Roben Itchoak: See Stories Reflections

My internal superpowers are Elastigirl’s stretching and transformation powers. She can reach as far as she needs and can turn into a parachute or a boat when necessary.  As a mom and a teacher,  I try to be flexible and ever developing at home and school. To do this I need balance, support, and focus – necessities that are nurtured and shared in communities dedicated to growth and excellence. 

Participating in See Stories activities gives me an opportunity to use and develop my superpowers in ways that fulfill my goals as an educator. As part of a professional learning community dedicated to assisting teachers in providing rigorous, culturally relevant, and trauma informed professional development and curriculum I have the opportunity to connect theory with practice. It’s not easy discussing bias, racism, prejudice, equity, equality, and trauma but when it’s performed using research-based content and methods for the sole purpose of inclusive education opportunities with mutually respectful coproducers, it’s powerful. Because we mutually agree social challenges exist, we are able to have work sessions that get creative and concrete work accomplished.

Curriculum development can be like checking if spaghetti is done cooking. When my older kids were little, we used to have fun throwing a cooked noodle on the cupboard. If it stuck, they were ready for us. It needs to stick. There are innumerable, excellent, important, useful, lessons available, everywhere, but very few stick. See Stories sticks. Some part of every aspect of the work we do is interesting and useful for teachers and students. Not only do we see the finished material, we see the material used by teachers and students. The evidence is in the videos and podcasts. My heart explodes and tears of pride form EVERY time I see or hear a student’s story. I am excited, continually transformed, and appreciate being part of a community that is dedicated to educating with and through stories.

Roben Itchoak is an Inupiaq educator from Northwest Alaska and is a part of our DEED New Media & Oral Traditions Steering Committee for Afterschool Educators. She was educated and trained by practitioners and leaders in social justice education through the Sapsik’ʷałá Teacher Education program and the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon. Her life is committed to helping redevelop healthy and vibrant Indigenous communities. Roben plays a key advisory role in shaping both professional development and student workshop programs for See Stories.

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