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This interview with Lauren Davenport took place via Zoom on August 29, 2020. Lauren is an English Teacher for 9th-12th graders at Assembly Gateway School for Technology, which is a public school in New York City. The interview began with Lauren sharing about the deep uncertainty and absurdity surrounding 'plans' being offered by her school and the Department of Education for the fall. One week away from September, teachers have no idea what the reopening plan is, and though they have been offered several options, none seem realistic or workable. Lauren shares that summer is normally a time re-energize and take a break, but this summer was a storm of continuous uncertainty and stress. Lauren talked about how she normally teaches dystopian novels as part of her English literature course, but because it's so close to reality now, she's going to look for more humor and comedy. She threaded themes of equity and equity considerations throughout the interview. She switched between school considerations and experiences among her own children, as a parent and as a teacher. She talked about how early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw it as a rupture that could enable huge and sustained change- to blow the system up and start again. Now, she feels exhausted and tired and sees that as an idealization of something that is only going to get worse. Lauren teaches at a tech-focused school, so although it was relatively easy for teachers and students to switch to teaching online, the possibility of replacing all the human aspects of teaching and psychosocial aspects of learning could not be replaced. Although she maintains a light spirit, Lauren speaks frankly and very candid about the heaviness of these experiences. Lauren ended the interview with some visions and ideas about how to make teaching more workable in the interim, and what she would change about the education system moving forward.
Anna Levy is a researcher, strategic analyst, educator and oral historian. Most of her work is at the intersection of accountability politics, structural inequality, historical and collective memory, and the role of civilian movements in economic and political transitions. She uses mixed research methods to map out the pressures and incentives guiding complex systems--including the political economy of organizations or cities in crisis, militarized border bureaucracies, or the shifting legal and digital frontlines of collective civic action, among others. Anna uses oral history to bring out the multiple, intersecting experiences that make up the day-to-day of those systems in order to help inform advocacy, policy and power shifts. She teaches on emergency and disaster politics at Fordham University and is an avid capoeirista. Her website is | Jafsadi.works.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.