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Sher Anderson Petty

Educator
Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland
High School (16 to 18 years old)
Teacher/Educator, Curriculum Developer
Language Arts And English :

When I was a little girl, during summers spent visiting my grandparents in Eatonville, Florida (the first Black incorporated township in the USA), my way of being in the world earned me the southern pejorative “womanish” from my Nana. I apparently struggled with the Black southern norms around children figuratively and literally “staying in their place”. I recall one such occasion when I refused my Nana’s directive to eat all of the food she had lovingly prepared and doled onto my plate. I refused and offered my unsolicited rationale explaining to her my parents’ belief that indiscriminately cleaning one’s plate teaches a kid not to self-regulate and that it was best to eat a moderate amount of each of the food groups represented on the plate. I even reiterated this for my mortified mother when Nana called her on the phone in a fruitless attempt to gain my compliance. I remained at the table long after my grandparents, my brother and our cousin finished eating dinner, cleaned the kitchen and retired to the living room to enjoy frozen fruit popsicles while watching a baseball game on television. Needless to say I did not join the clean plate club that day (nor any day since); my nutritional needs were sufficiently met by my moderate sampling of each food group and my Nana and I lived to lovingly lock horns another day. Today I wear “womanish” as a badge of honor that symbolizes my beliefs in acceptance & allowance, authenticity, creativity, equanimity, equity/ justice, & vulnerability. The behaviors that earned me punishment as a child are the very behaviors that contribute to my value as a creative, as a third generation public school educator and as an equity advocate today.

My personal mission to wake up (figuratively speaking) and be a beneficial presence on the planet informs my professional mission to learn-teach and advocate for education equity. With over twenty years experience as a public school educator (for primary & secondary levels) and as a professional developer (for tertiary levels) my philosophy of education aligns with John Dewey’s idea that “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” This constructivist perspective makes me and my students active working crew co-learning and co-teaching on our shared learning journey and leaves no space for us to be passive passengers being taken for an edu-taining ride. Each of our strengths and growth areas shape the expedition enhancing our process and elevating our outcomes. We all bring value to the table.

At the various tables in board rooms, classrooms, conference rooms and representative assemblies where I sit, I believe my value at the table centers around: (1) my continued love of facilitating and sharing learning as a journey; (2) my continued investment in honing my craft as a teacher of English/ Language Arts with emphasis on critical thinking, rhetoric and writing; (3) my core belief in the life-changing & community building benefits of a world class public school education; (4) my willingness to build consensus while still speaking the sometimes uncomfortable truths to power.

The “womanish” little girl who sat at her Nana & Grand-Dad’s dining room table, insisted on facts, persisted, and told inconvenient truths is now a woman (a creative, an educator and equity advocate) who now works doing the same at many tables.

Sher Anderson Petty's collections

 

Art & Resistance 5: An Historic Flashpoint Intersection

<p>This collection was created for 2020 Covid Quarantine distance learning.</p>
Sher Anderson Petty
17
 

Art & Resistance 6: History Reconsidered & Antiracism

<p>This collection was created for distance learning during the 2020 Covid Quarantine. </p>
Sher Anderson Petty
22
 

Art & Resistance 4: Unmasked (draft)

<p>If protests make public what is generally kept private, then someone needs to tell America that their racism is showing.   Since March, several states have taken widespread quarantine safety measures (social distancing, shelter in place, & temporary business closures) to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Some, like protesters in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka, CA, object to the CDC safety measures viewing them as infringements on their freedom & civil liberties.  Quarantine protests, like this one on May 15th, reveal America's underpinnings may be sadly soiled beyond repair and destined for removing, refreshing and repurposing.  </p> <p>In the spirit of reusing and recycling in order to reduce waste, it may be necessary to acknowledge some problematic protest signage.  Some signs' rhetoric equated the mandatory wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the mandatory compulsory wearing of torture masks (used on Africans trafficked into slavery) and the sometimes mandatory wearing of muzzles (used for dogs in obedience training).  The protesters' signs explicitly reveal a lack of historical knowledge and imply a false equivalence that negates the humanity of trafficked individuals and the basic dignity of all beings.</p> <p>Art & Resistance 4- Unmasked is a collection inspired by this protest imagery/ rhetoric and extended as a means of: (1) calling out racist rhetoric to interrupt problematic behavior while (2) calling in an opportunity to explore history & intention more deeply, make meaning collectively, and find a mutual sense of understanding across difference.<br /></p> <p><br /></p> <p>  </p>
Sher Anderson Petty
23
 

Art & Resistance 3: The Poetry of Joy Harjo (Part B)

<p>The purpose of this Joy Harjo inspired collection is to model for educators distance learning instruction:</p> <ol><li>using museum artifacts & visual texts to learn/ teach<ul><li>historical/ cultural context for poetry study <ul><li>as a followup to Art & Resistance 3:  Kent Monkman & Indian Residential Schools (Part A)</li></ul></li></ul></li><li>using Project Zero thinking routines to interrogate text</li></ol><p>"(At Home) On Art and Resiliece: Artist Talk with Kent Monkman" presented by the Hirshhorn Museum inspired me to create a collection that, like his art, speaks to the complicated relationship between between indigenous people and settlers in America. I resonated with Monkman's artistic ethos about the heretofore missing narratives of indigenous people and the limited colonial perspective from which their history is most often told. </p> <p>Prior to hearing Monkman speak, I had begun crafting a Smithsonian Learning Lab series of collections centering creators from marginalized groups in America breaking out from preconceptions of their "place" in America's racialized hierarchy.  Art and Resistance 1 is a collection that centers Frederick Douglass as a master of 19th century's version of social media. He wielded his likeness as a weapon against the ubiquity of the anti-black/ racist imagery of his time.  Art and Resistance 2 is an homage to professor, editor, and Nobel & Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison. The collection centers her literary ethos to be among and to write about the African American experience, outside of the white gaze. </p> <p>During the Hirshhorn Zoom event, when Monkman spoke of the resiliency of indigenous people, I knew they would be the subject of my next collection.  In view of my students' limited experience interrogating the complexities of Indian History, Monkman's paintings The Scream and The Scoop provided a visceral entrypoint for my students to get engaged in studying the shameful policy of Residential Indian Boarding Schools as historical and cultural context for a subsequent literary study of the poetry of America's Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.</p> <p><br /></p>
Sher Anderson Petty
20
 

Art & Resistance 7: Black Hair De-colonized

<p>This purpose of this collection is to provide a resource for conversations around issues related to Black American's hair (internalized racism, perceptions of Black hair, hair discrimination & hair agency/ freedom).</p><p><br /></p><p>#andersonpetty #anderson petty #wissit #black hair #good hair #natural hair #pamferrell #Pamela Ferrell  #Cornrows&Co #hairdiscrimination #hair discrimination #hairlove #hair love</p>
Sher Anderson Petty
26
 

Art & Resistance 4: Unmasked

<p>If protests make public what is generally kept private, then someone needs to tell America that their racism is showing.   Since March several states have taken widespread quarantine safety measures (social distancing, shelter in place, & temporary business closures) to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Some, like protesters in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka, CA, protest the safety measures as being infringements on their freedom & civil liberties.  Quarantine protests, like this one on May 15th, reveal America's underpinnings are sadly soiled beyond repair and destined for removing, refreshing and repurposing.  </p><p>In the spirit of reusing and recycling in order to reduce waste, it may be necessary to acknowledge some problematic protest signage.  Some signs' rhetoric equated the mandatory wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the mandatory compulsory wearing of torture masks (used on Africans trafficked into slavery) and the sometimes mandatory wearing of muzzles (used for dogs in obedience training).  The protesters' signs explicitly reveal a lack of historical knowledge and imply a false equivalence that negates the humanity of trafficked individuals and the basic dignity of all beings.</p> <p>Art & Resistance 4- Unmasked is a collection inspired by this protest imagery/ rhetoric and extended as a means of: (1) calling out racist rhetoric to interrupt problematic behavior while (2) calling in an opportunity to explore history & intention more deeply, make meaning collectively, and find a mutual sense of understanding across difference.<br /></p> <p><br /></p> <p>  </p>
Sher Anderson Petty
32
 

Art & Resistance 2: Black Women Subjects Free from the Gaze

<p><strong>Why art &amp; resistance with Black women as subjects in a novel study of </strong><strong><em>Beloved</em></strong><strong>? </strong><br /></p> <ul><li>This lesson may be used as a pre-reading and/ or during reading activity for a study of Toni Morrison's <em>Beloved</em>.  </li><li>The second of my eight quarter (2yr) literature course begins with the reading and critical interrogation of this Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award winning masterpiece.  </li><li>Since many learners carry the misperception that our world may be characterized as post-racial, they have a grossly limited view of how perceptions from so-called dominant groups may oppress racialized groups.  </li></ul><ul><li>This lesson/ collection is designed to help students construct meaning around the intersection of  Black women as creatives/ subjects in literature &amp; art and the concept of the gaze (i.e. the white gaze in the literary canon).</li><li>For students who misperceive the small degree of diversity in the authors studied in their literature classes as post-racialism, it is important to acknowledge the space between where we presently are with respect where we aspire to be as prosumers of literature and art.</li><li>The impetus for continuing to center our literature study in resistance stems from out study of the works of Toni Morrison and her professional ethos that her "sovereignty &amp; authority as a racialized person...be struck immediately" in her writing while  "...not  speak[ing] for Black people;...[but]..speak[ing] to and be[ing] among [black people]".  Her determination "to make sure that the white gaze was not the dominant one in any of [her] books" is an example of the importance and power of authentic creation.</li></ul><p><br /></p> <p>#goglobal #andersonpetty #mgg #wissit2019 #tonimorrison #blackwomen</p>
Sher Anderson Petty
54
 

National History Day: Abolitionists (created by Tess Porter)

<p>This collection brings together <a href="https://edsitement.neh.gov/">EDSITEment</a> and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day.  While originally created for the 2017 theme, "Taking a Stand in History," resources found in this collection are useful for researching other National History Day themes.</p> <p>These resources - including portraits, articles, primary source documents, videos, and websites - highlight four abolitionists profiled in American Experience film <em>The Abolitionists </em>and the National Youth Summit on Abolition: William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown. Additional resources related to abolitionism and other important abolitionists are located at the end. When navigating this collection, please see the standalone text tiles for summaries of section resources.</p> <p>By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.</p> <p>This collection was created in collaboration with <a href="https://edsitement.neh.gov/">EDSITEment</a>, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.<em><em></em></em></p> <p>Tags: civil war; slavery; underground railroad; african-american; national endowment for the humanities; #nhd; #NHD2017</p>
Sher Anderson Petty
74
 

Art as Resistance (2)

<ul><li>How may art be a tool of resistance? </li><li>How have  historical movements used art to further their causes? </li><li>How might current movements use art to further their causes?</li></ul>
Sher Anderson Petty
16