Seyed Yousef, 2019
HOW IT STARTED
Love & Liberation Educational Consulting, LLC began as a dream of a better world, and a truly different way to think about and experience teaching and learning. As an immigrant, a woman with a disability, and a teacher in historically marginalized communities, Dr. Shadi was interested in how educators were creating liberatory spaces of learning with their students. This was the focus of her doctoral studies and her dissertation entitled Edifying the Spirit of Love and Liberation in the Education of Young Children: Lessons from Critical Pedagogy and Reggio Emilia Inspired Educators. Dr. Shadi found that teachers who were able to embody the spirit of love and liberation in their classrooms were deeply grounded in their purpose for doing the work of education, and were deeply committed to helping students be change agents in their worlds and communities. In short, they were doing the work of teaching as activism.
We are at the brink of a transformative moment in determining the path of education and schooling for the future. In light of the months we have spent in the pandemic, along with the long overdue racial reckoning we experienced as a nation in 2020, educators are coming to grips with the understanding that education is inherently personal and political. They are getting ready to explore new ideas and ways of being in community with their students. For many, however, there is little to no coaching and support that is offered through their schools in how to take on this brave and uncharted territory. The average teachers in our schools today are given keys to a classroom, minimal and necessary supplies, and boxes of curriculum, then left to their own devices until their first formal observation. They create clip charts and incentives, step by step procedures, and teacher-led slide decks and activities in order to feel like they have everything under control. Today’s teachers feel stuck in knowing that they desperately want to do things differently, but don’t know where to start or how to unravel the tangled web of beliefs and actions that will help them to better understand their roles as critical thinkers, cultural workers, and pedagogues. For years, school leaders have focused their coaching and development around student test scores, classroom behavior and compliance, and teacher’s mastery of the lesson cycle. But there is more to teaching and learning than these metrics, and it is time to reject the status quo. It is time to put aside the “teacher-proof” curriculum, and to treat teaching as the art that it is by supporting educators to be empowered facilitators of learning. It is time to create meaningful, life-affirming experiences for our students by transforming our classrooms and schools into spaces of curiosity, joy, and liberation.
At Love & Liberation Educational Consulting, LLC, we believe that schools and classrooms should honor the value of the children that they serve, and we believe that all educators have the power to make that happen. By supporting educators and school leaders in developing their critical consciousness, we can move towards a new vision for education- a relational vision in which our work is grounded in an armed love for kids and for the work of teaching, in which there is a dialogical relationship between students and teachers, and in which students are treated as transformative change agents who can make an impact on their world not just when they get older, but starting today.
Seyed Yousef, 2019