Sylvia Hadnot, Facilitator and Social Media Coordinator
Why are you an educator/do you work in education?
I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old. Looking back, I realize that my teachers were some of my first nurturers. I loved their love and the way it made me feel! As a perpetually curious child, I also loved learning. I remember thinking I wanted to be just like my teachers when I grew up, and now I understand that what I really want to be was love, embodied. That’s what they were to me. Now I get to be love embodied for other people. What a treat!
What Black educators did you look up to as a youth?
I had my first Black classroom teacher in undergrad, but my first Black educator was definitely my dad. I looked up to them both. My dad is an incredibly talented artist. He took me to the art studio often growing up and taught me how to mold ceramics, paint new realities and imagine different futures. In undergrad, I had my first and second Black classroom teachers, both Doctor’s of Education. They taught me about Black history and encouraged me to articulate my own experience and place in Black history. I will never forget them. Their names are Doc and Professor Adejemobie.
What does it mean to you to be a Black educator in school spaces?
I don’t spend a whole lot of time educating in schoolhouses anymore, but for me, my being and identity is always political. So, as an educator, I relate everything I am teaching back to the politic — that is society and the ways communities participate in it. This means that whether I am teaching social emotional learning, environmental education, art, special education or something else, I teach through a lens of a racially ambiguous Black woman standing at one point in a legacy of educators and thinkers.
How are you a part of your family/heritage legacy?
My parents are both artists, and I feel like my entire life is an art practice. I define artistry as the act of attention to detail in crafting a product. For me, attention to detail always results in producing something beautiful. So, in a way, this is how I stand in my family legacy: as an artist practitioner.
What’s one thing you’ll do to celebrate or uplift Black History this year?
Same thing I do every day: Be Black and celebrate.