Friday, October 21, 2022

Afternoon thoughts from BCTLA

 After a nice walk from New Westminster Secondary down to the TMC hotel, I’ve got my shoes off and am ready to consider all of the wonderful things from this afternoon’s sessions. 

My first afternoon session was SOGI and the Learning Commons, by Robin Low. I took many of my TL courses with Robin, so it was great to attend this session and see the work that she has done for her middle school students. With recent political events bringing safe spaces and library book selection to the forefront, I was keen to hear her experiences and strategies. Robin eloquently addressed awareness and inclusivity, earning your place as an ally, responding to hate groups, talking with students and setting expectations for the library and school. She shared her “inviting in” day: reminding families that it’s always a good time to come out to your child as an ally. During the hour, several TLs at the session shared their own feelings of vulnerability over book challenges and parent interactions. 

To finish off the day, all attendees had a seat to hear the stories of Ivan Coyote. I see that many have already tweeted about the session, so it clearly had an impact! Ivan left us with a lot to think about, but anchored the talk around our “why.” Our why, but also many other hard hitting questions.

What would it take to make people really feel included?

How much resiliency do we really need to have?

What if we focussed on compassion and welcoming spaces instead of glorifying toughness?

Who has already left our communities to go find a safer, more welcoming place?

How good is government policy if we don’t even have day to day systems in place?

Ivan Coyote is master on the stage, weaving emotional moments with laughter and food for thought, along with calls to action in our schools.  

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