Readers often ask what compelled me to write a novel about the Holocaust. After all, I am not the child of survivors. In fact, most of my family came to North America well before the outbreak of WWII.
When I moved away from being a classroom teacher to the role of Instructional Coach I knew my passion was in equity work. In Peel we have a five year School Success Plan with one branch of focus dedicated to equity and inclusion. Within the equity and inclusion branch of the plan there are four communities identified as a focus for teachers to gain additional knowledge about in order to better teach and support those students to learn and be successful in Peel schools. The four groups are: students who identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community, First Nation, Metis and Inuit students, black male students, (this year the focus shifted to all black students) and students living in poverty.
As the blog manager for Facing Canada, I have the privilege of working with many very talented, dedicated and creative teachers. There are so many teachers who come up with fantastic and meaningful projects and assessments for students that deepen learning and pique student interest. I have often been inspired by projects posted, and recently had a chance to adapt one for my own classroom that had been on my mind for awhile.
As part of a Facing History and Ourselves course, educators and students reflect on the power of apology. These apologies are often examined within the context of transitional justice. In Canada our students explore the apology given by the Canadian Government for their role in the establishment of Indian Residential Schools. In advance of a close reading of this apology, students and their teachers consider moments in which they have either given or received a meaningful apology.
Why is studying history relevant?
Canada Day, Independence Day, Bastille Day. Theses are days of celebration. People gather, wave flags, watch fireworks, and enjoy a long weekend in celebration. But what exactly are these days in celebration of? Why do we mark particular days with significance? Are these days equally as important for all people? Why do we honour the people we do? Are these people significant for all groups and generations? Can we change the way we remember individuals or honour new ones in light of new information?
A call out to all Facing History and Ourselves Educators. We are looking for Facing History and Ourselves educators who would be interested in blogging for us. You do not need any blogging experience. You will be working with myself, Facing Canada blog curator Alysha Groff, each step of the way to develop your blog post. You can propose an idea to write about, or simply let me know your interest, and I will work with you to come up with a blog idea that will best demonstrate your experiences as a Facing History educator. Teachers of any grade and subject area that work to include topics of social justice and equity in their teaching through a Facing History lens can write a blog!
As Facing History educators, we know the importance of creating a classroom that is a safe space for students physically, mentally and emotionally. This is of special importance because we engage students in conversations about identity, belonging, difficult histories and contemporary injustices - subject matter that can be uncomfortable and emotional. However, we often forget that we also need to take care of ourselves.
Join us on Monday, October 15, 3:30 - 4:15pm EST for a conversation with Facing History and Ourselves Program Associate Jasmine Wong about creating engaging curriculum based History, Anthropology/Sociology/Psychology, and Genocide Studies projects.
Join us as we have a conversation with Lorrie Gallant, the Education Program Coordinator for the Woodland Cultural Centre (formerly the Mohawk Institute Residential School) about how survivors experience Orange Shirt Day, and what true engagement on this day can look like from education and beyond.
This interactive online video conversation is intended for Facing History and Ourselves educators to listen, to learn, and to share ideas and questions.
Date: Monday, Sep 24th.
Time: 3:30 - 4:15 PM EST
To join from your computer, tablet or phone, go to https://facinghistory.zoom.us/j/668270809 (you will need to download a Zoom app or program so give yourself 2 minutes to do so)
Or Dial in by phone: +1 647 558 0588
Meeting ID: 668 270 809
No RSVP is required.
We hope you can all join us!
Leora Schaefer, Executive Director for Facing History and Ourselves Canada and Jasmine Wong, Senior Program Associate at Facing History and Ourselves Canada, introduce the new office space and share some thoughts and upcoming opportunities for Canadian educators for the start of the school year.