Cornelius Minor opened the WSRA 2020 Conference. This is the 2nd time I’ve heard Cornelius speak. The first was at his session last year at WSRA where he told me that I was “gorgeous” or rather, to be more precise, and totally honest, he said, ” I mean your teaching is gorgeous.” my teaching my partner how to tie a shoe was gorgeous. Lol- regardless, I’m still basking in the “gorgeous” title. All joking aside, Cornelius is a passionate presenter regardless the stage, and he’d much rather converse and interact with his audience than present a keynote, yet his keynote was phenomenal. Corn led the audience to think and reflect on the systems of oppression that work against children. To embrace the uncertain as a means to lead growth and change.
These “systems” work against children regardless if our own personal belief/mindset is different than that of the system.
Cornelius identified 3 poisonous ideologies that exist, 3 common social beliefs allowing us to excuse inequities.
- should know
- transactional graditude
Deservedness– The common social belief that people will agree to teach you well if somehow you demonstrate to them that you deserve it.
Should know– The common social belief that if a student shows up in your learning space without the perceived knowledge you think they should have, then something is wrong with them.
Transactional graditude– The common social belief that we will give someone our best service is they show up and demonstrate that they are thankful for it.
Typically these common social beliefs tend to rear their ugly head when educators are most tired, most fatigued. This is not to say that we should “excuse” the behavior, but rather recognize and work to resist falling into ideological mindsets that perpetuate systems of oppression.
I think what I appreciated most about Corn’s keynote was that he offered solutions for reclaiming the art of teaching.
Ways to reclaim our art…
- explore our own implicit biases (it has to start with self examination)
- learn more about ideologies
- work to create structural and systemic adjustments to ensure that ALL people thrive
Cornelius said, “This work requires constant revision. We will never be done, and this will never be perfect-especially at the beginning.” -C.Minor
“Are We There Yet?” I’m reflecting that we should look at it through a different lens. Instead of waiting to arrive, we should appreciate the journey and work relentlessly to ensure that revision is ongoing, the destination unknown, except for one thing…equity and humanity for all.