This is the sixth installment in a series where I share my experience taking the Being Tea Teacher Training offered by Suzette Hammond. I can’t believe that there is only one more module left before I finish! This course has been incredibly challenging, and I definitely feel that it has helped me grow as an educator.
Module 6: Tea for Everybody: Psychologically Sensitive Teaching
Module 6 was the densest and most intimidating section of this course so far. Our focus was on trauma-informed teaching, equity, cultural appropriation, and decolonization. We also discussed scope of practice and deciding what is or isn’t our responsibility as teachers. These heavy topics are not easy to talk about but it is so important to do that work. There was no training on these topics in all of my previous experience in retail management or as a Girl Scout leader but after completing this section of the course I really wish that they had been.
This module was timely as issues like cultural appropriation and colonization have been discussed quite a bit in the tea world lately. If you’d like to know more about this, I highly recommend checking out Charlene Wang de Chen’s article in Whetstone Magazine. As modern tea drinkers (and teachers), we must be aware of these issues so we can help things change for the better in the future.
If you believe tea is for everyone, then this is the most important work you can do as a teacher.Suzette Hammond, Being Tea
I truly enjoy getting to observe the practice classes led by the other members of my teacher cohort. During this section I was able to take part in a capstone class about Ceylon. I was truly inspired by the passion and depth of knowledge displayed by my fellow teacher as they taught on a subject that many might take for granted.
This module was a bit different as we had an additional group Zoom call in the middle of the month to wade through these challenging topics together. It really helped me to be able to digest this material in such a supportive and encouraging environment. It’s not easy to be vulnerable but our cohort has become a truly safe space. We all have different perspectives and that allows us to draw from each other.
Our usual group session at the end of the month focused on workshopping ideas around creating lesson plans. We talked about a lot of abstract concepts that can help us to develop engaging sensory-based classes. There was a lot of food for thought as I look forward to developing my own practice classes soon. My private session with Suzette was a bit of a freeform rehashing of all of the topics we discussed during this module. Her perspectives as a tea industry professional and educator are always a big help as I progress on this journey.