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Carol Murray



Recorded by

Noah Schoen

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This interview with Carol Murray was conducted on August 31, 2020 from her home in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. At the time of this interview, Carol was the director of Bard Nursery School. In this interview, she reflects on care, and the practice of care, in several capacities. Carol begins the interview sharing that she recently traveled to Las Vegas to care for her father, who entered hospice and passed away. Carol reflects on how we idealize care as soft or beautiful, when in reality care is strong and tender, but not soft. Caring for her father during this time felt clumsy and imperfect. Carol also discusses care in her educational practice and talks about planning this school year in meticulously detail. Carol discusses how COVID-19 protocols have played prominent roles in navigating her care of students and staff. At the beginning of the school year, she negotiated with the administration about student mask protocols, and one teacher quit because she was uncomfortable with the protocols. After her negotiations with the administration, they decided to take on a “learning approach” to masking with the students, where they mask indoors but may take mask breaks outside. Carol sees her students as very adaptable and open, as full of joy and ready to be together. Carol also shares about the joy of teaching mostly outdoors, as the campus is in the country and creates many opportunities for outdoor play and lessons.

Carol speaks about communications she has received from parents in her community (not in her class) who are seeking educators and caregivers for in-home education pods. Earlier in the pandemic, she felt gratitude from families who realized how the infrastructure of caregivers supports society. Carol shares disappointment now for a loss of this awareness and gratitude from some families. She talks specifically about the high expectations that parents place on caregivers or educators of their pods. She sees this as a lack of healthy boundaries and understanding for the important role of care work. Carol closes her interview to reflect on her faith that children will learn what they need to learn. She believes that students will learn important intrinsic lessons if they meaningful relationships with adults and agency to follow their interests.

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Interviewer Bio:

Noah Schoen is a community organizer and oral historian based in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the co-founder of Meanings of October 27th, an oral history project that has interviewed 105 Pittsburghers about their life histories and reflections on the October 27th, 2018 synagogue shooting at the Tree of Life building. He is also the Community Outreach Associate at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, where he works to strengthen the Center's approach to dismantling antisemitism and the injustices of today. A 2017-2018 JOIN for Justice Organizing Fellow and two-time "Don't Kvetch, Organize" course instructor, Noah has been listening and organizing in Jewish communities and the labor movement for over ten years. 

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