Ben Lathrop, NBCT

Ben Lathrop is a National Board Fellow. He teaches English Language Arts at Harding High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has worked for ten years. He currently teaches Literature and Performance and English 10. A National Board Certified Teacher since December 2018, Mr. Lathrop is currently mentoring a group of 10 teachers at his school who began t he certification process this year. He is committed to excellence in teaching in his own classroom and beyond. In addition to teaching English, he works part-time as faculty adviser to the student newspaper at Minneapolis College, where he draws on his background in news reporting to support student journalists. Mr. Lathrop is married and has six children, ages 10 to 18, and two cats. In his free time, he enjoys going on dates with his wife, reading, discussing theology, bicycling, and making music

Racism, Privilege and Implicit Bias: One Teacher’s Journey, Part 2

December 16, 2019

Last week I wrote about my personal journey to a better understanding of my own white privilege and implicit biases. This week, I would like to suggest three concrete steps white teachers like me can take to acknowledge and address issues of systemic racism in our schools. We can actively decide to set aside our defensive attitudes. Like many white people, I tend to bristle when accused of having implicit biases or, worse, “being racist,” and that response is understandable. As teachers and learners, however, we can acknowledge that we have a lot to learn from the experiences of others.…

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Racism, Privilege and Implicit Bias: One Teacher’s Journey, Part 1

December 6, 2019

I can vividly remember the first time I encountered racism. A white student, a senior in high school, had just finished reading Richard Wright’s Native Son. It was, to my knowledge, the first book by an African-American writer that he had ever read. Another white student asked him whether it was difficult to read. “Well, no,” he said. “I mean, the author is black.” “That’s racist!” she replied. And of course, she was right. It was a good thing she said something, because until that moment, the student had never really given any thought to his implicit biases or entertained…

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Inside the Story

October 8, 2019

The students in my International Baccalaureate Literature and Performance class recently read “The Bean Eaters,” a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks about an elderly, very ordinary married couple who share meager meals and memories: They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair. Dinner is a casual affair. Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, Tin flatware. Two who are Mostly Good. Two who have lived their day, But keep on putting on their clothes And putting things away. And remembering . . . Remembering, with twinklings and twinges, As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that…

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