This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview was conducted remotely via Zoom with Lauren Davenport on April 26, 2022. At the time of the interview, she was at home in Brooklyn, NY. Lauren is a New York City public school teacher, who teaches ninth and twelfth grade English at a school that focuses on technology. Lauren speaks about challenges she has faced in the 2021-22 school year and the ways that in-person teaching has been different than she expected. She discusses an experience of “constant reset” throughout the year: reset of expectations, of curriculum, of mask mandates. Lauren shares that the theme of this school year for her is “survival.” This is a word she chose jokingly last summer during a staff event and now believes it was foreshadowing because of how difficult this year has turned out to be. Lauren describes differences she notices in her students, especially ninth graders, who are learning how to participate in the classroom in ways students before the pandemic already understood or picked up quickly. She reflects that the last two years students could turn off their cameras and microphones to check out of class, but they can no longer do that for in-person learning. This interview also touches on how school districts and society at large don’t prioritize teachers’ health, despite teachers being in the front line during COVID-19. Lauren discusses how NYC Department of Education has shown no consideration for teachers’ health during the pandemic, and she sees this as a reinforcement of how teachers are not valued in general in our society.
This interview may be of interest to those curious about New York City public schools, teachers’ health, standardized testing, and racial equity in schools.
Ciera Dudley (ENP Co-Director) is an educator, cartographer, and illustrator based in Santa Cruz, California. She has a background in urban planning and education, which inform her oral history interests in multi-generational housing justice movements and mutual aid networks. She currently coordinates the Education Narratives Project at OHSS and facilitates storytelling workshops with The Moth. Ciera is also a member of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, a collective of activists, critical cartographers, and oral historians documenting dispossession and resistance upon gentrifying landscapes.
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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.