TED talk – November 2015
As a black woman from a tough part of the Bronx who grew up to attain all the markers of academic prestige, Dena Simmons knows that for students of color, success in school sometimes comes at the cost of living authentically. Now an educator herself, Simmons discusses how we might create a classroom that makes all students feel proud of who they are. "Every child deserves an education that guarantees the safety to learn in the comfort of one's own skin," she says.
In this inspiring talk, Dena Simmons challenges listeners to confront their fear and to attend to the safety and wellbeing of our students. Motivated by the pursuit of education, and destined to return to her home neighborhood, Simmons reflects on the journey that led her to educating others so that they too may seek a better life. Through a thoughtful reflection on the interaction of students, parents, communities, and the individual teacher, Simmons encourages listeners to become more compassionate and culturally responsive educators.
Through her experience as a child growing up in the Bronx and an educator in the Bronx, Simmons discusses the importance of creating safe spaces for all students to thrive.
Dena Simmons is selected as MAKER as part of the AOL/PBS MAKERS series of women who make America (United States). Dena Simmons discusses that the first step in educating children is creating a safe environment for them to learn.
In this short clip, Dena discusses her champion, her mother, and explains why she returned to her hometown, the Bronx, to be a teacher.
Dena Simmons discusses the power of bringing together educators of color to discuss their authentic experiences, foster a network of support, and to build a pipeline of teachers that better reflect their school's community.