By: Alynah Hyder Ali, Fadumo Deria, Hoda Ahmed, Marie-Josée Bertrand, & Shyam Patel
As a way to address equity and social justice in our program, a few teacher candidates have formed the Teacher Candidates of Colour (TCC) Collective. The TCC Collective’s framework is based on an anti-racist and decolonialist lens, which aims to create a safe space for teacher candidates of colour, and, by extension, our diverse students.
As a first step, a few of us attended the FESI/RSEKN 2019 Conference at York University during the month of August. The conference was titled, “Dismantling Barriers in Education,” which helped us with our own (un)learning around diversity and inclusion in the classroom, particularly in terms of race and race relations. Notably, we were moved by Rania El Mugammar’s session. She explained the importance of solidarity around work involving anti-racism and decolonization. We also met a few students, a part of the Diversity Council from Park Secondary School, who started a similar initiative to the TCC Collective to address and challenge equity issues in their own school. Clearly, issues around racism along with other forms of oppression are prevalent in today’s schools. While there is a lot of work left to do, this conference left us inspired and ready to immerse our own learning and teaching through a harm reduction and trauma-informed perspective.
This year, the TCC Collective will focus on several projects to bring equity and social justice to the forefront. For instance, we are working on an Alternative Education project, which will bring forward events and workshops around pertinent topics. These include but are not limited to anti-Black racism, decolonization, Islamaphobia, queer/trans 101, and teaching consent in the classroom. Our hope is to bring forward individuals and communities with lived experiences around these issues, moving teacher candidates to think about the convergence of the curriculum in terms of equity and social justice. Moreover, teacher candidates will be able to gain knowledge and skills that will equip them to work with a diverse student population, particularly students who are historically marginalized and stigmatized in the classroom.
Our TCC Collective looks forward to bringing much needed conversations and projects to our program. If you have any questions, want to know about our other project, or are interested in joining the TCC Collective as a teacher candidate of colour, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.