Month: March 2021

51. Curriculum as a vehicle for change with Dr. Rob Simon

How might schools better serve and support students, especially during this time of great destabilization? 

Dr. Simon is an associate professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at The University of Toronto in the department of Curriculum Teaching and Learning. I asked Rob on the show to speak about the Addressing Injustices project: in this conversation, get into how the Addressing Injustices team use Youth Participatory Action Research to affect change, but we also explore teacher education, the field of multi-literacies, this concept of “productive discomfort” which I honestly had not really considered before this interview. 

I copied out many many quotes while listening to this episode when I was editing it, so this might be one that you have a pen and paper handy as you are listening. Dr. Simon is a generous, thoughtful, and deeply collaborative thinker in education that will gently nudge you towards thinking about education in a different way. 

Let’s get right into it with Dr. Rob Simon.

 I’m taking away a few key points from this episode:

    1. Curriculum is a living, breathing, and malleable thing. It’s not just something that I do to my students. I love this idea of taking the stance of a co-learner with my students–especially right now when everything about hybrid, pandemic learning for me feels so new and unfamiliar
    2. Ask myself what is the purpose of engaging with literature…what is your end goal? LITERATE BEHAVIOR! I need to keep asking myself this question with any reading task that happens in my classroom. 
    3. “I don’t think that what we had before was so perfect, so as we mourn the loss of being in classroom spaces together–which we should–we also shouldn’t think that we had it solved and now the pandemic is the problem.” What might be the opportunities of this moment? 

For those of you that are inspired and want to read more about Rob and his research he just published a book, Teaching Literature to Adolescents. Listeners of the show get 30% of this title and you can get the link to that very sweet deal right here:

Enter the Code: SS2130

That’s all the time for today folks, keep trying to take an inquiry stance, and remember we are teaching tomorrow.

Things Mentioned in This Show:

50. Addressing anti-Black racism in education with Alexis Dawson

How might we learn from the recent human rights annual report published by the TDSB? Today on the show I speak with education activist and parent advocate Alexis Dawson. 

When the recent TDSB Human Rights Report revealed that “race or race related grounds is the most frequent ground of complaint received by the Human Rights Office making up 54% of all complaints,” Alexis Dawson was an obvious person I wanted to talk to. She is the current Community Co-Chair of the Black Student Achievement Community Advisory Committee, she is a school council co-chair at her children’s school, the Former TDSB Ward 9 Trustee, a DEI consultant, and an all around thought leader in our community. 

We speak to the data in this report that shows “that students who self-identify as being Black, Indigenous and Indigenous Spirituality practicing students and gender non-conforming students are much less inclined to feel that school rules are applied to them fairly,” (p. 5) and we go beyond this document to better understand recent moments Alexis has personally experienced that highlight the importance of dismantling anti-Black racism and hatred in all its forms.

This is a powerful, honest, and important conversation about the present tense, but also the future of our schools. Please welcome to the show Alexis Dawson. 


Things Mentioned in this Episode:

49. Teachers as disruptors with Rachel Luke

How might teachers ensure that stories of oppressed and marginalized people get taught in their classrooms. Today on the show I speak with 2020 Prime Minister’s Teaching Award recipient, Rachel Luke.

Rachel Luke is the kind of teacher that we all wish we had when we were in high school. She is dynamic, kind, compassionate, incredibly positive, and obviously loves this profession so much. But beyond her inspiring enthusiasm, Rachel is a disrupter. She uses her power as a teacher to unpack and uncover stories from marginalized groups so students deeply know the past.

In this conversation we get into a lot. We talk about how and why Rachel explores the Holocaust with her students, how and why she makes sure she addresses Residential Schools with every class she teaches, and how and why she intentionally builds rest into her practice as a teacher.

If there is a word that is lingering with me after listening to this conversation, it is INTENTIONAL. Rachel Luke is an intentional teacher that thinks carefully and critically about her power and how to use her platform as an educator for justice. I know you will love Rachel as much as I do–so let’s jump right in.

Things Mentioned in This Show:

Refugee book

Broken Circle, by Theodore Fontaine

Rachel’s Prime Minister’s Teaching Award write up


48. Teacher mental health in a panoramic with Erin Imrie

What are your superpowers and how can you use those for other people in the teaching profession? Today on the show I get to talk to my friend, colleague, and Middle School French teacher Erin Imrie. 

I invited Erin on the show to talk about her mental health journey and how she shares this with the students in our school in an open, honest, and thoughtful way. And while we definitely get into how Erin sees the importance of teachers sharing parts of themselves that might be otherwise “kept behind the curtain”, we get into so much more in this conversation. We talk about the importance of normalizing taking mental health days, how schools benefit from paying more attention to the people with the most vulnerable mental health in the community, and how we can use our unique super powers to effect change. 

Erin has a candid, funny, and refreshing take on teaching and the profession that I know you will love. So let’s get to it, please welcome Erin Imrie to the show! 


Resources Mentioned in This Episode: