Exciting innovation is taking root in education, says UTS History teacher Rebecca Levere, as we dig deeper into the histories of Indigenous and racialized communities. “The curriculum renewal with respect to equity, inclusion and anti-Black racism is a really important development in the community. There’s been some serious rethinking of what we’re teaching and it’s been a great learning journey for me and my colleagues.”
Rebecca’s M3 (Grade 9) History class has been getting into books such as Montreal activist Robyn Maynard’s Policing Black Lives, as students look at the construction of blackness in the Western imagination, going back to the beginning of the slave trade.
Like our curriculum, our school building is undergoing renewal, and Rebecca is excited about how the light and gathering spaces in the Fleck Atrium will create opportunities for students to connect, and how the inspiring architecture will positively impact our sense of well-being in ways we might not even realize.
Then there’s the bigger picture – our renewed building aligns with our ethos as a school, much more sustainable with a green roof, modern heating and cooling, and other features, which help mitigate our impact in the face of the impending climate change crisis, and escalating student concerns about the future of our planet.
Rebecca originally joined UTS as a Eureka! Fellow, researching how to inspire students to become politically empowered and engaged. One of her first UTS experiences was partnering with the National Film Board of Canada and Care International to take UTS students to Zambia to film a documentary about the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
She recalls how back then the Remembrance Day ceremony at UTS was filled with rows of veterans. “Having so many Old Boys in the room made it such a special event in the community.” Now, she finds it very moving to see the emotional intensity of student performances, and how students and guest speakers bring the ceremony to life.
Just like the school and the Remembrance Day ceremony, she is still evolving as a teacher. “It’s been 20 years and I’m still excited about teaching every day and learning something new.”
And next year, it will only get better, in our renewed building.