Today was one of the hardest days I’ve had in a long time. Just a really hard day.
It was hard to be a teacher.
It was hard to be a white settler.
It was hard to be a mother.
It was hard to be a woman.
It was hard to be a survivor of sexual assault.
Today was a hard day.
I’m co-teaching a class called Social Justice in Canada? It’s proving to be a very challenging experience. I’ve found it hard to know what to teach and how to teach these things. It’s hard to know how to walk my students, these brand new adults, through such complicated and heavy topics. One of the commitments we’ve made as teachers is to hand over the microphone whenever we can to those who are more qualified to tell the stories. Today that took the form of the Kairos Blanket Exercise, led by the amazing Vicky Boldo.
It’s a word that gets tossed about a lot in academia these days – intersectionality. But I’ve never been so aware of that reality as I was today. Today, when we watched those babies be sent off to residential school for more than a century, then put into care during the Sixties Scoop, I couldn’t help but be a raging mother. Literally a raging-with-rage mother. And when I opened my scroll and read the statistics about missing and murdered women, I couldn’t help but experience a two-pronged devastation and relief – to be so horrified by the loss of so many mothers and sisters and daughters and friends and then to be so grateful that my own stories of assault didn’t end that way. My own tears fell in abundance right in front of my students. And then when I listened to my students talk about the guilt and shame of knowing and not knowing this history, I wondered just what I’ve been doing as a teacher and asking myself what I ought to be doing from now on. I felt protective and proud and nervous for my students. I felt responsible for their pain.
Today was a hard day. Because a lot of yesterdays were even harder.