Earlier this month, course director Ixchel Bennett welcomed Rachel Hill of Indspire to her Issues in Indigenous Education class to speak to students about the organization’s Peer Support: Educator Mentorship program -- a free mentorship and leadership program for educators of Indigenous students from across Canada.
Rachel, who is First Nations from Six Nations community, shared what the program offers to educators. “The program pairs educators with a partner that is either Indigenous or non-Indigenous who is engaging in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action,” she comments. “By providing online support to this learning community through webinars, discussion forums, and other professional development tools, the goal of the program is for educators of Indigenous students from across Canada to share successful practices that can be integrated into their classrooms or schools.”
Bennett sees the program as being an invaluable resource for her students.
“Many students continue to have a challenging time knowing how to interweave Indigenous knowledge into the curriculum and are afraid of ‘being wrong’,” said Bennett. “They understand that Indigenous education is essential and needs to be taught in their subject areas and that their journey continues after they graduate, but some struggle to find support(s) or don’t know where to go. Indspire is one of the many places where TCs can find that support. Inspire’s Peer Support: Educator Mentorship program is a great resource for educators as they continue in their journey towards decolonizing and indigenizing their teaching and learning practices.”
Kara-Ann Nagel, a recent graduate from York’s B.Ed program commented, “I was scared to ask questions that I felt everyone else knew the answer to. Having my mentor enabled me to learn, unlearn, and relearn about myself as a teacher and the land that I’m on. Now as a teacher, my past and current mentors are there for me. I definitely feel like Indspire helped me get my job in Upper Grand District School Board because I was able to speak about the social justice and equity work I’ve done and plan to do in the future. I feel like I can better support Indigenous and non-Indigenous students through resources and conversations with my mentors."