Get to know our secondees – Lana Parker

What school board are you affiliated with and what was your role there?

I am affiliated with the Peel District School Board as a teacher, researcher and mentor leader.

I think all these experiences are valuable as they force us, as educators, to constantly ask the question: What is education for? In each of these roles, I have come together with different people to think about and plan for improved outcomes for students. I believe that is always at the heart of this work.

Why did you want to become a seconded faculty member with the Faculty of Education at York University?

I wanted to become a seconded faculty member for two reasons. The first was to learn from and contribute to the richly developed and thoughtful program at York’s Faculty of Education. The second reason was that, after obtaining my PhD from York U, I wanted to continue to engage in critical discourse.

Which courses are you presently teaching?

A selection of my current courses include Language and Literacy in the Primary / Junior Divisions, Emergent Literacy, and Studies in Communities and their Schools.

What excites and / or surprises you the most about teaching teacher candidates?

The scope and complexity of the work.

My teacher candidates challenge me to be responsive and adaptable. They open me up to new ways of being in the world. It is also pretty exciting when, in a course, I become witness to the emergence of their new insights and critical perspectives.

How would you describe your experience working with York’s Faculty of Education in three words?

Provocative. Enriching. Enduring.

What advice would you give teacher candidates for their future teaching practice?

Listen first.

It is difficult to be patient and to live with uncertainty. But that is what most teaching requires. I would say to new teachers that the most important thing is not what you know or don’t yet know; instead, the most important thing is to bring a disposition of openness and humility so that you can learn.

What inspires you to teach?

Living in the world.

Increasingly as I teach and learn, I have come to understand that what is educational about education lies in the interaction between people. We are all learning to live responsibly with one another.

What would your students be surprised to know about you?

I eat pasta and chocolate on a near daily basis.

What impact do you want your work to have on society?

I hope that my work invites educators to develop deeply thoughtful and ethical pedagogies that never reify into practice, but always remain in process.

What do you see as the best thing about education today?

The possibilities for something new.

That’s the thing about possibilities: I can’t really anticipate them because they are still on the side of the unknowable. Nonetheless, I would offer that with all possibilities there exists the potential for something better than what came before. The world can be made anew.

How has your experience at York over the past 3 years helped you to become a better educator?

I think that working as a course director, practicum facilitator and researcher at York U has deepened my responsibility to be a listener, to advocate for more equitable outcomes for students, and to consistently engage with democratic processes in the service of a more inclusive and just education.