“The classroom needs to be that space for dialogue.”

Video transcript:

What created my passion to teach is the ability to make change. 

To take a kid from “I don’t care” to “I’m never gonna forget that.” It’s that right there. Passion. Love. 

At night, I won’t be able to go to sleep, ’cause I’m not done.

I wanna do it. I wanna finish it, ’cause it just geeks me out.

My main goal as a teacher, especially one who teaches history, is to create an informed citizenry. 

My biggest hope is that they care. That they care about the world around them, the people around them.

It’s not about teaching of events, it’s about teaching about the social forces that created them. 

I don’t want my students to ever walk out thinking I’m the holy grail — that I am the one that has the answers. That instead that it’s a dialogue, that there’s a dialogue of experiences that help create and construct reality. 

We need that space to have a dialogue. 

The fear in my mind of saying the wrong thing is a fear I have as a teacher constantly. 

And that scares me as an educator who constantly is trying to create positive dialogue that considers all sides of the debate. 

The classroom needs to be that space for dialogue. 

My drive is to get my students to think, and if they leave my classroom, and in 10 years I influenced their engagement in this conversation, I have won.

And everything I did was worth it. 

–Johann Somerville
High School Teacher at San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Hayward, California

This video is one of 20 teacher interviews created to encourage the general public to #passthe🎤 to a teacher. You can view all video interviews here, on YouTube, on Facebook, or on Instagram Reels.