Common Threads: An Educators Retreat for Women of Color

By Bernadette McCleary, Primary Unit teacher; Chantal Barr, Junior Unit teacher; Cecilia Genzlinger, Spanish teacher; Giovana Robinson, Spanish teacher; and Rochelle Duncan, Middle School teacher 

This past weekend we had the honor of attending Common Threads: An Educators Retreat for Women of Color, a gathering in Ocean City, NJ, for educators of color to connect, reflect, support, and restore through self-care. The time for reflection came in many forms, ranging from oral to written expression and from large to small group discussions. The retreat was a safe place to share the challenges we face on a daily basis as women of color and the burden we often carry. It was a release of emotions and a time provided to heal and to just be. It was a retreat of sisterhood!

The moments set aside to find quiet places to reflect and ponder our worth in independent schools as a women of color were among the most valuable pieces this retreat offered. We were  reminded how important our voices are at these prestigious schools. It felt powerful to be in a room of educators committed to voicing their opinions and creating a united front for our schools, for our students, for our future. As the reflections turned to sharing, the restoring of oneself came flooding in like a rogue wave! The support from other women of color was nothing short of awe-inspiring. It came in the form of advice, guidance, and  encouragement which showed itself through humor, empathy, and most of all filled with trust.

The retreat left us all filled with such gratitude. We truly feel these connections are going to be part of our support system outside of TPS for years to come. Ultimately, the experience was far more moving than any of us expected. As we departed Sunday morning, everyone was slow to leave and wished they could have stayed a bit longer. We are all grateful for the experience and hope to return year after year. We leave you with a poem that we were presented with when we arrived...

 

our backs
tell stories
no books have
the spine to
carry

-  rupi kaur