Season 4, Episode 2: Interview with Cait O’Connor (part 2)

Charles WilliamsThe Counter Narrative Podcast

Welcome to the Counter Narrative Podcast, a show designed to change the way we talk, and think, about education. By sharing stories of successes and triumphs, we aim to challenge the dominant narrative that often negatively portrays our disenfranchised populations.

I’m your host, Charles Williams. An urban educator for more than 15 years, a current school principal in Chicago, an educational consultant, an equity advocate, and the co-host of Inside The Principal’s Office.

Let’s get started.

In this episode, I welcome back Cait O’Connor, a 9th & 12th grade English teacher in upstate New York. Cait is a mental health peer and fierce advocate who is heavily passionate about social justice, antiracism, and anti-ableism. She also believes in combating weight bias and promoting size diversity and representation in the classroom and beyond.

We wanted to honor National Mental Health Awareness Month by diving a little deeper into some of the concepts that we discussed previously while also examining some new perspectives around mental health. We begin by discussing the concepts of experts and comparing lived experiences with earned certifications. Cait also points out that, despite the old adage that sticks and stones may break my bones … you know the one … that words actually do carry plenty of power and thus we need to be cognizant of how we utilize terms. The casual misuse of medical diagnoses to commodify everyday behavior contributes to the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of real problems facing many people. This conversation touches on a lot of topics but, as always, ends with some ideas and suggestions for moving forward and doing the work.

I hope that you enjoy this episode and remember that its okay not to be okay. And if you’re struggling, find someone to talk to. There are a few resources in the show notes if you need them.

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