Team Education: 2017-2018 School Year Wrap-up

Longer days and rising temperatures can only mean one thing: school’s out for summer!

Depending on who you ask, this time of year can bring about a range of emotions.  Although I don’t actually get a 2-month summer break, I’m still feeling all the bittersweet feels that some with the end of the school year.  On one hand, I feel really proud of the all that Team Education accomplished this year.  On the other, I’m kinda sad that I don’t get to spend my days with kiddos/teens anymore (seriously though, who am I going to talk to about Riverdale now?)  But most importantly, the end of the school year (or anything really) is a time when you can look back and reflect on your work: what did we do well and what can we make even better?

My favourite part about visiting schools is getting the chance to meet so many strong, kind, and smart people; this year, my team facilitated over 200 workshops and spoke to more than 5,000 students!  The youth that I meet seriously won’t stop impressing me with their desire to listen and learn from others, their willingness to adapt to change, and their drive for justice.

We spent most of our days giving workshops for middle and high school aged youth on gender, sexuality, discrimination, and bullying.  These workshops are especially important because they come at a time where folks are trying to figure out who they are and need reassurance that they are valid and aren’t alone.  It is so important that we teach kindness, acceptance, and diversity from a young age which is why we are so thankful for the elementary teachers who invited us to speak to younger grades as well!

One of the most important parts of our workshops is the anonymous Question Box; the contents of the box really paints a picture of where we are as a society.  About half of the submissions are questions and myth busting, which is super important because the general population knows very little about queer and trans people (and the little that they do is often based in harmful myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes).  The other half of the notes are much more personal and consists of folks looking for life advice, privately disclosing their gender or orientation (especially when they’ve never felt safe telling anyone before), or simply asking “am I normal?” Considering the amount of introductory questions I am asked and the stories of discrimination I hear, it is perfectly clear why our work is important: we can’t stop talking and teaching about LGBTQ2S people and experiences.

Education is SUCH an important and fundamental part of promoting acceptance and inclusion.  In my workshops, I have seen firsthand how education can shift people’s entire attitude towards LGBTQ2S people from hostile to empathetic.  This year was a blast – can’t wait to do it again in September!

Your friendly neighbourhood Education Coordinator,

Sabrina

P.S. If you are planning ahead for next year, feel free to get in touch with me over the summer to discuss workshops! (education@ccgsd-ccdgs.org)