This is probably harder for some to answer then others, but what type of teacher are you going to be? Growing up, I remember the majority of my classes consisted of sitting in class doing our work and if we had the time or were good, sometime we would be allowed to watch a part of a movie in class. At that age, it was the best thing the teacher could let us do. Now looking at the elementary classes that I have been lucky enough to intern in, they would rarely go a day without using a laptop or an I-Pad and there wasn’t a classroom that I had been in that didn’t have a Smartboard on the wall. I however had the opportunity to go into the K, 1,2 classroom back home (yes, 3 grades per teacher!) and she was the same teacher that taught my kindergarten and sadly she had hardly changed. The school had all of the electronic resources you could wish for that would make learning much more hands on for students and much more interesting for them to do but she enjoyed her old ways of teaching and so her old ways was what she continued to do. This to me is an example of a basic teacher.
Another changing life event besides technology that teachers need to keep up to date with is the vast incline of immigrants coming into our country. It is important that we need only make our immigrant students feel welcome, but also at home. This is crucial and can be very beneficial to their learning. If we have immigrant students joining our classrooms but doing nothing to accommodate their needs and learning styles then we aren’t going to see any improvement in their learning. I feel this has happened lots recently in the education system, where we seeing teachers failing these immigrant students because they apparently don’t know anything, but the teachers just expected them to join in at the level they were at and succeed like the rest of the students.
As educators it is important that we stay on top of things, whether that’s tweaking our lessons plans every year to benefit our class better, staying up to date with the newest technology and useful tools or doing some homework of our own to get to know more about our immigrant students backgrounds, we need to keep up to date and keep our brains sharp. It is easy to find something that works and stick with it for many years, but that’s not always beneficial.
Breast cancer is an illness that thousands of people know about and learn about each and every year. As a teenager, the Keep a Breast foundation decided they were going to take promoting the illness to the next level and came out with the ‘Boobies’ line. This consisted of bracelets, hats and clothing objects that had some pretty aggressive slogans relating to breasts such as “I love boobies”, “motor boating” “I like butts, but boobies rule” and so on. This was a pretty big leap to take considering it could easily cause a lot of controversy but they went for it and sure enough it was a hit especially with teenagers and young adults. To me, this probably raised millions of dollars for breast cancer awareness to help find a cure, but did it really raise awareness? I bought several of these items and probably still have them kicking around somewhere, but looking back now I am not sure exactly how aware I really was about breast cancer. I was really just buying them because they were trending and everyone else in my class had them.
Looking through Facebook now, you see a lot more women coming out of their shells and telling people the real raw story about their journeys with breast cancer and how they faced it head on. In my eyes, this might not be raising a bunch of money for breast cancer awareness but it has made me much more aware of this illness and how it affects people and their families. Online activism is huge these days especially when you want to raise awareness about something. It would be ideal to find a medium where you are both raising money and creating awareness but these women shared their stories free willingly with the world and showed everyone how devastating breast cancer really is and what it does to a woman. Because of that I am much more aware then buying a bracelet in the store because it had a funny slogan written on it. We need to take full advantage of online activism because it will travel across the world faster then any other form of communication.
Growing up I never had any First Nations students in class, in fact there was very few throughout the whole school. This was probably due to the fact that I lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere! This didn’t effect my learning on treaty education though. I’m not sure when or how it was taught in large schools, but as soon as we hit grade 8, it was incorporated into our Social and History classes. I feel now that I am learning more about treaty education in university I am grateful that I was taught the basics but realize that there is still so much more that I have to learn about.
Treaty Education is such an important piece of our history. It teaches us about colonization and the sharing of land. Without that background information, you miss out on a large chunk of history and the creation of our land. Treaty education also talks greatly about the promises made between the Europeans and First Nations people. This is still a large part of our country till this day and we still do what we can to make peace with the First Nations for our past actions. I personally don’t understand how a school system could work without the teaching of treaty education to our students. I truly feel that treaty education should be incorporated right into the curriculum from kindergarten through grade 12.
We see reinhabitation and decolonization throughout the reading by speaking Cree language, sharing knowledge, creating a connection to the land, and by the gathering of the community. What really caught my eye from this text was the word community. I truly believe that community is crucial for our children to learn and especially at a young age. Being apart of community that you can trust and talk to makes life so much easier to get through. It will give you a sense of belonging and help make you a better person. Some might question how you teach community to children, but even simple things like taking your students for a walk through the community to observe different actions and traits that they see as a community will help give them an understanding. Or having a elder come in and speak to the class about community would be very beneficial in not only learning about our community but it also gets our students engaged and involved with our elders which will help them build those key relationships that they will find very beneficial as they grow older.
Not too much to say about this weeks portion. I have tried quite a few moves now and so this week I decided to try one for fun! The first video is of me doing a position called ‘8 points’ meaning that I have my eight main points of my body resting on my mat. I maybe wasn’t doing this one right since it can be challenging to watch a video and do the pose at the same time, but I didn’t really feel to good and relaxed during this one, felt more awkward and worm like!
Before I share what I chose to talk about this week, I want to quickly reflect on something from the Justice Sinclair seminar and it has to do with the change he wants to see. Mr. Sinclair is very obviously truly passionate about the children on this earth and almost every statement that came out of his mouth was about wanting to benefit our children in some form. One point that really caught my attention was the unmarked graveyard outside of Regina that contains the burial plots of 36 children. This doesn’t really relate to education much but it does relate to residential schools and what went on inside those walls. I myself never knew about this graveyard until listening to this seminar and now that I know about it, it has really hit home for me. Those sweet innocent children who were tortured and beaten almost everyday until they physically couldn’t take anymore and now they are buried in a graveyard that the city won’t even mark. I’m not sure if the families of these children are still around but to me it’s a bit of a slap in the face.
On a bit of a happier side, I came across this pictures scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and I actually just sat and stared at it for a good 5 minutes thinking about how it related so much back to educators and their lives. The picture is of a road and on the side of the road is a beach full of people enjoying themselves but the picture really just focuses on the road ahead and the unknown end. This relates to my ECMP 355 journey in a bit of a strange way. Educators have the tough job of having to reach a set of outcomes that are chosen for them and have to be met by the end of the year. This can easily result in them just doing what they need to do to get the job done. This is where we see the road in the picture, teachers are looking straight ahead hoping that they reach the end of the road soon and everything goes smoothly. ECMP 355 and all of the cool and different programs it has taught me is the beach! You can still get where you need to go, but you can also have fun while doing so!
There might not be any set in stone definition of a good teacher and there probably never will be. There are however many stereotypes to go with being a teacher but they aren’t always beneficial. I see myself as a ‘good’ teacher. I am a white catholic female and those are all stereotypes that go with the ‘good’ teacher vibe. This worries me though because it might push me over the line of being a ‘white savior’ and that is not something I want to become as an educator. All educators want to better their students, that why they become educators, but it is just as important that we remember to constantly try and better ourselves and I think this is something that gets forgotten as the years go on. We are going to find many things that benefit for us as teachers and we are going to continue to use and do those things but how long until they no longer benefit us and these things then become something that simply just works for us?
Another large aspect that makes a good teacher is the passing on of our biases and beliefs. We as educators aren’t supposed to have bias, especially with the large increase in immigration rates. They make to curriculum anti-bias and we educators are supposed to make our minds anti-bias, this is much easier said then done. It’s only human, you grow up your whole life being taught and practicing your beliefs with your family and some might even continue to do this at home with their new families it’s a way of life. But as educators we are expected to leave this biases and beliefs at home and be completely open and agreeing with our students and their beliefs. This is a challenge for everyone but I do believe this is a strong aspect of being a ‘good’ teacher.
When it comes to the hidden curriculum, we all know it’s there and it can be hard to find the time to discuss it. If we keep it on our mind, it becomes easier to pull from throughout our day and we are able to shine light on it as best we can and as often as we can.