Are we all zombies?

                    

Common sense is doing what we “should” do not what we could do. It is what “everyone” else would do. An example is; if your thirsty find a water fountain or if a baby pukes on you then wipe it up, clean your clothes and have a shower…at some point during the day, because anyone living with a baby knows that the ten minute shower is a luxury that only comes at special, unplanned points during the day, like an impromptu nap. This just goes to show that common sense is slightly different depending on life circumstances, culture and other factors. However in summary common sense is comforting and sometimes we make these decisions without even realizing it, like a zombie. You do what your meant to do, you don’t even think about your choices because you don’t need it, you already know what you are going to do.

Educate to stop racism towards First Nations in Saskatchewan

The drop out rate of first nations students in Saskatchewan is  52.6%, that means that this percentage of First Nations, Inuit of Metis heritage between 20 and 24 years old have not completed high school. Treaty education recently became mandatory in all subjects, there are so many resources available, and even people who would love to speak to a class  such as elders. What is so disheartening is the lack of response on the teachers part. Very few teachers do treaty education justice, due in large part to the fear of disrespecting the culture or fear of the students reactions. First nations students don’t want to go to school because the schools do not want to try to teach about their history, the history of Saskatchewan before the settlers, this is such an important topic in our province yet students are uneducated and the teachers don’t teach the topic so they never truly understand what the fist nations students and their families have had to go through. Most students in Regina schools probably don’t know the last residential school to close in Canada was closest to this city, and that it only closed in 1996, 19 years ago. This subject is extremely important for our students to be educated about, not only for the sake of knowing but also to be able to make the connections between the history and the current culture , especially on reserves. . This makes it an unsafe, and unwelcoming environment for the First nations, Inuit and Metis students in our classrooms. That’s why I love the saying “we are all treaty peoples”, because we all live on treaty land, our “people” signed the treaties therefore we are all treaty people. Treaty’s are not only for the First Nations but for all Canadians. If only more people believed this, maybe we would live in a slightly better world, with less racism and more understanding and mutual respect. One can dream, Can’t we?

Diversity, Individuality and Personal Growth

Curriculum is an important part of being a teacher. It is the material you need to help the children learn about, transfer some of your experiences and knowledge and it is the base of your whole class. However I hope to be able to take the curriculum and to twist is around a little and make it my own to make it as fun and educational as possible while helping all my students excel at their own rate but to help each student individually, because each person has a slightly different perspective especially when it comes to certain topics.  A fist nations student may be more engaged and excel in a native studies class, and a child of a biologist may have an edge or a different perspective in natural sciences. A big part of teaching, in my opinion is how your students are doing, always changing what you do to and what works best, one way of teaching may work for one subject very well, but be completely useless for another. Its all about trial and error. Individuality and diversity is important to me. these are my main focuses for my fist years of teaching, but also in my day to day life I am continuously working on myself.

The God of the classroom

The teacher has all the power in the classroom. They decide what they are doing, when they do it, with who they do it, how long they have. They are the all powerful. Especially in the younger  grades the teacher is greatly respected and liked, hopefully. The teacher also gets to pick what they will learn according to the curricula. For each class the teacher must read through the curriculum and decide which outcomes and indicators are most important, prioritize them, figure out the order and timeline for each subject and figure out how they will measure their retention of the subject matter. The curriculum is not very strongly enforced, the administration of the school may check in periodically throughout the year, however they are not aware of the day to day routine in the classroom. And since there is not curriculum police, there is no one to ensure the students are learning what they are supposed to, except if a parent decides to look it up and read the whole document. The teacher is the all powerful person when it comes to the classroom, but that doesn’t mean the students have no power, a “good” teacher will give the students opportunity to make choices, but in theory the teacher is the god of the classroom.

     

The “good” student and Our Racist mindsets

Lets try to think about what would be considered a “good” student. Lets now be honest, you saw a young white girl sitting quietly in her desk. Did she have a book in her hand? Was she talking or looking around? now lets think about our expectation of this “good” girl; she did her homework, she is organized and clean, she is happy and asks questions when appropriate.

 

Now this may not be the “good” student to everyone but the majority of people would agree that this is a “good student” without thinking, its almost like it’s common sense or a stereotype. This is because the schools are meant to help the middle class  white student succeed, the students who represent the “majority”. These are racist, unfair and stereotypical statements. Lets now touch on the gender issue, the girl is the common idea of a perfect student because they are said to be quiet and obedient, but maybe the loud boy who’s fidgeting in his desk has the advantage when it comes to retention of knowledge and capacity to pay attention. More and more research is coming out that our societies idea of the perfect student needs to change. Students shouldn’t just sit all day absorbing information. They are people who need to move, need to explore to learn. Now lets play the race card, very few people don’t connects the “good” student to white culture. The black students are “too loud” or “not smart enough”, the Asian student is “too smart” and “quiet”, the first nation student wont graduate so why bother spending my precious time on them? Now most teachers don’t want to think like this, they don’t want to be racist. We all learn not to be racist, but we also learn from a young age all these racial stereotypes, hence why the white student is the “good” student.  My challenge to you is to give the other student a chance to be good before you put stereotype them, as hard as it may be don’t judge the student until you know the whole truth.

Lets ignite the fire

One of the reasons I chose to go into education was to make people passionate about learning again. Something our society seems to be diminishing in many of our students. When I was in high school all you would hear is complaints about a teacher, a subject, having to take tests, nothing but complaints. Just once I would have loved to hear about how great that lecture was or anything positive. I will admit however that I would sometimes be upset with a mark, unwilling to study for a final or did not do an assignment. Once we become older we loose our enthusiasm, this may be one of the reasons I want to teach grade one. The younger you are the more fun you seem to have, the more you retain and the more you participate.  A seven-year-old isn’t too worried about embarrassing themselves, they just want to lean and have fun. They are at their prime. The older you get the less you want to learn, the less important education becomes because boys/girls, parties or even a job becomes the priority. This I can understand to some regard as there are not only hormonal changes but life experiences come into play.  When your young your life is simple, the older you become the more aware you become and the harder your life becomes, however this is also the time where people learn who they are, what they want to do with their lives and where they want to see themselves in the future.

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Past theorists believed that children were a product, you filled them with knowledge and sent them on their way to be productive members of society. This theory has since been debunked, however some teacher still unknowingly pushes a similar idea into their classrooms. Some people still believe that school is just to learn, while others believe that school is life, school is everything. For example, in my grade twelve year I was; yearbook editor, I directed a one act play, I was in a play, I helped paint the sets for the main production, I worked the sound board for all school events, I was treasurer for my student government, I was a blood donor clinic ambassador, I filmed and edited the pep rally videos, I was the only student to take the advanced placement french exam, I was an honor roll student and I had a job. School was my life. I grew so much in that one year alone.  I believe that with the right people and the right environment education could light up so many lives. Sadly, this may also be a tad unrealistic. For some people school can be a great experience but some people are just not able to excel in school. For example, I had a conversation once with a man who now owns his own very successful car repair shop. He was a very knowledgeable man, he spoke very well, and he was just smart plain and simple. Surprisingly he didn’t graduate on time with his fellow classmates, he had to do an extra year just because he didn’t have the light for education ignited by his teachers and his courses. He struggled with things like history and english. This does not mean he is not smart, because as I have said he is. School doesn’t always work for every one sadly.

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It is not only the responsibility of the teacher to ignite a passion for learning, the student must also put in the time and effort. But in my opinion if more people became passionate about learning can you imagine what we would be capable of? the obstacles we as a society could overcome? This leads me into how I feel about school and curriculum. I think school is an amazing, supportive environment for some, but others are not treated the same, I have the luxury of being a white girl in Canada. My experience isn’t even relatable to say that of a black female in Africa. I wish school could be as inspiring of an experience for her as it was for me, but sadly many countries all over the world are not working, in many countries girls don’t have the right to education, or even the way the teachers evaluate the students. How can we expect student to be inspired by learning and education if they don’t have the right to one? One day I hope someone light the fire under these students so they may grow and become the best that they can be. Education can inspire if the students have the chance to truly excel and appreciate it.

 

Old school theory vs modern day students

 

The Tyler rationale is a very traditionalist way of thinking, in my opinion its an old school perspective. This rationale is broken down to four very repetitive parts; learning objectives, introduce useful learning experiences, organizing said experiences to have the strongest effect on the students and then finally evaluating and revising to see if they learned what was required. As you can see its a very simple way of thinking. The students have no input into their learning, the school chooses what you learn, how you learn it, where and by who.

The student is unable to feel like a person as it is an extremely limiting way of learning. For example, if the student were to become very intrigued by one of the subjects, too bad its time to move on. Or even worse if the students are having a hard time with a subject the teacher has a tough call to make, either they continue on with their organised year long plan or they continue to teach the troubling lessons until they are understood. the problem with that is it messes up the whole plan, you have to move things around and reorganize and reallocate time and efforts to make a new plan. 

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I personally have experienced aspects of this rationale, but not to its fullest extent. Every teacher has objectives they wish to achieve and a plan and timeline to do so, however I was lucky enough that my teachers were all very personable and easy to sway should we wish to explore another subject or to pass by a subject more quickly. This may be because I have always had a smaller class size as I have been a French immersion student. This program is known for its smaller class sizes and its diverse subjects and ways of learning and teaching. 

The Tyler rationale has some benefits, in my opinion more so for the teacher than the students. The teacher can plan their whole year and stick to it, which is less work and time pulling your hair out trying to figure out what you want to do. It is also easier because you have already figured out your outcomes and how you wish to attain them. As well as how you wish to grade the student on their progress. The only real benefit I can’t think of in regards to the student is that your teacher should be quite organised so then hopefully the students have a routine or some level of organisation which is especially important with the younger children. 

I personally do not like nor do I agree with this rationale, but sadly it is still part of the way we teach and learn in our modern day society. Many think we have grown in our ways of thinking and doing things, but I must say that sadly this is extremely false, many bad theories are still used to this day, but I can say that this is not how I will teach. Just saying, I would rather be an active participant in my learning, I prefer to go with the flow and do what you need to do as time goes on. Not to say I wont have lesson plans and such, I will, but I want my student to be interested in what they are learning because in my opinion that is the only way for them to really retain the information. I remember my teacher in grade six sang this ridiculous song about imparfait, a French verb tense, and I still use it to this day. I do not want my students to learn something, write the test and then to forget about it BECAUSE THAT IS NOT EFFECTIVE!