I began my professional career as an elementary teacher focused on the power and promise of literacy. At public schools in Austin, Texas and Minneapolis, Minnesota, my young students read and wrote with curiosity and investigated and created beautiful work. My current teaching, as a teacher educator, draws on what I learned with my young students, what I learned in graduate school, and what I continue to learn in my ongoing work in public schools and as a teacher educator.
My scholarship takes up the complexities of learning to be and being a teacher. My first book—White urban teachers: Stories of fear, violence, and desire—was an early entry in what has since become known as second-wave whiteness studies in education. My second book came out of years of conversation and storytelling in a collective I created with former Augsburg teacher education students. We call ourselves the Wild Horses and together we wrote the book (Re)narrating teacher identity: Telling truths and becoming teachers. Another collective that has been important to my scholarship is the Midwest Critical Whiteness Collective, with whom I’ve published a critique of white privilege approaches to teacher education in Harvard Education Review and a book called Whiteness at the table: Antiracism, racism, and identity in education.
I teach courses in elementary literacy education including foundations of literacy, k- 6 literacy methods, and children’s literature. We look at the ways in which literacy learning intersects with issues of language, race, class, and gender. We study anti-racism, culturally relevant practices, and decolonial theory in hopes of becoming the kinds of teachers our students need.
I also participate in policy work around diversifying the teacher workforce in Minnesota. I am the founding director of the state-sponsored East African Student to Teacher Program (EAST). Since 2013, with state and private grants, we’ve supported over 100 East Africans and other BIPOC in becoming licensed teachers. Recently, with Gwen Walz, I’ve launched a new class meant to support teachers in better understanding and intervening in educational policy.
The best way to contact me for an advising meeting is via email. You can also call my office line and I will receive the message. I look forward to talking with you.
- B.A. Indiana University
- M.A.T National Louis University
- Ph.D. University of Minnesota
- Lensmire, A., & Schick, A. (Eds.) (2017). (Re)narrating teacher identity: Telling truths and becoming teachers. Peter Lang: New York.
- Lensmire, A. (2012). White urban teachers: Stories of fear, violence, & desire. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers: Lantham, Maryland.
- Lensmire, T. J., McManimon, S. K., Dockter-Tierney, J., Lee-Nichols, M. E., Casey, Z.A., Lensmire, A., Davis, B. M. (Fall 2013). McIntosh as synecdoche: How teacher education’s focus on white privilege undermines antiracism. Harvard Educational Review, 3(83), 410-431.
- Tanner, S. and Lensmire, A. (2018). Whiteness as chaos and weakness: Our “abnormal” white lives. In McManimon, S.K., Casey, Z.A., & Berchini, C. (Eds.). Whiteness at the table: Antiracism, racism, and identity in education. Lantham, MD: Lexington Books.
- Lensmire, A. (2015). Necessary and insufficient: Teaching and writing in a violent world. In Fashing-Varner, K. J., & Hartlep, N. D., (Eds.). The assault on communities of color: Exploring the realities of race-based violence (182-184). Lantham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.