Team Education kicked off October with two GRIS workshops presented by Blue and Mylène at Elizabeth Wyn Wood Alternate High School. As a former student of an alternative high school, Blue loves getting to work with other students who excel in non-normative learning environments and relating to them through their shared experiences. The students’ depth of knowledge ranged from just beginning to develop an understanding of the immense diversity of gender and sexuality that exists, to being comfortable enough to share some of their own personal experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community with their classmates. Still, every student was respectful, engaged, and thoughtful in the class discussions of relationships, identity, and intersectional oppression. Mylène and Blue left the school feeling inspired and can’t wait to return for more workshops on November 4th!
While Blue and Mylène were feeling the love at Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Sarah was teaching Mental Health: Identifying Risk and Support at Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada.
Then on October 5th, Blue and Mylène headed to Orleans to give a lunchtime Queer History workshop for Cairine Wilson’s GSA. Compressing several centuries of queer oppression and activism into a 30 minute period was a vigorous task but the students and teachers were fantastic in listening attentively to the speedy lesson and left with some interesting movements and events to explore further. Team Education plans to return to Cairine Wilson in November to do a GRIS-style Q and A with the GSA to explore some of the more personal experiences of being a queer person in Canada.
The following week, Blue and Mylène visited Hillcrest to present two Queer History workshops to a Geography class and a World Issues class. In the World Issues class, Blue and Mylène chose to modify the workshop to be more discussion-based rather than purely a presentation. The interactive format kept the students engaged and interested in the discussion, and was very successful in communicating the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community in Canada throughout history, and we would love to make use of this customized format for more presentations in the future!
On the 14th, J.H. Putman graciously invited Team Education to present Junior GRIS for their Grade 6 classes. We are consistently impressed by the dedication to fostering diversity and learning by the staff and students at J.H. Putnam. The students were so knowledgeable on the topics of discrimination and bullying that Blue and Mylène once again chose to switch up the format of the workshop and turned it into a student-dominated discussion, with only minor prompting from teachers or presenters. Young people are often so knowledgeable already that providing them with the space to explore their own ideas and experiences with big issues, like racism and homophobia, can be an incredibly constructive, empowering, model of education.