“Teachers are the unsung heroes of alternative education. Students and parents may come and go, but teachers provide continuity and institutional memory, year after year, decade after decade, often in a career-long commitment to one school community… Who are these teachers, we wondered? Are all of them as interesting as the people who taught us? What drew them to their work, and what kept them there? We decided to find out.”
— Fieldwork: Talking with Teachers in Alternative Schools
Fieldwork: Talking with Teachers in Alternative Schools is an ongoing collaborative documentary project with performing arts producer, documentarian, and applied ethnomusicologist Ariel Fielding, interviewing and photographing past and present alternative school teachers in Toronto. Through interview and portraiture this project looks at the long-term impact of alternative education on the lives of individuals and communities, and investigates how the pedagogy and practice of alternative teaching has changed (or not changed) since the 1970s in Toronto
So far we have published interviews with teachers at Alpha Alternative School, City School, The Grove Community School, Horizon Senior Alternative School, Inglenook Community High School, Oasis Skateboard Factory, Quest Alternative Senior School, SEED, The Student School, The Triangle Program, and West End Alternative School.
You can read the interviews (and see more portraits of the participating teachers) on the project website: Notes from the Field.