Bending The Arc June 2021

A Social Justice Newsletter for Educators

“You know what’s right and what’s wrong and if you see something wrong within your community, especially if you’re a student who’s affected by it, you have to feel like you can do something…” - Isabel Iino, class of 2022, AIS Vienna

It’s June, it’s Pride and it’s a wrap!

First of all, Congratulations! Second, Well done! Third, Deep breaths, feel your feelings, take your foot off the gas; it’s alright.

I have all kinds of thoughts and feelings at the end of every school year and this time those feelings and thoughts seem a bit heavier but also more scattered. There’s a lot that I can’t quite put my finger on but I know something’s there. Maybe you have an idea of what I’m talking about. As we put the finishing touches on this school year and think about how we’ll prepare for the next, I offer this month’s newsletter as a buffet of reading and learning options for the short and longer term.

In honor of Pride - the month-long celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic folks, I want to draw your attention to this stellar TEDx talk by Joanna Lippert (above), a HS Senior at IS Luxembourg: It’s Not Enough To Just Talk About It.

Also have a look at the Swiss Group of International Schools (SGIS) Pride Educators website which has excellent teaching resources to help us build our knowledge base towards becoming a fully welcoming environment for all of our students. I learned about the website through a conversation with Kaitlyn Somers of Zurich International School and other educators and AISV student, Izzy Iino on a recent edition of Global Take about Student-Centered Diversity and Inclusion.

Rest and Recovery

I hope you are building sufficient rest and recovery into your summer plans. Among the many teacher learning opportunities I found this asynchronous reflective experience, Nurturing The Nurturers Unplugged with Alex S. Venet and her team. Consider it as a companion to your other summer learning plans, whatever those might be. Alex is the author of Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education which was just released in May.

At the same time, there are some topics we cannot afford to sleep on. Witness the right wing backlash against social justice efforts in the United States. If you’re trying to understand the uproar over Critical Race Theory (CRT), here are a few articles which provide context and overview.

What’s on your reading agenda?

I want to make a final proposal that pertains to your summer reading. You may have a stack already waiting for you (in fact, I hope you do!). That said, please consider taking some time to look at what’s available in recent Young Adult fiction in addition to other texts. There is a remarkable wealth of titles, topics, writers that it’s nearly impossible to keep abreast. The AIS Vienna Middle School has chosen Jason Reynold’s Look Both Ways as their shared summer reading title.

My friends, Joel Garza and Scott Bayer, co-founders of #THEBOOKCHAT, have a wonderful new list that suggests alternative or companion titles for traditional HS ELA novels. There are more recent as well as older options. My point is that it makes for a fantastic reading list, whether or not you are teaching novels!

May your summer days be long and restful.

Wishing you the very best,

Sherri

Photo credit: Spelic 2021

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