We are happy to announce that our co-founder and Director of Visioning and Partnership, Zoe Piliafas, will be spending the summer as the Equity Seminar Leader for the new Bay Area teachers with Teach For America. She will leave early June until the end of July to support new educators entering into the school system in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Richmond to prioritize equity in ALL of the work they do.
In her words and the Bay Area’s TFA New Vision…
I will support new educators in building a raised consciousness about the existing inequitable paradigm of teaching. I will challenge myself and those around me to demand different, to realize that the status quo is broken and we must begin a new era of innovative education. Teachers are entering into a broken system, I will work with them to develop a critical lens to their work that dismantles the attributes of our schools that perpetuate inequity. This will position them to develop a vision that is a counterpoint to that and become a leadership force that will reimagine ENTIRE schools and systems and transform! I cannot wait to be part of the revolution and the decision that pervasive white supremacist, patriarchal school system is done. The next twenty years we are going to see our current reality turned on its head. Change is a beautiful thing and I am ready to ensure this new group feels inspired and have the tools to enact it!
The approach and vision will embody four key principles:
We must all commit to personal learning, reflection, transformation and seek and develop the resources, experiences and community to support that journey. It is exciting to think of the new ideas, raised consciousness and transformation I will experience. I am also there to listen and reflect.
Teaching for Justice
Teachers will be challenged to enact a rigorous social justice curriculum. In order to make the counter curriculum we must participate and realize that it will be an intense, complex intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical journey.
There will be many times during seminars, new teachers will feel a high level of discomfort and if we learn to embrace the discomfort we will begin to know ourselves and grow more powerful. Teaching for equity requires educators to become deeply familiar with the structures of oppression produced by society and reproduced in our schools. Many of these structures operate by way of harmful paradigms that persist in public schools. The new teachers will depart from Institute with an awareness of the key paradigms that were built off of unjust views on the world, a disposition towards resisting them, and skill at rewriting them/moving past them.
Teaching for equity can feel like a lonely pursuit. Standing in opposition to systems of oppression that have existed for generations can feel overwhelming and hopeless to an individual teacher. Standing in opposition also makes teachers vulnerable to exhaustion and trauma at the hands of a system that more effectively reifies than it does deconstruct oppression. Therefore, teachers need opportunities to come together with peers and mentors engaged in similar equity work to dialogue and connect, in order to build a strong emotional/spiritual support base and to take collective action against oppressive forces.
Teachers need to, first be learners. They must actively listen to those that they seek to stand in solidarity with. Vox Siren is founded on deep listening as the key to understanding. Understanding cannot be reached through needing to be right. I hope to model this with the new teachers and I plan to come back to Portland with new relationships, connections and deeper self-awareness.
If you are going to be in the Bay Area, hit me up!
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