Making a change

steve wright
2 min readMay 6, 2023


I have been teaching for 17 years. I taught for 10 starting in the 90’s. Then went to work in the tech industry for about 10 years and have been back in the classroom for the last 7 years. I have twin obsessions: adolescent development and transparent systems. I came back to the classroom because the only way we build a sustainable world is with liberatory education. The short answer to why liberatory education: students are able to be positive agents in their own lives. We have perverted our world with governance by an unaccountable few over a subjugated many.

I have been at Oakland Technical High School in the Oakland Unified School District for the last seven years trying to be a hero while decrying the egotism of the heroism I thought I was not pursuing. It’s a bad tactic. We are on strike and I think I have cast myself as some sort of truth-teller? But, in reality, as it always has been with me, my truth is quixotic — which I now understand to mean “useless even if true”. Don Quixote is the hero I have always wanted to be. I have always imagined him to be righteous if not right — exalted by his madness. The attraction is that I can be both righteous and alone. Community is difficult.

My story goes at least one layer deeper than that. When I came back to the classroom 7 years ago I had a series of axioms that I hoped would provide some guardrails for my work:

  1. There is very little value to being right
  2. Neighborliness over purity
  3. Be one of many

I have been a better teacher because of these and these have been instrumental in helping me understand how I can make sense of the world and my place in it. It seems that maybe I have not internalized enough what my value can be. I have spent a lot of time being angry this year. Angry white man.

So, once again, I am going to try and let go of being right. I don’t know how to understand my rival windmills any more but I need to let go of trying.

I am a teacher and a builder. I’m good at it.

Next year I will be moving to Coliseum College Preparatory Academy (CCPA) for a fresh start. I am grateful for the opportunity.



steve wright

The protocols of neighborliness are in contestation with the protocols of purity and the most important question we can ask ourselves is “Who is my neighbor?”