Savi Ryan says their desire to be a secondary art teacher was influenced by their own high school art teacher. Now, they plan to do the same for their future students.
Savi Ryan MAT ’22 with an endorsement in visual arts says their desire to be a secondary art teacher was influenced by their own high school art teacher. This teacher went above and beyond by guiding them in the college application process and identifying their strengths. Now, they plan to do the same for their future students.
“I want to break down barriers and make our public school system a more equitable place for all students, especially for our BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ students. They need teachers who recognize the negative impacts white supremacy/privilege and discrimination have had on marginalized students.”
Ryan chose Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education and Counseling because of its strong dedication to social justice in all of the programs offered. Every single class that they attended centered social justice and equity in discussions.
“We were taught right away that we are entering a line of work that has many inequities and oftentimes unjust situations. We are learning ways to change that, which has made my excitement and love for teaching grow even more since coming to L&C.”
The process of learning and discussing these topics in Ryan’s program wouldn’t have been the same without the support of their cohort. Everyone built strong bonds through support, motivation, and connections through each other’s lived experiences.
“I am one of only a couple other people in my program who is a first-generation student. I’m also one of the few who has lived in this area my whole life, which has helped me become very familiar with the school system here. I also identify as queer and nonbinary. I believe all of these perspectives and experiences help me bring something special to the cohort.”
Ryan says a meaningful experience during their practicum was participating in a quarterly student-led race conversation program, called Race Forward. During these conversations, student volunteers facilitated conversations about the negative effects of white supremacy and how to make school a more inclusive, safe space for all.
“I was so impressed with my students’ bravery and intellect. It’s not easy to get up in front of a lot of people to discuss heavy subject matters. At times, I even struggle with it. But these students rose up to the challenge and I was SO proud of them. The breakthroughs we’ve had in these discussions were so impactful for me as an educator, and those moments have solidified my decision to be a teacher.”
Ryan plans to immediately incorporate social justice into their post-graduation career by creating safe and equitable spaces in their classrooms for all students present.
“I plan to involve topics of race, gender, class, and culture into my curriculum, and I will have those difficult conversations with my students, their parents, my colleagues, and the administration as they arise.”
Ryan offered some honest advice for incoming students as they start their graduate studies: “It’s going to be harder than you think. But you are so capable and strong, you got this! And ask all the questions that you have! Everyone here is so on top of it and ready to help you and support you in any way that you need. Also, make friends with your cohort members and professors because you’ll need their love and support all the time.”