Gerardo Munoz

Exit Interview 10. Ya Might Win Some with Michael Diaz-Rivera

Michael Diaz-Rivera was a brilliant and respected teacher with a reputation for empowering and inspiring his Black and Latinx students. He rose quickly to prominence for his unapologetic radical love for his community and our children. A frequent advocate and organizer for his professional association, school, and district, Michael was featured in local stories across the city for his tireless advocacy and sacrifice for his communities.

Things went south, as they often do for Black educators. His outspoken nature landed him under thee microscope and he found his former allies turning from him. He departed teaching this summer. The classic Lauryn Hill lyric “ya might win some, but ya just lost one” springs to mind.

Michael will be okay. Maybe even better. But will we?

101. Season 6 Premiere! Maintain and Sustain!

We. Are. Back. We follow the wildest school year on record with thee wildest return to school on record. Amid social unrest, some on silly ish like masks, some more insidious, like attacks on educators and communities of color, we’re back with students, masked and maintaining flexibility as we live and work on the knife’s edge.
Things are hard, y’all. And we got jokes.

Habitually Disruptive Episode 6: Humanizing with Luís J. Rodríguez

If you are a Latinx or Chicanx/Xicanx person, you probably remember the very moment you first read Luís J. Rodríguez’s Always Running, La Vida Loca: Gang Days in LA. For me, it was when I had just finished college and happened upon a copy at my school. I had just read Monster: The Autobiography of an LA Gang Member, written by Sanyika Shakur, and I was searching, unwittingly, for a way to humanize and process the environment that was my home for my entire childhood and adolescence. Always Running shook me to the core, and I remember thinking how fortunate I was to have stayed away from “that life” as a youth.

As I have grown as a writer and educator, I’ve learned the power of healing, storytelling, and bearing witness to the consequences of systemic racism and capitalism. Don Luís has long given me the words to explain the pain and sadness I feel to this day when I think of where I grew up.

I messaged him on Instagram, not expecting any kind of response, but there it was. Almost immediately this brilliant and humble veterano of movements and cells agreed to come on the show and gave me more time than I could have ever hoped for. I have reached out to other towering figures in the arts and scholarship, but Luis will stay with me a long time, because he was so ready to speak.

This elder is a gift. Please enjoy this charla.

Revolution Summer Mixtape Track 2: Kevin, Asia, and the Exit Interview

Just wanna tell you that the mixtape doesn’t have a specific order. Track 2, the one we did SECOND, is very meta and reflective.

In the winter of 2020, Asia approached us with an idea. Having been forced from her teaching position a few years before, Asia was keenly aware of the conditions faced by Black teachers in these schools. This has been the basis of some of her research around Dr. William Smith’s work on Racial Battle Fatigue, and she had decided that these stories MUST be told. Thus was born the wildly successful Exit Interview series.

We wanted to examine ways in which this work has impacted Kevin and Asia. How have these stories impacted them? Do you feel inspired? Upset? Disappointed? All of the above?

As we return to the classroom this fall, we know that there are fewer Black teachers for the reasons outlined in this series. Plus a fire Top Five.

05. Habitually Disruptive with Math Revolutionary Annie Fetter

When I first learned of the “I notice/I wonder” approach, I was not aware that the concept had really gained traction as a math practice in the work of Annie Fetter. Fetter, who trained to become a teacher but quickly became one of its most humanistic and revolutionary trainer-experts, had revealed that allowing students the space and freedom to simply describe what they see in a math lesson deepened their learning, made the work relevant, and yielded positive results. I always had a feeling about this; traditionally I used “notice and wonder” in my history classes, but far from the 10-15 minutes it was supposed to take while I took attendance, handed out graded work, and provided materials for the “real” lesson, 45 minutes would go by until I finally ended the discussion to get to the “real work.”

When Kevin and I interviewed LaChanda Garrison for the Too Dope Teachers and a Mic podcast, she shared Annie’s name to illustrate a humanizing and culturally responsive method for teaching math. I went to YouTube immediately and found a treasure trove of presentations, workshops, and articles. “What do you notice/what do you wonder” was the praxis I always wanted and never knew it.

A couple of Twitter and Zoom conversations later, here we are. Annie, brilliant, unique and determined, joins me for a conversation that will disrupt all your long-held assumptions about math instruction and schooling more generally. Do not miss this one!

Revolution Summer Mixtape Track 6: Author and Educator Jaer Armstead-Jones

Jaer Armstead-Jones is the definition of persistent. He has experienced life’s struggles and beauty alike. He has found healing through spirituality and creativity. And over the past few years, he has been writing tirelessly, consistently, and patiently to put a story into the universe. Drawing on experiences lived both by him and others, My Invisible Father asks important questions of fatherhood, masculinity, intersectionality, forgiveness, and healing.

We have the distinct honor and privilege to hear Jaer’s story and life path, as well as reflect on our own.

Plus a fire top five.

Habitually Disruptive Episode 4: 2021 Michigan Teacher of the Year Owen Bondono

Owen is a quintessential disruptor. Owen is punk rock. Owen radiates love and revolution, which is why he is the Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2021. If you haven’t had the please of hearing his ideas, learning about his message and platform, you are truly missing out. He is funny, brilliant, and ready to burn some things down for justice.

Since recording this episode, we did indeed attend Space Camp, and it was a blast and we did disrupt some stuff!

Revolution Summer Mixtape Track 4: Angela Watson of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek

We are beyond blessed and fortunate to bring you our much-anticipated interview with the venerable and brilliant Angela Watson, who has been working to abolish the notion of the teacher as martyr for years. Her 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program saved Gerardo’s teaching career, ultimately helping him to be named the 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year, and she stands poised, in the wake of her recent book publication, to roll out the Cornerstone for Teachers, a wide-spanning and comprehensive effort to make the work of the teacher sustainable.

But far from being the Marie Kondo of education, Angela also shows up daily as a co-conspirator looking to abolish White Supremacy in education. In this lively and inspiring episode, Angela chats with Gerardo and Guest host Brooke Brown, 2021 Washington State Teacher of the Year about the state of education today.

This episode is a must listen, with a towering yet humble figure in education today.

Habitually Disruptive Episode 3: Holistic Liberation Healing with Jenny Medrano

Since coming to Colorado and hoping to become an educator, Jenny Medrano has been at the forefront of change and liberatory thinking and youth development. We first crossed paths when she mentored youth leaders as a part of Building Bridges, later Shift, and has recently struck out on her own, in a world desperate for a new kind of healing. In this expansive conversation, we discuss healing advocacy, and listening to one’s inner child. We discuss disruption for social justice and human development deeply and in new ways. And we get a fire top five!

Revolution Summer Mixtape Track 3: Young Activist Elijah Wright and Hasadiah Israel

YALL READY FOR THIS??

Track 3 of the mixtape is FIRE, pure and simple. We sit with Elijah Wright and Hasadiah Israel for an encompassing, energetic, funny, engaging and convicting conversation. It is rare for authentic cross-generational exchange to occur, especially for teachers. We often act on the assumption that because we are in the presence of young people, that we engage in such exchange, but in this forum, we are truly on equal ground. Hasadiah and Elijah bring brilliance, commitment, humor, and passion to this track of the mixtape.

We are reminded of how crucial it is to struggle toward liberation, and to take joy in the struggle, and trust that the community sees our work, not only our words. To be free is to be one’s authentic self, and these young men practice freedom at every turn.

A note: If you have young children around, you may not find some of the language to be age-appropriate. We are committed to providing space for Black and Brown thinkers, creators, innovators and activists to be their authentic selves, and sometimes that means that they will use profanity. 

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