By: Kim Bateman
As Wade mentions, teaching for social justice allows all people regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, size, sexual orientation, religion, social class, or physical ability to have a valuable life in our world. Pamela George deserved to have her life considered valuable. Not only by her murderers, but by the public intellectuals and the defense at her trial after she was murdered. The woman in my art piece represents Pamela George looking up towards a wide open sky of endless opportunities. She is looking upwards to represent the future and how her story allows us to understand her injustices and make sure that our students in the future value all human life. Reading about Pamela and her injustices empowers me as a teacher to ensure that my classroom will have a social justice culture. This aligns with my own personal ideology that all humans have a right to be treated with equity and live together peacefully–all humans have a right to be valued. Although the woman represents Pamela, I chose to make the face out of many different skin colours because she also represents the minority groups that all have a place and an identity in my classroom. I don’t necessarily consider myself to be a public intellectual on a grandiose level, but being one at a classroom, school, or community level means that I will be known for caring about students. The heart in the center of my art piece was designed to protrude from the canvas and be the brightest point of the piece because it represents the care and love that needs to be the center of my classroom. Equity cannot happen without the teacher caring for the students and advocating for them as a public intellectual. The bottom of my art piece is made up of maps which typify the school system. As we learn how to use them, maps become second nature to us. As a teacher in the school system I feel responsible to ensure I help my students learn how to be naturally empathetic towards each other and understand social justice as second nature. I want to be part of making sure there are no more stories like that of Pamela George.
Razack, S. (2002). Race, space, and the law: Unmapping a white settler society. Toronto: Between the Lines. pgs 121-156
Wade, R. C. (2007). Social studies for social justice: Teaching strategies for the elementary classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.