Schooling the system:
A History of Black Women Teachers
In post-World War II Canada, black women’s positions within the teaching profession served as sites of struggle and contestation as the nation worked to address the needs of its diversifying population. Black women educators navigated complex spaces in their communities, activist circles, and schools in ways that exposed inequities inherent in nation-building processes.
Using oral narratives to tell the story of black access and education in Canada, Girl You Better Apply to Teachers’ College provides textured insights into how issues of race, gender, class, geographic origin and training worked to shape black women’s distinct experiences within the profession. By valuing women’s voices and lived experiences, Funké Aladejebi illustrates that black women, as a diverse group, made critical contributions to the creation and development of anti-racist education in Canada. Standing as cultural mediators within Ontario school systems, Aladejebi argues that black women circumvented subtle and overt forms of racial and social exclusion to create resistive pedagogies that centered black knowledges and traditions. Merging the history of education and black Canadian studies, this book draws upon school archives, newspaper records, policy documents, and interviews to painstakingly trace the connections and contributions of black women educators in Ontario from the 1940s to 1980s.
As school systems continue to grapple with creating diverse educational programs for all Canadian citizens, this book offers a timely excavation of the meaningful contributions black women educators made in building equitable policies and practices in Canadian schools and communities.
This is me
I became a professor out of a deep desire to make learning accessible. As a teacher, I want my students to collaborate and interact with their educational experiences. My teaching hopes to challenge traditional learning paradigms and methods in an effort to critically examine the intersection of social difference and justice. I also incorporate the study of history in order to assist students in identifying and understanding the motivations and decisions that socially, politically and economically impact their lives in the present.
As an academic, I explore the intersections of race and gender in historical and contemporary contexts. I review Black women’s distinct consciousness as a way of understanding their entrance into the professional workforce. Here I review how Black women created inclusive educational programming for a diverse range of students. This work contributes to an under-researched area of Canadian history through its examination of community and school initiatives where education supported Black women’s activism and agency.
I work to connect historical events to contemporary life situations with the hopes of encouraging empowerment. I speak on Black Canadian History, as well as conversations about racial inclusion, diversity and Black women’s experiences in Canada.
I enjoy teaching history in clear and accessible ways. I stress the importance of the diversity of Black experiences in Canada to better understand the structures of racial discrimination, separation and isolation within Canadian institutions. As part of this, I consider conversations of equity and inclusion as part of challenging systemic and societal structures of anti-Blackness. I explore the historical roots of some of these structures, with the hopes of better providing the language to dismantle them. My areas of expertise include:
Black Canadian History
Gender and Women’s Studies
History of Education
Race and Gender in Canada