Ivan in Schools
Booking information for Ivan in schools:
To book Ivan for a visit to your junior or senior secondary school anywhere in Britsish Columbia, please contact:
Other Provinces or Countries:
For junior and high school bookings in any other province, territory, or country, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivan has been visiting schools for 15 years now, telling stories to encourage talking and action to foster safety and social justice in our hallways, gymnasiums and classrooms for everyone: students, teachers and all staff.
Ivan Coyote was born and raised in a large Irish Catholic family in Whitehorse, Yukon, and learned the craft of storytelling while gathered around their grandmother’s kitchen table on long northern winter nights. Ivan is the award-winning author of nine collections of short stories (including one especially for young adult readers), one novel, a collection of essays, three screenplays and three CD’s, and a renowned live performer.
Coyote’s work tackles the difficult subjects of family, class, gender identity, and social justice, always with the silver tongue of a master storyteller, an eye for the beauty found in what makes us all human, and an ear for the hilarity of life and love. Ivan’s first love is telling stories to a live audience, and over the last nineteen years Ivan has become an audience favourite at writer’s, storytelling, poetry, spoken word, and music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam.
Because much of their material grapples with life in between gender boxes, Ivan is also often asked to speak to labour activists, social justice advocates, university and high school students, health care providers and teachers all across the continent, and beyond. The Globe and Mail called Ivan “a natural-born storyteller” and Ottawa X Press said “Coyote is to CanLit what k.d. lang is to country music: a beautifully odd fixture.” Toronto Star praises Coyote’s “talent for sketching the bizarre in the everyday”, and Quills Magazine says Ivan has a “distinctive and persuasive voice, a flawless sense of pacing, and an impeccable sense of story.”
Ivan Coyote in the classroom has been a successful learning experience for the younger generation. Here are a few testimonials from classes who have had Ivan in their school.
Today, listening to your opening speech and then attending your workshop, I was moved, I was scared, I was empowered to do something that I don’t yet know how to do for my students.
It made me think. Is school safe? Do I feel safe? Do my students feel safe? Should I be settling for less? Do I have to settle? Are some of them coming to school afraid? Are they all? No. No. No. No. No. Yes. Maybe.
What can I do from inside this prison we call public school?
You have asked us today, as educators, to step up and change the world. God, that took guts. You told me that you were afraid today. I am also afraid. And yet, you continue to go into schools and invite people – teachers – students – to care about each other – to protect each other. It is really hard to express in words alone what that’s done. To say that I’m inspired by your courage isn’t good enough. You’ve churned something up inside of me. My guts are reeling with a need… like a rising rush of adrenaline, stifled by a terror to express itself fully – a gagged courage. It’s dissatisfaction. It’s an overwhelming sadness. It’s a feeling of ultimate failure. It’s the word…FINALLY! FINALLY someone who told the truth. It’s a story…your stories and mine and theirs. As you looked my way, one human to another, I recognized your mission. When you asked me to write down a moment where I felt like I had failed today, I couldn’t really choose just one time. I fail every day, every minute, I feel like the system we work in sets us up for failure. I question my own intellect. Will my brain be able to connect with my heart at just the right moment to find the perfect words that will shed light on my student’s misconceptions. Will I recognize my own – just in time.
I am two years in to my teaching career. I cry weekly – sometimes daily – sometimes right after a bouncing group of adolescence leaves my classroom. I contemplate quitting every day because I care so much about the work and I don’t want to fail them.
Until you stood on the platform and tried to wake us.
Today, you dared to speak out as a fellow human being. You used shit as a way in to that connection, and I just love you for that! You are a role model to me – not because I understand what it’s like to be gay or transgendered or anything like that because I don’t, but because you are the bravest teacher I have ever had. You understand what it means to be a human being fighting to be heard, and you listen.
As an EAL learning support teacher, I work closely with students who are often on the margins. I spend a lot of my time advocating for their needs with my staff members and helping the students themselves feel empowered to advocate for themselves at our school. Our school demographics are changing quickly- we never had so many newcomers up until a few years ago. There is racism and bullying at our school- unfortunately sometimes it even happens within the ethnic groups themselves (those who are established here vs. those who have just arrived).
I think there was something in your message today for everyone.
I work with youth in crisis. All sorts of crisis. I have met some that are confused, lost, suffering. They hate themselves so much at times, they want to die. Some of them don’t fit in, nowhere really.
Listening to you gave me hope. Hope for them. Hope for me. Hope that the world is still good, kind, beautiful and unique.
People like you make this world better.
Last summer, I attended the Youth Project’s summer camp for transgender and gender questioning youth. At the time I had never even met another person who felt the way I do in regards to gender. Thanks to that camp named after you, I can now say I have a long term girlfriend, a community to be a part of, even if it is a little rocky sometimes, and what was the catalyst in my self discovery that still ongoing in regards to my gender.
In commemoration of how much your work, and that camp means to me I got a tattoo.
I just wanted to share this with you and share how much knowing I am not alone means to me.
Thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do.
I asked what.
“Ivan Coyote came and told stories!”
He recounted the whole presentation to me, or the bits he could remember; in any case he was so excited and said he laughed so hard, and he loved it — he was on cloud nine.
So I wanted to express my gratitude to you. Finally, someone who inspired him.