This question, a staccato in my head, reverberates as I fumble through my hybrid teaching wanting to connect the “at home students” with the “in school students”. I am still revising the plans once formulated in August, practiced and revised again with one class, then another, revision upon revision, now with a fourth and a fifth class. I keep hoping how we talk in virtual meetings will mirror how we talk in person. But, the disembodied sounds from boxes in a grid flows very differently, and I don’t think it has anything to do with cameras off or cameras on. Both are only nearings or approximations of what is human discourse.
Yet, how can we not really talk at “moments like this”? That necessary talk is doubly hard and doubly necessary.
Nonetheless, some gathered last week as a group of diverse students to address the hate crime in Georgia, the shooting of Asian women, and the growing recognition of Anti-Asian hate crimes in Canada. They were open and vulnerable, supportive and inclusive, but this is emotional work in spaces not built for human sharing of pain. While the shooting happened in what feels remote, the US, the reports from Canada are up close, and in person. We have a problem with Anti-Asian racism, but how can we talk?
Back in class, I share the lesson using the guidance and wisdom of Teaching Tolerance and a resource from the Toronto District School Board; but it’s not enough. I know it. The students know it.
So, I pull myself together, and reflect on the situation. Even though I’m the one doing most of the talking in the classroom right now, it has to be better than silence. In that breath, my question transforms. How can we not talk about something so important?