Daily Musings 92 “Teaching Beyond the Surface”

One of the highlights of the 2019-2020 school year was being accepted into a leadership program with my teacher’s union for BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) women in Ontario. Only 20 women are accepted for the program each year and I’d applied once or twice in the past, but wasn’t successful. Finally, it was my turn, my time. Or so I thought.

Our cohort of this most amazing program got hijacked by 2020. First because of province wide teacher strikes and then Covid. It was truly sad. I’m still heartbroken and recovering from the loss because this program is brilliant. It was filling us BIPoC women educators up in a way, that we aren’t usually empowered. We left every session looking forward to the next. We left believing (or getting closer to believing) that we were capable of achieving anything we put our minds and our purpose to.

So, when it became official that we weren’t going to be able to complete the program we were devastated. None of us wanted to be, as one of my friends and colleagues in the program exclaims “half-baked graduates”. Nevertheless, we’d made lifelong connections and had much more to learn. I was amongst a group of seriously passionate educators and we wanted to make use of our coming together and do more. What exactly, we weren’t sure, but we were open and committed to figuring it out.

Once we were no longer consumed with emergency remote learning, we shifted our gears. In light of the racial uprisings across America and the world, and being bombarded constantly with obviously performative, surface level, responses to deep-seated issues of inhumanity and injustice we decided we were going to do our own thing.

We love teaching and addressing issues surrounding social justice but have no patience for surface level nonsense that either does no good at all, or causes further damage. We have many ideas but our main motivator is instilling and developing deep, critical consciousness in educators, students, parents, anyone who cares really. Teaching Beyond the Surface, that’s what we call ourselves. We want, in a variety of ways, through a variety of mediums to address key issues and points of concern that continually get missed, glossed over, simplified and/or excluded within the education system.

Once school closed for the summer, we decided we were going to create a podcast (not that any of us knew how to do that) in response to CNN and Sesame Street’s Town Hall on Anti-Racism. And we did it. It’s not very podcast like, and seems to be more like an instructional guide for teachers, but we did it! We set a goal and we did it. And on this 13th last day of 2020 I’d like to acknowledge my gratitude for everything that brought us six BIPoc women educator’s together.

We had/have endless plans and projects that we set timelines for, but once school resumed everything to do with ‘Teaching Beyond the Surface’ has paused. There’s simply no time. My hope is that we can have a ‘meet’ during our winter break and turn a much needed venting session (we have MUCH to vent about) into a podcast. So, stay tuned!

Did you create anything this 2020?

Unpacking the Sesame Street Town Hall on Racism


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