My grade two class photo is being used in the North West Territories. One of the things that keeps me writing this blog is how it connects me to so many interesting people and places. In the last while I’ve received requests for the use of photos from my blog for several interesting projects.
One request was from a teacher in the North West Territories who is doing her Ph.D in education and is writing her thesis on how cross-cultural teachers respond to indigenous students using the framework of Tribal Critical Race Theory. This theory suggests that colonization continues in the present day in some educational contexts. As part of her dissertation she will trace the history of education for First Nations children in Canada and will use a photo of my grade two class which I published on my blog as a contrast to a photo of children the same age in that same year in a northern residential school. The Northwest Territories teacher sees a kind of joy and positive air about the learners in my class picture which she does not see in class pictures of children taken in residential schools at the same time. She will be showing my photo and that of the residential school children to teachers in the North West Territories to see what differences, if any, they will perceive between the photos.
The project sounds like an important one and I’m looking forward to being updated on the teacher’s thesis progress. I told her that my photo was taken at Sir John Franklin School, a public school built in 1921 and named after the Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. The school was demolished in 1991. My one academic memory of that year was getting 7+7 wrong on a math test and my teacher telling me how unfortunate it was that I missed such an easy question on an otherwise perfect math test. I only lived on Beaverbrook Street in that neighborhood for one year but it was in a quiet, lovely treed area of Winnipeg with very modest working class homes. I had two best friends on my street who were also in my class and I still remember their names more than fifty years later.