This essay focuses on the use of inquiry and counter-witnessing as a means of understanding our teaching identities, vulnerability, and productivity in the era of COVID-19. Based on our experiences as teacher educators at three separate institutions of higher education, we have come to value counter-telling and validating. As we share in this essay, working in COVID-19 has taught us, once again, that we must find, and model, courage and self-acceptance. In our teaching and administrative roles, we – along with other educators – can learn to speak our truths and experiences bravely. We hope that in so doing, others will follow suit. We also become empowered to reflect on our identities, vulnerability, and productivity. After all, when others “tell us more,” we become emboldened to counter-witness, making space for everyone’s story.

Author Bio

Erica R. Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Education at Grand Valley State University, where she works with preservice and inservice teachers. Her research interests focus on teacher learning and professional development, place-based education, literacy, and educational technology.

Deborah Vriend Van Duinen is an Associate Professor of Education at Hope College and Director of the NEA Big Read Lakeshore, a community-wide reading program. In her work with preservice teachers, she emphasizes inquiry-based teaching and reflective practices. Deborah writes and teaches in the area of English education, disciplinary literacy, young adult literature and adolescent literacy.

Gretchen Rumohr is a Professor of English at Aquinas College where she also chairs the English department and serves as Aquinas College's writing program administrator. She is an active participant in the ELATE Commission on the Teaching of Adolescent Literature as well as the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN). Her writing and research focuses on young adult literature and at-risk youth.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.