Field Placement Week Three

It was good to get back into the classroom this week. On the first day back from the break the kids were super excited to be back to school and to see all their friends! The smiles and joy on their gleaming little faces warmed my heart. I do have to say that this short placement is the best part of my week and I will be sad when it is time to say goodbye to the kids and teachers I have started to bond within just three short times so far.

In the two classrooms, I have had the pleasure of working with many different variations of children. Although the children are around the same age, does not mean that all students will mature and develop at the same pace, this concept is prominent throughout the two classrooms. Some of the students are very mature both intellectually and socially and some students are a little on the immature side for their age. In the grade one/two split, I find it interesting how the grade ones are so much more mature than the grade ones in the class that is strictly grade ones. The maturity level of the grade twos allows the grades ones to fall into that maturity level as well. Allowing split classes into schools both can be beneficial as well have some struggles but for children that need work socially, I think it is a great program to put them in!

The two teachers I have been working with have taken much emphasis on getting to know each student individually and knowing what that student needs to succeed. I believe this is the greatest aspect a teacher needs to be able to do to have a successful classroom. In the two classrooms, we see differences in learning rather it be behavioral, intellectual, or language barriers. By knowing all your students allows the teacher to be able to work towards new teaching methods and new ways to keep the children motivated in their school work.

I think the two teachers that I specifically get to work with rely mainly on each other. I have never seen two teachers that can work so well together and have that support of two teachers to handle a situation, teach a lesson, share lesson plans or even just to talk to would be so beneficial throughout their day. It is inspiring to see these two teachers work so closely together, they just click, and it is something I hope I will find when I am working in a classroom. The teachers also rely on their principal and vice principal along with the teachers that come in to teach their classes French, music, and art. Without a big support system of people and helpers, I don’t think the ship would run as smoothly in these two classes as they do now!

I believe teachers continue to build their professional knowledge through experience. Throughout every new class they get each year and through all the differences between their students, I believe with time they build more knowledge and understanding towards their career. Even though every student will always be different, through experience teachers will learn many great techniques that can hopefully be used with many different students.

The two teachers I get to work with have truly been an inspiration to me as I will soon be running my own classroom. Although I have a few years to go I will take many of their tips and guidance with me throughout my years and into my own classroom.

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Reading Response #5: “Currere to the Rescue” and “The Heart of the Teacher”

Throughout the course so far, the two assigned readings that I have enjoyed the most were the two readings from this week. The class was assigned to readCurrere to the Rescue” and “The Heart of a Teacher.” I think the reason why I enjoyed these readings so much was that they allowed me to understand what it takes to become a strong teacher. Being a first-year education class I think many of my classmates and myself can agree that we have no idea what we are getting into. These two articles have helped me understand the love of teaching.

A big thing I learned from “The Heart of a Teacher” is you must be able to understand yourself completely to be able to successfully teach the subject. I was at first confused at this point, I thought why do I have to know who I am, to be able to teach elementary students? After I continued to read I now understand that if I don’t know myself, my students will be able to sense that. You need to know yourself to be able to fully understand your subject and your students. A currere paper is a good way to find ourselves, and I understand why it is so crucial for my classmates and I to write our own currere paper.

Another important topic that was discussed in both the reading and in-class was teaching beyond technique. After reading the article and then discussing the topic with my fellow peers, I have learned that technique is great, but we can not just rely on technique, teaching is much more than that. I see it as technique is like a trunk of a tree, it is the base. The branches of the tree are the extra things it takes to become a great teacher. As future educators, we need to understand the differences in our students and in our subjects to be able to form those branches. Every child is different, so that is why we must be able to use the technique and go further to accommodate all our students.

Before reading the article and listening to the lecture I always understood that teachers need to be very private with their own lives at work. However, Palmer states that we need to be open to our colleagues and to our students so we can be comfortable teaching. We need to show our students our identity and our lives so they can feel comfortable coming to us about their personal lives.

A question that I have after the reading is where must teachers draw the line when opening about their identity to their coworkers and their students? Palmer states that we need to know ourselves and talk to people about our identity but what should be talked about within the walls of the school?

I am left puzzled over why certain people go into the education field when they don’t have the heart for it. Do they think it is going to be easy? Or do they just want the holidays and don’t overly care about their students?

These readings have taught me a lot as I continue my education and have allowed me to understand that one of the best things that will make me a great educator is to full heartily know myself.

Reading Response #4: “Jagged Worldviews Colliding”

Before reading “Jagged Worldviews Colliding” I have never thought about the powerful impacts worldviews could have on someone.  Thinking in terms of myself, after the reading I realized that many of the things I think and believe have been powerfully shaped by the social atmosphere of society. Through my parent’s teachings, school learnings and the powerful impacts of media, my worldview has been formed from a very one-sided point of view. After the reading and Gale Russell’s presentation in class, I found myself leaning toward worldview A which is the Traditional Western Worldview. However, I did find worldview B to be very intriguing, I noticed that I was raised in a position where worldview A was the “norm.”

A part of the reading that grabbed my attention was the reference to language: “an individual absorbs the collective thought processes of a people” (78). This meaning that individuals take in so much from the people they surround themselves around. I was able then to connect my worldview to the Western worldview because those are the people I have been listening to since I was young.

From the reading I learned that wholeness in the view of Indigenous peoples is like a flower with four petals. The flower represents strength, sharing, honesty, and kindness and together the petals create balance, harmony, and beauty. I found that this reference could easily be translated to a classroom setting in any age or race. These four virtues are important attributes that all children should learn and respect; not just our Indigenous people.

Another new understanding, I gained from both the assigned reading and our presentation in class was how both different worldviews can be combined. Gale considered the theory that Worldview B the Indigenous worldview portrays both the good qualities of worldview A and the qualities of worldview B. Having this new understanding allows me to think further on how I personally want to shape my worldview from here on out. I want to focus my attention more on being openminded and less on being stuck in my old ways, and the ways I was taught up to this point. Through this reanalyzing, I believe I will become a more rounded person which will make better qualities for myself as a future educator.

After learning about the Indigenous people’s worldview, I am left puzzled over how the European settlers believed the Indigenous people were uncivilized? They had a better understanding and openness to all different individuals so what was the problem in their way of life?

The question I am left with after this topic is, where would our world be if Worldview B was the “norm” instead of Worldview A? Would our world be better if that was the case? I like to believe so, and I think many others would agree with me.

To conclude, after this week’s class and assigned reading I have found a better understanding of how my personal worldviews were formed, and now have a more inciteful look at worldviews as a whole. I believe I can take this new found knowledge into my future career to better my classroom.

Field Placement Week Two

The school is very community oriented and the children all come from good homes that value a strong education. Throughout the weeks of the Olympics, both classes focused on a Canadian athlete each day. I found this very important and it allowed the kids to show some Canadian pride. It amazes me for being such a big school how many of the kids, teachers and other staff members know each other. Seeing that I understand how strong a community this school has created for their students and workers.

I find it very interesting how so many of the kids get picked up by their parents from school. Very few of the children we work with go home on the bus or walk home. However, the reason it surprises me is that I grew up in a town of five hundred so when the bell rang to go home we didn’t have very far to walk to get home.

Another shock I had from growing up in a small school is that every time we enter the city school we must sign in, even the parents must sign in at the front office before they are able to go into the school. This is a great way to monitor who goes in and out of the school daily. I enjoyed seeing people coming and going and the principle knowing all their names, this school is very interested in not just teaching the students the subjects but building a community around the school with all the families.

During recess, we are invited to the staff room and there again we can see the community being formed throughout the staff. They have events planned, potlucks for lunches, birthday cakes to celebrate a worker’s birthday. The staff not only were comfortable with each other, but they also made us feel comfortable with them. They brought us into conversations and asked us questions about our lives. This is just another example of how friendly this school’s atmosphere really is.

I fully enjoy spending my Monday afternoons at the school. The students, staff, and parents are welcoming to having us in their classrooms and in their school and that really makes this experience unforgettable.

Currere Paper: Regression

In kindergarten, if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have always said a teacher. My favorite place to be was school, and I knew that was where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Throughout grades one and two, my dream of becoming a teacher never changed. However, in grade three I began speech therapy. The day I started speech, I was called out of the classroom to a chorus of my peers laughing and whispering “she’s dumb”. I specifically remember my grade three teacher coming up to me and telling me that if I did not get better with my pronunciation of words, I wouldn’t be able to become a teacher in the future. My heart sank as the smell of desperation lingered in the air as I wanted to take the words back from out of her mouth. I can be a teacher, you don’t define me.

My young self had two options that I could take from that point on. One was listen to my teacher and give up my dream of becoming a teacher, or two, work extremely hard in speech therapy and at home, in hopes, my pronunciation would improve. I decided to take the second option. All my free time turned into practicing my speech. Throughout the years my teacher slowly began to see improvement, and after three years my speech therapist believed that I no longer needed special attention. I was dedicated to making improvement and so I did.

My third-grade teacher helped me become the person I am today. She discouraged me and told me what I could and could not do, and so I decided I was going to prove her wrong. Throughout that individual situation, I developed dedication and a good work ethic. Perseverance allowed me to fight for what I wanted, even if was just a small act of proving someone wrong. She helped me develop a sense of independence that has shaped who I am to this day. I did not give up on my dreams, I pushed through the negativity and I am now here at the University of Regina pursuing a career in elementary education because of that one teacher who decided to limit me.

Field Placement Week One

I was placed at W.S Hawrylak School in Regina. When my partner and I first arrived for our first day we were greeted by the principle and got a tour of the school. Upon arrival, I did not realize that the school was half French and half English, which I found very interesting because I have never heard of a school being split down the middle into two different languages. After the tour of the school, we got to go meet our classes. My partner and I will be working with two teachers that work hand in hand together. The one classroom is a grade one and grade two split while the other classroom is grade one students.

The first thing I noticed as I walked through the door of both of our classrooms was the representation of being on Treaty 4 land. I was surprised at first when I saw it. In my grade school, we had no representation of treaties on the walls, but I now understand why the students need to acknowledge it at a young age. It is part of their history and they need to understand that we are all treaty people.

When introducing ourselves to the students we could see the excitement on their faces. They were excited to have other people helping them in their classrooms other than their teachers. The first placement was spent trying to get to know the kids and letting them become comfortable around us. Next week I am sure we will be a lot more involved once the kids are able to recognize us as teachers they will begin to ask us for help.

I found it interesting that all the students were seated at tables instead of rows of desks. All throughout my grade school, we were seated at individual desks to avoid talking to our friends, but at this school, the teachers encourage group work. I find this very beneficial and it will be something I consider in my classroom.

My former elementary teachers also kept the walls plain, they believed that things on the walls would cause a distraction to the learning. However, in the classroom I am working in the items on the wall made the classroom look alive and fun. I noticed many of the kids used the items on the walls as references to the work they were doing, rather it is the alphabet or the numbers. It was not a distraction to the kids but, beneficial.

Compared to my elementary classroom I had when I was growing up, the space I am working in this year is much more welcoming. The kids are not individualized to their own separate desks which allows them to create social skills while they are working on their school work. The placement will be very rewarding to go to and I can not wait to see what else I will be learning each day I go.

Reading Response #3: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Looking at the article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh goes into her view of the unseen white privilege and refers it to light skinned people having this imaginary knapsack of privileges that only they have access to. After reading the article I was shocked by how little I was educated on the topic of white privilege. However, when I go through and think about it, it makes sense why I am so undereducated about white privilege. I am so undereducated about the topic because I am white. You would think since I was white, that would make me see the privilege that I have over people of a different color of skin, however, like Peggy stated in her article our privileges are invisible to us because we think they are just the “normal” privileges everyone receives. I learned that since I am white I am so engulfed in my everyday life that I never take a step back to look at the bigger picture. I have never thought much that the reason I have so many things to be thankful for is that I have so many unknown privileges.

I never once saw myself as a racist before reading Peggy’s article. I was always taught that the term racist was individualized, not a whole group of people. I now understand that I am part of a racist system because this term is not individualized, but it is institutionalized. I now came to the realization that I cannot be mad or upset that I am considered part of this system since I was born into the group of people that are institutionally racist.

Now that I can see some examples of white privilege I take for granted in my everyday life, I can understand that there needs to be a change in the social systems. We are told we live in a free country, however, I learned from Peggy’s article that it is only free to the ones that hold the privileges. My input and view on the world is much different then an African American females view would be. This country is only free to the people that have the power.

The question I have after reading Peggy’s article is a rather big question that could take years to be answered. Where do we go from here? Peggy states in her article that white people changing their viewpoints will not be enough to change the playing field, so the question is: What will it take for society to become equal and free for all?

One thing I find myself puzzled over is why are whites hidden from white privilege? I understand from the reading that whites can not shame themselves for having this privilege so why is it not acknowledged? White privilege is institutionalized, and we cannot do anything about it being put on us, so why is it so hard for whites to acknowledge that this privilege exists?

Throughout this article, I have not only learned a lot about society and white privilege but also where I stand when it comes to topics such as privileges. I am now more educated about the world around me.

Reading Response #2: Muffins for Granny

On January 22nd Dr. Anna-Leah King came in to do a short presentation about her family experience regarding Residential Schools and then she asked the class to watch the documentary “Muffins for Granny”. This story followed four residential school survivors through the aftermaths and their memories the Residential School system put on them and their families.

Before taking ECS 100, I understood that the pain of the schools will never be completely gone and that there is a lot of work to be done if we ever want to make amends with the people we have hurt. However, before watching the documentary, I never realized how much of a lasting effect the Residential schools put on the Indigenous communities.

Learning about Residential Schools through textbooks that are often written and taught by Caucasian people is a lot different than learning it from someone who has experienced it personally; either it is their parent who attended or themselves who attended. Before coming to the university, I was only taught the one side of the story. I was told what was written in the textbooks and nothing beyond those pages. Watching the documentary allowed me to see the lasting trauma on survivors which allowed me to understand their community better. I never understood why Indigenous communities had such a high drug and alcohol abuse rates until now. People who have been impacted negatively by the Residential Schools often are drinking to get away from their memories, they abuse because they want to forget, not because they want to do it, but because it helps them cope with the pain.

In the documentary, the topic of love and affection was brought up throughout much of the show. As soon as the children arrived at a school, they were given a number and that was who they were. Their names, culture, and language were stripped away from them and they were forced to assimilate into someone their parents wouldn’t even recognize. The loss of love and affection carried on with the survivors after their time in the Residential Schools. Since they were never given love and affection, they were unable to give love and affection to the ones they loved.  Many of the survivors ended up behind bars, being abusive to their loved ones, and abusing themselves. These survivors no longer knew who they were and what they were living for. They were lost through not any fault of their own.

It took many years for the survivors to begin talking about their experiences with their loved ones. Anna-Leah told us that her father didn’t talk about his experience until he was 50 and her mother did not start talking about her memories until she was 70. The memories were so traumatic, it was easier for the survivors to keep it locked away instead of letting it out. Now that people have begun talking, it is a step forward in the right direction. The more the survivors talk, the more educated we will be, which is the right step towards making amends. Telling the truth and being kind is all people need to do.

Reading Response #1: Shattering the Silence and Schooling in Saskatchewan

Before learning and reading about the history of the Saskatchewan school systems, I did not realize how much work and how many changes were put into the system to get it to how it is now.

After reading the articles, I realized throughout all my education regarding Residential Schools and Treaty education, I did not fully understand the agreement that was made between the two parties. When the treaties were created it was stated that the First Nations communities would be given schooling on their reserves. This commitment was not recognized and soon the creation of Residential Schools was formed. As we saw through the second reading for this week “Shattering the Silence,” Residential Schools have a lasting impact on the First Nations people. The clip that we were to read of “Shattering the Silence,” specifically focused on three different point of views: the parent left behind, the child taken and the integrational trauma survivor. All three of these viewpoints let the reader understand more personally to the lasting trauma these boarding schools had on the child and their families. All of this could have been avoided if the agreement for schools on reserves were granted and the children could have learned their own culture and knowledge.

A point that really surprised me as I was reading through the “Shattering the Silence” article was the example of the before and after picture of the little boy. I had no idea that the Canadian Government staged propaganda to allow the people to think that the boarding schools were okay because the children were becoming “civilized.” I was appalled when I continued reading to find out that the before picture wasn’t even a representation of the boy’s traditional attire! The government had the people believing in false representation to make a more “civil” country.

Before pursuing my education to become an elementary school teacher I had no idea of the schooling teachers had to go through before the degree program was installed. Before 1888 there were no teacher training programs that teachers had to go through before teaching in the classroom. I find that astonishing since now to become a teacher in the school system you must go through a four-year degree program first. Teaching has made some big changes over the years!

The question I was left wondering after both readings is: has our education system reached the point that they are content with how things are being run, or is there more improvements from here on?

One thing I still find problematic after reading the two articles is why didn’t the white communities say something to the government or help the First Nations communities get their children back? Did the government brainwash and hide what was happening in the schools or did the white people believe it was the right thing to do?

To conclude, from both readings I have learned inciteful information that has allowed to gain a deeper understanding towards the history of the school system in Saskatchewan along with the Residential School systems.