Living History Makers: Jillian Turner, Math Teacher, Baltimore City Schools
Every day, educators are making history through their selfless service to our communities. CT3 is recognizing some of these educators through Living History profiles to share their great work and powerful impact. This month we spoke with Jillian Turner, 2nd Grade Math Teacher in Baltimore City Schools.
What is your “Why” for working in education?
My “why” for education is my students. I am a young person committed to building equity into our education system. Educators like myself have the unique honor of serving the students in our communities who will lead our country one day. It is my hope that the skills my students learn in my classroom and the people they become during and after our time together will help them to ensure that this world becomes a better place.
I am deeply passionate about making serving in education a sustainable profession. As our society and economy change, teaching must keep up. Our students deserve us to keep up. School districts must reimagine how to attract and retain talented individuals committed to antiracism and service.
What do you hope for the future of education? How do you work to contribute to that future?
I hope for the future of education that students will be in charge. For too long, adults have allowed compliance and the “status quo” to dominate what is done in schools and why we do it. We must trust our students to advocate for themselves and be open to co-creating the learning experiences they know they need. I work to contribute to this future by listening to my students to learn what they are passionate about. Last year, my students expressed an interest in building their own websites so I built time into our schedules for them to learn Google Sites. I continued the project with my students this year and they are so proud of what they have accomplished. Our students are brilliant, creative, and hilarious. They have so much to share with the world and even more to teach us. We just need to listen.
What is the best piece of coaching you’ve ever received?
The best piece of coaching I have ever received is to not tell myself no.
What is a personal, non-work passion of yours?
I am deeply passionate about health equity. I love to practice yoga, cycle, and cook meals to enjoy with family and friends. Our communities deserve to be holistically healthy, and for far too long, have been robbed of this sense of freedom. Food justice must be included in our conversation about investment in schools.
What or who should we be reading, watching, or listening to right now?
You must be reading Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper, Luster by Raven Leilani, or Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom right now. These books are actively changing the way that I see the world.
I also have been blown away by the podcast “Hear to Slay” by Tressie McMillan Cottom and Roxanne Gay. Their commentary is lifegiving. Finally, “I May Destroy You” is some of the most thought-provoking and well-designed television I’ve ever seen.
Thank you for sharing with CT3, Ms. Turner!
CT3 transforms the quality and culture of education for youth, especially those in traditionally disenfranchised communities.