In this interview, Beatrice McGeoch, Brown University class of 1997, shares her thoughts on education, work, and housing, in the times of COVID-19.
McGeoch begins by recalling when COVID-19 became a serious factor in her work and life. She explains her work as the Director of Adult Education and Literacy Services at the Community College of Rhode Island as well as the work she and her team did to transition approximately 800 students to online learning. She discusses some of the challenges students faced with aspects such as internet access, use of the technology, and quiet spaces at home. She also discusses her own children’s transition to remote learning from North Kingstown Public Schools.
McGeoch details the positive and negative aspects of online learning as well as teaching non-traditional students working towards their General Education Diploma (GED). She explains that while attendance rates increased, the curriculum she carefully curated with focuses on race, gender, and equality, is not easily accessible online. She shares that she is a British immigrant who came to the United States in 1979 at the age of 4 and explains that her experiences as a queer youth and British immigrant has given her insight into the value of in-person education and connection. She considers ideas of education as cultural reproduction and elaborates on two major ways she believes American culture can be modified toward inclusivity. Specifically, McGeoch details an idea for a stewardship form of land ownership that would counteract typical notions of home-buying as investment. She also shares an idea for watershed-based citizenship that would connect citizenship to the environment and location versus political boundaries.
Additionally, McGeoch describes how she has spoken with her children about racism and the numerous deaths of Black people at the hands of police officers, beginning with the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. She also talks about attending a dyke trans people of color protest. She closes her interview by discussing being a parent in the United States and the lack of government support for this work.