Instruction workbook is an incredible resource for anti-racist instruction and we are so happy to amplify and celebrate your work.  

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About the Author

Lorena Germán (she/her) is an immigrant from Dominican Republic and raised in the U.S. She attended public schooling from first grade through high school. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English Communication from Emmanuel College and her Master of Arts in English from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English.

She is an advocate for the practice of a culturally sustaining pedagogical approach in education. Lorena has been in the field of education, working in various settings, since 2001. Her extensive experience in a myriad of settings ranging from extra curricular youth work to community spaces to the traditional classroom, equips her to offer sound advice as to strong teaching practices. Lorena has held educational leadership positions at the department level, school-wide level, and in the larger district level from designing curriculum to strategizing for improvement. She is the Chair of the National Council of English Teacher’s Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English and she’s a co-founder of #DisruptTexts. Currently, she teaches at Headwaters School in Austin, TX.

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