When the COVID closure first began I think so many of us really didn't know what our next steps would look like. The inequity had a million spotlights shone directly on it. Many responses began with we need to do something and slowly tapered off to we need to HOPE things will get better. Those responses really aggravated me, hope to me was like sitting with cookies in the oven without a timer. Sure we might time it right but we are likely going to burn the cookies and NO ONE LIKES BURNT COOKIES. We have to do more than HOPE.
Around this same time I took part in the Liberate and Chill online learning experience. It was a spectacular opportunity to learn from amazing experts. Two of those folx were lizzie fortin and shea martin. These amazing educators talked to us about dreaming. At the time I was struggling with this "magical hope" concept but I remember both talking about the idea of radical hope and freedom dreams and I realized that many who speak about hope and dreams are not talking about it as some magical thing that will just happen but that it is that commitment to want better and work towards it, yes work.
I use to talk a lot about how I hoped one day we would have some great PD opportunities in Canada. shea and lizzie helped me see that working towards that dream was possible. This week we held our professional development event that brought incredible educators to Alberta teachers. We learned so much and came together as a community in large part because of a dream that I so desperaely wanted to work towards. It may seem trivial, a conference, but it was powerful. Over two days I watched people find connections as we try to improve our practice. I saw people who have always wanted a chance to present take the stage. I learned about bias and representation and COMMUNITY. We shared our stories and talked about the needs our students will have when they return to us and how one of those needs will be for us to stop worrying about them being behind and to meet them where they are and build where we stand. So many amazing speakers that I really could only dream to bring to Alberta teachers agreed to lead our learning. It was a powerful learning experience for me and I hope it was for others.
As I sat and reflected yesterday, as it all ended, I immediately thought about how I might bring this to my class. What lessons did I learn that I wanted to pass on to them? And in the end I decided I want to help them dream to.
To do this I will have to put that learning I so appreciated to into practice. I need to build my students up, help them discover their stories, provide spaces free of oppression, to help them feel a part of the community of our school, to know they are seen as their whole selves. When this happens, when the barriers are made weaker, we have more time to dream. To explore those ideas that excite us.
I want this for my students this year.
I want us to be safe.
I want us to be healthy.
I want us to learn.
I want us to grow.
I want us to dream.
Dreams come true when we work towards them.
Maybe my next conference we will be sitting and learning from shea and lizzie and so many others.
I can dream :)