Listen and Be Honest

I attended ICSEI, the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement last week. I listened to powerful keynotes by Russell Bishop, Charlene Bearhead, and Warren Simmons. These passionate and articulate educators from New Zealand, Canada and the United States shared themes of equity, caring and action for indigenous, black and latino students which resonated strongly with me.

Photo Credit: cfdtfep Flickr via Compfight cc

This was on the heels of reading I’m Not Your Racial Confessor in Slate magazine, a conversation between Jamelle Bouie, Aisha Harris, Gene Demby and Tressie McMillan Cottom.  (Thanks to Sherri Spelic, blogger and educator, for sharing). Everyone needs to read this. It reminded me not to be “wilfully ignorant” about the reality of systemic racism in our society.

Then yesterday, I read about an interview with Joseph Boyden where he attempted to explain the questions about his ancestry. When asked what Boyden’s role should be within the indigenous community, Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie said, “… behind First Nations, being a supporter, not white-splaining and being a spokesperson.”

So, here I am, a middle class white woman with a life of privilege. I do not know life as part of a minoritized or marginalized group, but I want to understand. I want to be a supporter. I can only do that by listening to learn without imagining that I have any answers. And I need to be prepared for difficult and honest conversations.

Just…listen and be honest.

One Thing Everyone Needs

Photo Credit: thefathersdayquotes Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: thefathersdayquotes Flickr via Compfight cc

“Thank you!”

“I value your participation.”

“What an interesting idea – let’s follow up on that.”

“What do you think?”

We all want to be noticed, valued and to belong. A big fanfare is not always needed, but those moments of quiet recognition that say, “I see you, and you are valued” are powerful.

When people feel as if no one cares they become disengaged and then cynical. That’s harmful for them and bad for the organizations they work for.

We all need to take responsibility to help others belong.

 

Edcamp Hamilton Redux

edcamp-hamiltonToday was our second Edcamp Hamilton and it was great! After months of planning, we welcomed over 60 educators, parents and a student for self directed learning and discussions.  People came from all over southern Ontario, from Belleville through Toronto, Waterloo and Niagara. I reconnected with some many Ontario educators and met some new friends.  And the Smackdown? Epic. Check out the sessions, linked Docs and our Smackdown page at http://bit.ly/edcamphamschedule.

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The openness and level of the sharing and conversation was truly impressive.

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And everyone gave up a sunny Saturday to learn. Wow.

(And below – check out some of my fave pics)

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