In the Education Studies Department we teach teachers. We train teachers, yes, but we also nurture socially aware young (or not-so-young!) people who we hope will go out in the world and be “social justice bombs” as one of our professors calls them. We envision them out in the unjust schooling system, in a teaching job, and becoming leaders in their classrooms, schools, and communities, then *boom* – they notice a pattern of inequity created by a district policy, and they bring it to their colleagues’ attention and organize to try to change it. They build a community of care inside their classrooms, where diverse learners value each other’s contributions and respect each other as full human beings. They know how to make meaningful family and community connections, and how to talk about difficult topics with their students so that sticky problems don’t get swept under the proverbial rug, but become learning opportunities. Our students are always working to make things right for their students.
One of the ways we accomplish this is by offering a series of courses called the “EO Courses.” These classes address Equal Opportunity opportunities, or lack thereof, across multiple dimensions (e.g. racism, homophobia, colonialism, poverty). As a graduate instructor I taught “EO: Patriarchy.” The goals of the course were to unmask patriarchal structures, define the differences between patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism, and to examine the intersections of these with other forms of oppression such as classism, racism, settler colonialism, ableism, etc. The hope is that students will be able to identify instances of patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism at work in the schools where they are currently student teaching and/or volunteering and also in their future work as educators. My own twist on the class is the piece that I would like to share with the readers of Prompt. It is an assignment that threaded through our whole ten-week term together. It is not only a writing assignment, but a reading, book club, writing, and art assignment, as well as a community engagement project. It just came to be called “Book Club.”