Month: April 2022

Habitually Disruptive 14: 2021 Montana Teacher of the Year Kristi Borge

I met Kristi Borge, 2021 Montana Teacher of the Year, in person during our fall Washington Week event. Her teacher story was intriguing; she teaches in a one-room school. Immediately my mind jumped back to 19th-century schoolmarm, chalkboards, big wooden desks that doubled as lockers, and a bell to let the children know that school is in session.

Hearing Kristi’s story was powerfully educational for me, as a (relative) city kid. She is responsible for EVERYTHING from clearing the snow, discipline, and if she is out sick, there is no school. She describes maternity leave, the ski resort she purchased with her husband, and the only kind of traffic jam you will ever see in her area. Plus we find solidarity in challenges that face both urban and rural kids. Listen, learn, and disrupted your assumptions!

Habitually Disruptive: Chicanisma for the New Milennium

I’ve had a chance to reflect on my 23 years of teaching, and I’ve been reminded to consider the role that Chicana/o/x Education has played in my life. When I came into teaching, and declared myself to be a Chicano teacher, some looked at me quizzically, wondering aloud, “Is that still a thing? Do people still identify as Chicanos?” Later I read a quote by some journalist declaring that “Chicano” is only used by old guys who have handshakes and reminisce about the past.

Welp, thanks to stickin’ around so long, I have seen a renacimiento of the Chicana/o/x name. Not that we ever went anywhere, but there is a new generation of Chicanas and Chicanos entering the teaching profession, but unlike me, the show up as their authentic selves.

I hope you enjoy this Chicana roundtable with Isabel Barajas de Benavidez, Emely Contreras, and Diana Bustamante Aguilar, three early-service teachers who are proudly and uncompromisingly CHICANAS…and who are connecting with each other for the first time.

Habitually Disruptive Emergency Episode: Adams 14 and the Privatization Threat

When Colorado, like so many other states, created its draconian school performance framework and accountability measures (mainly standardized test results), an “accountability clock” was institutionalized and put in place. This meant that if a school did not perform satisfactorily according to standardized testing data, that school or district would face an extinction-level event, in terms of public education: state takeover and potential privatization.

Adams 14, the district serving a population decimated by institutional oppression, environmental racism, and utter neglect, saw its accountability clock run out in 2018. Since then, a comedy of errors has ensued, with charter mismanagement that has landed the district and its hardworking allies in the courts with those who have done them harm.

I sit down with four educators/community members to unpack the urgency of this situation. This is a must-listen. Adams 14 is all of us.

The Exit Interview 02.04: Dr. William Anderson

Since last season, we have brought you stories that are heart-wrenching, painful, and traumatic. Examples of racial battle fatigue, professional violence and PTSD, which, even though most have experienced a measure of healing, or begun that healing journey, are difficult.

In some cases, Black classroom teachers depart the classroom to make a wider impact. This was the case for Dr. William Anderson, History teacher extraordinaire, who was just minding his own business, working on his doctorate, ready to return to the classroom for the 2021-2022 school year when he was tapped to take over the Teacher Education Program at the University of Denver, the first Black man to step into that role.

Dr. Anderson knew this was an opportunity to impact the profession in a more powerful way, and went on a journey to make it happen.

This is a provocative episode, and we encourage you to put on your intersectional lens as you digest this inspiring and powerful story.

Sponsored by quetzalec.com

Music composed and performed by Kevin Adams

Production by Gerardo Muñoz