Month: April 2021

54. Pandemic pedagogy, one year later

How have our ideas and understandings shifted over the year about teaching in a pandemic? Today on the show, I bring back the guests that were featured in episode #30. I’m your host Celeste Kirsh and we are Teaching Tomorrow. 

Adam Caplan, Lara Jensen, Garth Nichols, and Les McBeth were the dream team that I spoke to very early on in the pandemic. Like, I want to say that I recorded the conversations with them a few days into the March 2020 lockdown. We didn’t entirely know what we were getting into, but one thing was clear: these folks would be thinking about pandemic pedagogy in an interesting way. And they did and you listened: this one is still my number one most listened to episode of the podcast! 

One year later, instead of solo interviews, we all gathered together on a Tuesday night and had a roundtable discussion about what we’ve learned in the past year, how teachers are using this moment as an opportunity, this idea of learning loss, and how we are really doing. 

As always, these four edu-superstars have powerful insights about our present tense and what the next stages of learning might look like. Please welcome to the show: Adam, Lara, Garth, and Les.

Oh and not to forget the no knead bread recipe that Adam was referencing!

53. Affinity groups for educators with Talking Together For Change

How can educators practice having brave conversations to positively affect change? I am so excited to share with you today the conversation I had with Talking Together for Change.

I had never met the three founders of Talking Together for Change before this interview and can I just say that it felt like I was just part of their friendship the moment we began talking? I think this is such a sign of all of their caring, compassionate, and inclusive ways of existing. Aparna Singhal, Lindsay Core, and Riisa Walden are the trifecta that founded Talking Together for Change and let me tell you–the work that these human beings are doing is so important and needed in education right now.

You might have heard of affinity groups, but if not, allow me to give you a little primer: affinity groups are intentional, facilitated conversations with people who share an identity. The goal is to help process what it means to live with and work against discrimination. Affinity groups can be formed on the basis of race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, though Talking Together For Change focuses on two main groups: BIPOC Educators Affinity Groups and White Accountability Groups. 

I loved this conversation. These leaders drop a lot of wisdom and knowledge, but there is also so much laughter in this episode and I think this is important to highlight: while we are having brave conversations, there is also so much joy in this kind of work. Please give a warm welcome to the show: Aparna, Lindsay, and Riisa.

Things Mentioned in This Episode:


52. Teaching spoken word poetry with Britta B

How might spoken word poetry ignite a passion for writing, language, and performance in young people? Today on the show I speak with spoken word poet, Britta B.

Britta Badour is a spoken word poet, performer, emcee, voice actor, mentor, and teaching artist. She is also an MFA candidate at the University of Guelph. I first saw her perform–more than 10 years ago–at the Toronto Poetry Slam. She has since then made a living out of words, writing, poetry, and inspiring creativity. In this episode, we talk about Britta’s creative process, the importance of mentorship, and the reluctance of self-identifying as a poet. You don’t have to love poetry or slam to get so much out of this conversation. I hope all teachers who include writing instruction in their classes can hear this interview as a framework for how to help students become better, more confident, and braver writers. 

This is a really good one that I am so excited about. Enough intro, let’s now hear from Britta B. Click on the Soundcloud link to hear the full episode! 

My three key takeaways from this conversation are:

  1. Mentorship matters: Britta saw her own potential as a writer and a leader because her teachers let her know what they saw in her. Be that teacher for your students! 
  2. It is essential to have a community of people to support us with creative endeavours. How we make our classrooms this community really depends on us! But it also doesn’t have to be in the classroom–look around and see what other communities might exist for young people to develop as writers that we can connect our students to: clubs, programs, or workshops outside of the class
  3. Representation matters. If students are going to see themselves as writers one day, bring in working professionals who exist in the world of words to your classrooms. Ensure that the writing you share with your students includes a broad array of voices, formats, styles, and backgrounds. Students will only see possible futures for themselves if they actually see them. 

Things Mentioned in this Episode: