On Wednesday morning, the country woke to the news that Gord Downie had passed and the ensuing outpouring has been nothing short of phenomenal. There have been stories told, songs sung and moments remembered. Even those of us who would claim only a tangential relationship with the Tragically Hip cannot help but be drawn into the emotional bond that has connected Canadians at home and abroad. For the past 2 years, Downie has allowed us into his life and death in a very special way. The final concert tour, the public appearances and the “don’t back down” commitment to a strong sense of purpose will carry us into the approaching Canadian winter with much to remember and much to ponder at this pivotal point in our history as a nation.
So, it’s no surprise that there have been members of the education community who have stepped up to leverage the power of this moment in order to engage students in a sense of story (if not history) in the making. On the one hand, Downie’s lyrics give us a way of looking at ourselves, our national history and our place in the world. On the other hand, Gord Downie’s life underlines the importance of vision, commitment and integrity.
I was thrilled when Derek Rhodenizer messaged me that on this week’s edition of A Word in Progress that he would be joined by the two teachers responsible for #teachlikeGord—a campaign to encourage educators to bring the life and lessons of Gord Downie into their classrooms in the coming week. The music, the lyrics and the legacy. Powerful teaching and powerful learning in the making.
Here’s a CTV piece that highlights the energy of Ontario music educators, Josh Geddis and Isaac Moore. Be sure to join Derek Rhodenizer and Peter Cameron as they welcome the spirit behind #teachlikegord.