This amazing teacher in the Baltimore has published more than 100 students’ work over the years, teaching them about voice, business, and responsibility, besides any literary lessons learned. Amazing work. Bravo, Ms. Hall.
Laquisha Hall has spent 17 years educating young Black minds in Baltimore—the past five years at Carver Vocational-Technical High School—and as a teacher she always did whatever she could to foster a love of reading, writing, and books. Frustrated by the district’s English curriculum, she raised $500 to $600 a year to stock her in-class library with young-adult literature tackling race, culture, and identity. Spurning reading logs, she invited published YA authors into her class to show students that the books they read are books they can write. And she always encouraged them to choose their own books and generate their own questions. In July, she transitioned to a new role as an instructional coach for the Baltimore City Public Schools—but she intends to keep advocating for Baltimore kids.
After she started teaching English at Carver in 2015, it wasn’t long before Hall decided she wanted to publish her students’ writing. “Being a published author myself … I wanted to give my students that same opportunity, because so many of them carry powerful stories,” she told me. “In the education world, we always talk about giving students a voice. What does that actually look like?”