He inspired a nation with his lyrics and now two high school teachers are hoping Gord Downie will inspire the next generation and they’re calling on educators from Coast to Coast to #TeachLikeGord beginning this Monday.
Music and English teacher Isaac Moore believes Downie’s body of work would flow seamlessly into the classroom.
“There’s really natural connections we can make to the curriculum and teachers are masters at this,” he said.
Moore and fellow music teacher Josh Geddis only came up with the idea Thursday afternoon. Both Hip Fans and admirers of the iconic band’s front man for as long as they can remember, the two quickly put together a twitter account and facebook page dubbed Teach Like Gord.
Moore adds that when educators are passionate about a project it’s a win-win for both them and students.
“It would be great if every kid in Canada knew about the Checker board floors (Downie) was talking about in Bobcaygeon, and what the Horseshoe Tavern is all about and what history has happened there and why that place was important to the hip and all those great stories – here’s our opportunity to tell them.”
As Downie faced his own mortality, he became a champion for indigenous issues, spearheading a multi-media project dubbed The Secret Path, which traced the struggles of Chanie Wenjack. The young boy whose body was found alongside a stretch of rail road tracks after running away from a residential school in 1966.
Geddis says fellow staff at St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School in Clinton, Ontario are preparing to bring the story Chanie Wenjack into the classroom.
“We have a geography teacher in our school who is looking at ways to incorporate Gord into his lesson. On Monday the big thing he is looking at doing is using the Secret Path to trace Canadian Geography by tracing Wenjack’s path.”
It’s an idea which now also has the backing of Ontario’s Minister of Education. In a statement to CityNews Mitzie Hunter wrote, “Gord Downie embodied values of equity, inclusion and reconciliation — all of which are all highly teachable. I’m inspired to see this movement come forward through the leadership of Ontario educators.”
With Geddis adding, “I think that if we don’t bring things like this to life in our classrooms then what are we really teaching kids? If we’re not talking about what’s happening now and what’s happening today.”