The Michigan Council of Teachers of English is pleased to announce that Jessyca Mathews has been elected as MCTE’s next Vice President. Mathews teaches English at Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint through an inquiry-based curriculum that prioritizes anti-bias, anti-racist revolutionist work. Mathews has been determined in her efforts to maintain attention on the Flint water crisis and to highlight the work of her students from Flint. She is a published author of poetry, essays, and articles and has been interviewed by Time Magazine, MSNBC, and NPR. Mathews was named the State of Michigan’s Teacher of the Year for Region Five in 2019-2020 and was the recipient of MCTE’s Secondary Teacher of the Year Award in 2018.
In her position statement, Mathews said,
The work that we are about to embrace in this new world of education after the pandemic is one filled with change and complexity. MCTE has been and must continue to be a driving force in the expansion of thoughts in Language Arts and its ever-changing educational spaces. We must create and redevelop a community that can reach all learners in a new way of learning that goes past the times of distance learning and panic brought on during a time of survival. MCTE can be a catalyst toward change, drawing on different perspectives filled with support, newness, and understanding. But in being the organization that can bring so much toward educators, that means embracing that change must happen, and redevelopment of things of the past is essential.
This means an expansion of how to reach the P-12 educator for this new way of teaching. This means conversations with college and university faculty to make sure to bridge the gaps that are seen between each level of students. MCTE will have to take on added responsibilities to provide more up-to-date resources: informational books, diverse curricular materials, conversations that can reach educators face to face and virtually so that everyone feels that they are part of a unit in moving forward for our students. MCTE will have to re-envision its professional development and conference format to ensure that as many educators’ needs are met in these changing times. Most importantly, MCTE must be the first to develop a spirit of support, celebration, and evolution in education. For that to indeed happen, we must first take the steps of creating our development as an organization, which means changes for the better.
We must strive to embrace and celebrate diversity in race, gender, and thought with the people within the organization and materials of support. It is our responsibility to push against the previous ways of education and develop a new space that reaches all people. If this organization does not choose to think of new ideas, it will be filtering into a system of the past, before the pandemic, that no longer exists. Preservice educators need this organization to be the leaders and designers of a new educational world. Our students deserve to have an organization that is willing to push a new ideology in education forward.
MCTE welcomes Jessyca Mathews to the role of vice president and to the four-year presidential cycle. We look forward to her leadership.