Stepping Back into the School Year

The time has arrived to enter into a new school year. This summer I focused on decompressing from the previous 18 months of pandemic teaching. I found the need to decompress and remove myself from all things associated with teaching was very necessary for my overall well-being. Additionally, the process of decompressing was difficult and unnatural. As an educator, my summers traditionally center on professional learning throughout to improve my abilities. Yet, this summer I found my brain could not handle any form of learning. When I would attempt to do anything related to school, my brain just shut off. This was really telling. 18 months of intense teaching and learning clearly took its toll on my ability to process and engage. My body was literally telling me to stop all that I had traditionally done throughout the summer and focus on rebuilding, restoring, and recalibrating. Continue reading Stepping Back into the School Year

Black History is every day

For me, my love of tea cakes began as an homage to my grandmother. I still see her rolling the dough and cutting the tea cakes with a glass jar, while I wait for them to come out of the oven. Tea cakes were what we had to connect us to our family, our community, and our past. My sisters and I in the mid 1980s decided to open a restaurant without really knowing what we were doing. We served soul food and one of the things we served was a tea cake. Tea cakes were always around in my life. I realized so many of my family members made tea cakes but they made them at home. We never had them in restaurants, but they were always around. So we decided to bring them into the restaurant. When the restaurant closed, I found someone who would convert my recipe into one that could be produced at a larger scale. Over time, my calling has become to elevate the tea cake to its rightful place as a cultural touchstone and pay homage to our ancestors. The tea cake was a way to still savor life and have something sweet even when things were hard.  Continue reading Black History is every day

Finding Peace in the Wild as Educators and Bringing the Wild to Our Students

Seeking knowledge and preparedness (my way of controlling what I could about venturing into the wild), I spent the months leading up to our tour of National Parks in the American West intently reading books and articles and watching documentaries about history, flora, fauna, and wildlife in the parks. I prepared but also braced myself for unpredictable experiences such as a grizzly bear encounter.  Continue reading Finding Peace in the Wild as Educators and Bringing the Wild to Our Students

How movements like #BlackBirdersWeek can help students see themselves as environmentalists

This past school year we focused our attention on how birding is an activity that can help city-dwellers experience urban forests as places for practicing stillness in nature, while also allowing an opportunity to appreciate urban biodiversity we may not typically notice.  Continue reading How movements like #BlackBirdersWeek can help students see themselves as environmentalists

Climate Change is Emotional – for All of Us

Bearing witness to emotions These experiences present a snapshot of the formative experiences of climate change education. These stories made clear the need for fostering safe and facilitative spaces for young people to respond to learning about climate change through their full range of cognitive, bodily and emotive registers. Young people are beginning to be louder in initiating these spaces and are demanding places for these conversations. Educators, parents, politicians and others need to be active in responding to this need and in creating and fostering spaces alongside young people that give social permission to experience and express emotion about climate change. Continue reading Climate Change is Emotional – for All of Us