Educator Feature: Carson Hickox
7th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Crook County Middle School
“I am constantly impressed with Carson’s learner’s mentality, especially in equity topics. He is always looking for ways to build belonging in his classroom and school. In our REN work, Carson isn’t afraid to speak his mind while also being upfront about his learning edges.”
Carson Hickox is a 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher at Crook County Middle School
Carson, tell us a little bit about your role and where you work?
I teach 7th Grade Social Studies (world history) in Prineville, Oregon. I have taught here for 5 years and have developed some awesome friendships with colleagues! I enjoy the students and their perspectives that they bring to the classroom.
It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! What does it mean to you to be an Asian American educator?
It means a lot to me. I think we live in a culture that has become very individualistic and consequently has devalued healthy intertwined relationships. Within Hawaiian culture there is the idea of Aloha meaning love and care for those around you. One of my favorite Olelo Nau or Hawaiian proverbs is, “Ua ola loko i ke aloha” meaning, “love gives life within.” I try to carry this idea into my classroom. Each student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. My love and care for them gives them life through care, nurturing, and being a warm-demander. I learned this principle through the love from my mother and Grandma Nona who were proud, strong, Hawaiian women.
Do you have suggestions or ways Central Oregon educators can celebrate and honor this month with their students? (Resources, activities, ideas, etc.)?
One of the biggest ways is to enjoy the music of the AAPI culture. NPR often does tiny desk concerts around the music related to heritage month. Sometimes playing this during class time brings peace and joy to the classroom. This biggest way is to treat all AAPI students in your classroom with dignity in respect as many have experience harsh criticism and indignities as result of the misinformation after the COVID 19 pandemic.
Why is it important that we support educators of color in Central Oregon?
Our culture is becoming increasingly more multicultural and mutli-racial. Even in a particularly homogenous region like Central Oregon, it is vital that we all seek to understand the experiences, challenges, and successes of our BIPOC folks. The reality is that none of us truly understand 100% of what anyone has been through and we have to rely on the stories and experiences of BIPOC teachers and students to grow in our knowledge of struggles and misconceptions those individuals may be experiencing . There is something truly impactful about shared experiences that help us all feel understood, heard and validated.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you to the COREN for supporting educators of color and thank you to all BIPOC educators for working hard to tell the stories and lead your students into a culture of care.