Dr. Camika Royal Women’s History Month Spotlight

The Center for Black Educator Development is spotlighting dope Black women in education throughout March in honor of Women's History Month. This initiative seeks to highlight current and future Black women in education. Dr. Camika Royal is an incisive scholar-warrior, a critical race theorist, an urban education expert with more than 20 years of experience, and a fierce defender of our collective humanity. She uses her teaching, speaking, and writing to oppose Anglo normativity, anti-black racism, cultural oppression, patriarchy, and transphobia.

What/who inspired you to become a teacher?

Two little Black boys I worked with who were in kindergarten and first grade in Durham, North Carolina, in the late 1990s inspired me to become a teacher. I wanted to help them learn how to read and how to be good humans despite some of the challenging things around them.

Share one moment when you felt you had the most impact as a teacher.

I’ve been an educator for 25 years, and it’s hard to think of just one moment. One of the most beautiful experiences is seeing the fruit of my labor, the beauty of seeing my students years and even decades after I was their teacher, and seeing who they have become. I am honored to have been their teacher, and I love to see my former students flourishing.

What advice would you share with a future Black teacher?

Remember that your students are full, whole human beings. Teach your grade and content and expect students to meet high standards, but know that humans develop at their own individual paces, not for our prescribed expectations. Give students grace. Give yourself grace. And keep going. It may take some time before you see the fruit of your labor.

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