What does it take to be joyful in the work of teaching, learning and living? As students, staff and faculty, our first thought often focuses on pursuits of our minds, on “high achievement,” “being successful” or on “doing well.” Missing is attention to what animates us or the spirit of our work. In this lecture, Dr. Dillard will explore the essential role of spirit in education, very particularly how (re)membering is a key part of being whole and being well in our work. Examples will be drawn from Dillard’s forthcoming book, The Spirit of Our Work: Black Women Teachers (Re)member (Beacon Press). This work is based on a 7-year study of Black women teachers and the joy and healing they experienced through (re)membering Black cultural and heritage knowledge. While Black women are not the only people who can (re)member, we do embody multiple intersectional and cultural identities that educational professionals need to know and learn from. Exploring the power and humanity of Black women as we articulate the conditions required for healing and joy, all in attendance will find important lessons for their own journeys to being the teachers and educational professionals that Black students deserve and that all students need.
Dr. Cynthia B. Dillard (Nana Mansa II of Mpeasem, Ghana, West Africa) is the Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at The University of Georgia. Her research interests include critical teacher education, spirituality in education, and African/African American feminist studies. Aside from being a prolific scholar, teacher and sought after speaker, Dr. Dillard was recently appointed Dean of the College of Education at Seattle University, beginning February 2022.