Only when teachers themselves identify themselves as oppressed, can they truly connect with students, who are also oppressed in some way, whether it be race, socioeconomic class, gender, etc., in order to establish a "community of learners." Once we stop seeing "disadvantaged" kids as being disadvantaged, or "unfortunates" as Freire says (p. 54) can we reach them and teach them. This has been a HUGE realization for me in the past few weeks/months. I always knew that I wanted to teach in the city, but it was always for the wrong reasons. I would tell people that I wanted to help those kids. Now I realize that my view of those kids as being "unfortunates" has hindered my ability to teach them.
I think that only once teachers can get past the idea that they are the "expert" in the class (oppression!!!), can they really teach their students. This ties into establishing a community of learners as well, as in such a learning environment, everyone is equal and contributes something. The teacher is there for support rather than to transmit knowledge. This type of community cannot exist in an oppressive environment where the teacher views his/her students as unfortunates. Rather, the teacher must see the value and importance of what each individual student brings to school, every day.