Just Conversations
Real talk about race, equity and social justice in the secondary school classroom
Two white high school English teachers meet to reflect on their journey to be antiracist educators. Melanie White and Amanda Potts talk about the decisions they make in the classroom and critically evaluate their teaching. These powerful conversations include book choices, canon, systemic racism, prejudice, poverty, social class, teacher efficacy, and more. In their pursuit of equity in the classroom, Melanie and Amanda open themselves to one another, and to you, the listener, since teaching is a shared experience.

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Melanie and Amanda continue the conversation about destreaming in the classroom and how our practice has shifted as we continue to wrestle with the teaching of English in destreamed classes. As we respond to unique learners, we talk about the struggle…

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Melanie and Amanda presented 3 routines for building community in destreamed English at the summer conference for the English Language Arts Network of Ontario (ELAN). In this episode, they discuss the routines including the theory and practice of…

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Melanie and Amanda discuss the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. They discuss We Got This by Cornelius Minor and other texts and the ways that their reading helps them consider student voice and respond in the classroom. Amanda asks, “How much…

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In this episode Melanie shares her appreciation for A Teacher’s Guide to Mentor Texts by Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O’Dell and Amanda shares her interest in The Tyranny of Merit by Michael Sandel by reading an important quotation related to…

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With the destreaming of math at grade 9 in Ontario, we know that English classes will soon follow and many schools have been making small moves to destream by blending courses of Applied and Academic English. As we continue to learn and practice…

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As we prepare for Season 3 and record a few discussions, Melanie and Amanda find a recorded conversation that occurred between quadmester 3 and 4 of the 2020-2021 school year. In this intimate and honest conversation, they share struggles of…

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Sabrina Kayed, a new teacher in the OCDSB, shares the ways that she incorporates her identities, interdisciplinary studies, and social justice into her high school science teaching. She candidly discusses her activism, the pressures she faces as a new…

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Amanda noticed a threaded discussion on Twitter after Melanie posted some student work. There were challenging comments which raised important emotions. Here they acknowledge and try to work through their responses in this short but intimate episode. 

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The overlapping disruption of the pandemic, being called out publicly, and converting to a quadmester and hybrid model has Melanie and Amanda struggling with massive social change. They consider creating community with students, granting more grace to…

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Melanie and Amanda invite Tobi Hunt-McCoy into a discussion about summer webinars, what they’ve learned, and what they want to bring into the classroom this year. They share some of their actions and the planning required to restructure the content of…

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