Who's Defining Success?

Faolan Jones

“My teachers would say, ‘Elijah, why do you dress that way? You’re so bright. You’re not a thug…’ As if that’s all my culture represents…they made me feel like I wasn’t complete, like my culture was inferior.”

—elijah Miles, College Student


In this powerful interview, college student Elijah Miles of Baltimore, US sparks an important conversation about identity, culture, community and the importance of how we define success. Elijah challenges all of us to consider how we define success for our students, for ourselves and for our communities. As you watch, take the time to reflect on these key questions and comment below:

  • How does Elijah’s interview challenge your own assumptions about our students, communities, and our work?
  • What does 'success' mean for your students? Who gets to decide?
  • How does your personal definition of success shape how you perceive your students?


Additional reflections:

  • Read five personal reflections on Elijah’s interview on withGanas.
  • While interning at Teach For America, Elijah gave an impassioned speech to the Teach For America staff in which he challenged educators to rethink how we define success.