Following Gord Downie’s passing, a pair of teachers in Clinton, Ont. are urging their colleagues to use The Tragically Hip frontman’s words to inspire a new generation through a social media campaign they’ve dubbed ‘Teach Like Gord.’
“I was 15 when I went to my first Hip concert in ’96, and as a result of that, I really just don’t remember any part of my life where they weren’t sort of involved with it,” Isaac Moore told CTV Kitchener.
Fellow teacher Josh Geddis is no different.
“I just took a moment and paused and thought, you know, ‘Wow — this great man’s life is now over,’” Geddis told CTV Kitchener. “Soon after that, it was kind of, you know, what am I going to do to bring that into my classrooms?”
Both agree that while Downie may be gone, his legacy and message still needs to live on. So, on Friday, they created a social media campaign, urging fellow teachers to incorporate the late Canadian music icon’s words into next week’s lesson plans with the hashtag #teachlikegord.
That hashtag is now trending online and their project has gained support from teachers all over the country.
“It’s neat for the public to see that this is what teaching is about,” Geddis said. “It’s about sharing. It’s about collaborating.”
The week-long campaign, they say, is about going beyond Downie’s lyrics. They want to explain, for example, why albums like the Secret Path, which tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, an Indigenous boy who died after escaping a residential school, are so important to Canadian history.
“I believe him when he says if more people just knew what happened, more people would care,” Moore said of Downie.
The pair also plan on playing and teaching The Tragically Hip song “Wheat Kings,” which was inspired by wrongdoings in the Canadian criminal justice system.
“It’s neat to give them an opportunity to look through the lyrics and say, you know, what do you think this is about?” Geddis said. “What’s he trying to say here? How does he touch you?”
With a report from CTV Kitchener’s Brandon Rowe
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