Pathways2Teaching: Being and Becoming a “Rida”
This chapter describes Pathways2Teaching, a precollegiate program designed to engage high school students of color 1 in exploring the teaching profession as an avenue for engaging with, giving back to, and righting wrongs within their communities. In order to increase the number of teachers of color in our nation’s schools, we must first develop students’ sociopolitical and critical consciousness as a means of disrupting the educational inequities they have experienced, for themselves and for their communities. Students with a strong sociopolitical consciousness not only view the world critically and understand the complexity of systems of oppression and privilege but also intentionally develop skills and a commitment to action to rectify those unjust systems ( Watts, Williams, & Jagers, 2003). Furthermore, students begin to see teaching as a way to impact change in and for their community-an opportunity to become what Duncan-Andrade (2007) described as “Ridas”—a reference to a popular hip-hop term describing someone’s loyalty and commitment to their people. When describing highly effective urban teachers, Duncan-Andrade stated, “Ridas are consistently successful with a broad range of students. . . . The depth of their relationships with students allows them to challenge students and get notable effort and achievement” (p. 623). Developing Ridas is the primary goal of the Pathways2Teaching program, which is an academically challenging course for students attending low-performing high schools.