When you think of the font Comic Sans what comes to mind? Artsy, fun, creative? Cartoony, look-at-me, shallow, and informal? I think more of the latter. Unfortunately, I’m still seeing a lot of comic sans behavior out of adults working in education which is so sad.
I will describe the characteristics of this behavior from those who work in education, which has become commonly visible in my opinion, especially on social media. See if you recognize any of these people in your building, district, PLN, or social media circles.
- Communication lacking of substance…like a beautiful cake, but when you take it out of the oven it collapses. (See platitudes, toxic positively, and saying superficial things for like retweets, attention, likes, or selling my product).
- Won’t publicly admit mistakes or faulty thinking and own up to them publicly.
- Skates around equity and race issues like Dorothy Hamill.
- Over-confidently inserts themselves into conversations without doing intrapersonal work.
- Disguises busyness for impactful work.
- Overt and excessive self-promotion.
- Hides behind the comfort of any privilege they have.
- Does not often decenter self and cede the floor to other center marginalized voices and perspectives.
- Regularly avoids, shuts down, or talks in circles when there are hard conversations and pushback….like sitting on a non-stop spinning top ride with no exit door.
It is honestly disheartening to witness in the age of tremendous and broad access to a variety of educators, classrooms, and schools across the world, the ones who do not necessarily represent the real daily work in our schools that are still pulling the rug out from many in our profession with glamour, glitz, empty platitudes and facades. The urgency we must have in education around equity work in all of its forms is imperative. Addressing equity and racism in our schools is and has been a national emergency. Flexible seating, homework, technology access, gifted education, and all have a common denominator which is equity. What power is shifted? What opportunities, access, and treatment is provided to those who are underserved and marginalized? If the lens of equity is not central in your discussions and decisions about dress codes or any other peripheral topics like blended learning, reading circles, or coding you are not helping to improve, move the needle, and fix education.
Right now, comic sans also manifests itself in the reactions of people who are now recognizing whiteness and just seeing how inequitable our educational system has always been. Whiteness is in the air we all breathe. Inequity is entrenched in schools like Axe body spray is in a middle school locker room. Its embedded in our norms, behaviors, reactions, and choices. The discovery of whiteness for so many white people is like fish discovering water. However, we are way overdue, to raising the racism and inequity bar out from the ditch. All educators, especially white educators, please do better. So many white educators must move past the sitting with and discovery portion of racism and inequity to real work and actionable steps. Quit amplifying comic sans in our profession. We all must do more than carelessly and mindlessly retweet and support those engaging in comic sans behavior in our profession. We must move to critical thought then anti-racist and equitable actions as it relates to our practices and beliefs. Refusal, reluctance, or delay allows our educational system to maintain the status quo that does not benefit all. Remember, it’s not just seeing I have privilege, or that I’m woke, or that I know the right lingo, but what are you subversively doing daily to disrupt and chip away at a system that continues to obviously and blatantly not work for marginalized groups? What is your line in the sand? Who else has a line in the sand you can learn from? What is the one thing you are 100% committed to do/not do? What is at least one thing you are willing to remain steadfast and do to disrupt inequity and racism in your classroom or school?
Decide now to do that thing. Do that thing every damn day.