Ecoliteracy Braid

After looking at some of my peers’ poems there were two that stood out to me. One because it is so similar to mine in meaning and one because of how different of an approach it had. The first poem I am going to weave mine with is Jade’s. In my poem I stressed the importance of giving back to the environment because we take so much from it. A section from my poem that really represents this idea is the one that says, “If we take, From our environment, And never give back, Is the relationship, Going to last?”. Jades poem had a line that said, “Give back to the world, something just as good as the world gives to us”. This line in her poem was one that I could personally connect to. I feel as though she holds the same beliefs as I do when I heard her read these words. We both recognize that we are taking and taking from the environment and not giving back to it. We both believe that we need to make a change. I wrote the words, “Unless, The knowledgeable can leap And, Repair what has been broken”. Jade’s poem said, ““So, let’s take a moment and think of what we can do to give back to the world”. It was made clear to me when comparing our poems that we have somewhat of an anthropocentric view of ecoliteracy. This is due to the fact that both of these lines in our poems are making it clear that the ecoliterate need to lead the movement to give back to the environment. It seems as though Jade and I both view the ecoliterate as the ones that have the ability and knowledge to really change the world and help save it. The humans have to “save” the environment.

The second poem that really stood out to me was Mateus’. His poem was so different than mine that it almost caught me off guard. But, after really analyzing it and considering all of it’s meanings, I realize that the differences between the two poems really compliment each other. Mateus’ poem was anything but anthropocentric. His lines focussed on the fact that we are all one and that there is a strong connection between us and nature. Some lines that really resonated with me are, “we are part of nature”, “we are part of nature and so are the Bacteria and Archaea”, and “as atoms and particles and energy and vibrations”. These lines of his poem really opened my eyes to the fact that we are so deeply connected to nature which was not really represented in my poem. But, the line in my poem that says, “Is it a relationship, If one only gives, And one only takes?” compliments Mateus’ lines. If we can realize the connection between us and the environment that Mateus’ poem speaks to then I strongly believe that we will be able to build a stronger relationship with it. If we can really feel the connection and realize we are all made up of the same things, then we will not treat nature so poorly. We will be able to improve our relationship and be able to “repair what has been broken” as my poem notes.

In addition to this weaving that I did with the poems of my classmates, I was able to make connections with the Kimmerer text we use in class. Honestly, the first connection made was not made with any specific readings within the text, but simply the sub heading on the cover. Under the title Braiding Sweetgrass, it says “Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants”. Reading this made me realize that my ecoliteracy braid is not complete. I have scientific knowledge and the teaching of plants incorporated, but I am missing Indigenous wisdom. After seeing this, it makes me want to gain a more in depth understanding of the Indigenous perspective of the environment in order to improve my braid. I feel like I have been neglected this type  of understanding for most of my life and this simple sub heading has inspired me to work towards deepening this understanding.

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Ecoliteracy Poem

Fade Away

Is it a relationship,

If it is one sided?

If one only gives

And one never gives back,

Is it going to last?

One will wear out

And be forced to fade away,

Leaving the other with nothing.

Wondering,

What went wrong?

If we take

From our environment

And never give back,

Is the relationship,

Going to last?

One will be forced

To fade away,

Leaving the other with nothing.

Wondering,

What went wrong?

Unless,

The knowledgeable can leap

And,

Repair what has been broken

Starting now.

Then,

Maybe one will not,

Fade away.

CJ #2: Reciprocity with the Land

After reading In Maple Nation I really began to critically analyze how much the environment gives to me and contributes to my well being. This got me thinking about the things I do, and could be doing, in order to give back to the land. The reading made me realize just how important it is to practice reciprocity because if I am only taking from the land, and not giving back to it, then there will be an imbalance and I will no longer be able to benefit from the environment.

The reading, along with the blog prompt, led me to brainstorm ways in which I can take a “leap” and give back to the environment. I will do things such as shop locally, reduce my use of plastic, eat mindfully, walk or bike, promote reciprocity, and many more. These are just some of the steps I will take to give back and they are all extremely do able. I decided to give myself realistic goals to begin, then I will make more drastic changes. I will make reminders for myself to stick to my plans and make it as convenient as possible for myself and others to “leap” into action and really start to make a difference starting today.

This was shown in my visual representation. I used a glass bottle to represent me and my physical body. The inside of the bottle is filled with parts of the environment. This represents the fact that the land contributes so greatly to who I am today, my well being, and my overall health. Though it may not be easily seen by the human eye, there is nature within all of us and its effects are extremely beneficial to us. For example, without trees we would not have clean are to breath in. So, the inside of the bottle represents what the environment gives to me internally. The outside of the bottle is meant to be my outer self. The part that everyone can see. I surrounded this part of “my body” with numerous acts of reciprocity that I will do to give back to the environment. These are the things that I can physically do if I want to make a difference; my ecological pledges. The point of this piece is to show that even though the effects the environment has on me may not be obvious, they are still there and are a huge part of me. I wanted to show that I can use my body and the things that can be seen to reciprocate/give back to the environment as a sign of my appreciation.

CJ #1: What is the Environment?

There have been a few instances in my life where I have truly felt connected with the environment but I will focus on one specific time. It is actually pictured on my visual representation. The time that really comes to mind when I think about the environment and feeling a strong connection to it is one time when I was fishing with my family on Barrier River. There is no service on this lake and the lack of technology really allowed me to take in all the beauty that surrounded me. I vividly remember looking around me at all the greenery and fresh water. The sun was keeping me warm as I had my fishing rod in the water. I felt almost overwhelmed by just how amazing and underappreciated the environment is. In this moment, I felt so content and appreciative towards how truly remarkable the environment is and the fact that in order to be able to enjoy its beauty, I am going to have to treat it better than I had been. Still, as I am writing this, I feel a warmth within me and a true connection to the environment all because of that one absolutely perfect day on the water.

My visual representation shows this moment and what the environment is to me in a few ways. The sun represents the warmth and happiness I felt towards the environment in this moment and in the many others pictured. When I am outside, and the sun is shining down on me, I feel a sense of peace and complete joy, all thanks to the environment. The pictures I chose were ones where the feeling of connection to the environment was being felt by me. And making this collage really allowed me to remember how amazing the natural environment is by making me realize that I am genuinely happy and content in all the pictures of me enjoying the outdoors. This feeling of appreciation is what led me to using recycled cardboard to make most of my creation. I realized that if I want to continue being as happy as I am in all of these instances, I have to keep doing small things like recycling to keep this amazing natural environment alive. The words on my visual representation stand for the things that come to mind when I think of what environment is to me. The words are meant to show how the sun and the environment in all of the pictures make me feel and what comes to mind when I see these pictures and think of the environment. After creating this visual, I noticed how positive all the words are. This inspired me to, again, try my best to maintain this remarkable environment because of all the good it does for me. If I can in any way give back to the environment that gives so much to me, I am going to. Reflecting upon my experiences with the environment makes me realize that I should no longer take it for granted in any way.

As mentioned by Hammond, working on this creative journal was indeed an extremely enriching experience. I can honestly say that this work is completely me, and that I am the sole creator of it. It really provided me with a sense of pride and connected me to my work in a way that writing a paper never could have done.

Hammond Article Used

Currere Essay

Regression:

When looking back on my education experience there is one moment that really stands out. It happened when I was in grade one, and the fact that I still remember it so clearly so many years later indicates that it most definitely affected my schooling experience in a drastic way. During recess one noon hour, a girl who I was not really friends with asked to play with my friends and I and I told her that since she did not have the same colour shoes as me she couldn’t be in the same “group” as us because her shoes were purple not pink but she could still play with us and have a different role in the game. Yes, I was excluding her in a way and could have been more inclusive but I the repercussions I received for placing these conditions on her inclusion were far worse than they should have been. After recess, we had show and tell and I was standing at the front of the room sharing whatever I had brought that day. Once I was done sharing, still standing alone at the front of the room, my teacher said to me “Laura, you are a bully. You were excluding (this girl) today at recess by not letting her play with you” and when I tried to reply and explain myself to her she said, “I don’t want to hear your excuses, now sit down”. The way that she called me out and accused me in front of my whole class was so embarrassing and made me feel extremely awful about myself. She did not once talk to me alone about what happened at recess but rather, it seems, felt as though embarrassing me in front of my peers was how I would learn my lesson. She handled the situation very poorly and I disliked her a teacher the whole time she worked at our school and she made my education much less enjoyable when she did this. When my teacher called me out publicly it did not make me want to change the way I was, rather, I wanted to act out and only play with certain people and not give her the satisfaction of changing my ways because she hurt me so badly. I feel as though this made me a much more “cliquey” child growing up and for this reason, I was involved in lots of drama and this was a reason my educational experience was not very enjoyable. If she would’ve talked to me and the girl affected alone and allowed us both to talk about our problem and apologize to each other then it would be more likely that I would’ve understood the situation more and been able to change my attitude. Looking back on this moment now makes me, as a future educator, never want to make any of my students feel that way. I want to talk to my students privately about what happens in situations such as this because I know that it would be a much more effective way of teaching them what is right and wrong. I do not think it is appropriate at all to inform every student in a class about the disputes and disagreements between other students. When I am a teacher, I will handle these situations in a much different way because I know how much better I would have felt if the issue would not have been addressed in front of twenty other children. I do not want any child, especially one that young, to feel the embarrassment and resentment towards a teacher and education that I did. So, though this teacher did affect my personal education in a very negative way she showed me how to better handle situations like these and this will truly make me a better educator and role model for the students that I will have in the time to come.

Progression:

When I take time, close my eyes, and really think about my future as a teacher there are many things that I imagine. In 5-8 years at the beginning of my career I see myself figuring out what methods and teaching styles work best for me. I see myself being challenged every day by my self, students, parents, and staff. I see these challenges forcing me to grow as a teacher and all my experiences allowing me to see what works and what doesn’t in my classrooms. Everyday will be filled with learning on my student’s behalf and my own. I want to be able to make my students feel like I care about them and have them enjoy their learning experience. I see myself asking my more experienced colleagues for advice when dealing with new problems that I am not as prepared to deal with. I will remember the advice they provide me with so I can eventually become more independent and be the one people come to for advice some day. After about 10-15 years of teaching I see myself better adjusting to my surroundings and understanding my students better than I used to. My observations over the years will help me to be able to communicate with my students and colleagues better than before. I see myself being able to effectively react to the varying personalities I will encounter, including parents/guardians. I want to be able to be comfortable even when the situation is not. I see myself keeping composure, even though it will be a challenge, when things get tough and using my words to discuss problems with parents, students, and colleagues. I hope by this time to have a classroom that students feel comfortable in and I hope they feel as though they can be vulnerable in the safe environment I have created. I believe that if I, as their teacher, can really put my self into my teaching and be open with my students they will be able to do the same. This part may take a few years because it is not easy to be vulnerable, but, nevertheless, I see myself being able to do so. Along with this, I see myself being more involved in extracurricular activities within my school because I am more comfortable with the teaching aspect and will be able to manage more. I will enjoy this very much and it will help me further build my relationships within the school. After about 20+ years of teaching I see myself having an repertoire of teaching methods that I have developed over the years. I hope to be able to easily adjust my lessons according to the class I have and use one of the methods I have already used in the past. I see myself being able to deal with problematic situations in an effective way and needing minimal outside assistance. I am going to be the staff member that students and staff come to for advice because I have experienced so much. I will be very involved in extracurricular activities because I will be able to manage my time in the best way possible. The most important thing though, is that I see myself enjoying every minute of my teaching career. Looking into the future and thinking about all of these experiences, even if they will not all be pleasant, makes me so excited and I cannot wait to be a teacher for the rest of my life.

Analytical:

When I look in the mirror at my appearance I see a 19-year-old girl. I see long brown hair and green eyes. I see a first-year education student that cannot wait to be a teacher. I see a woman who is enjoying her university experience. I see a girl who wants to do better in her school work and is working on doing so with every new assignment she receives. I see a girl who is broke because she spent too much money when she came to Regina I see a girl who loves watching Netflix and eating Kraft Dinner. A girl who would rather lay in bed all day than go out most days. I see a girl who is becoming more independent every day. I see a person who has matured and is becoming a better person every year. I see a person who tends to over analyze situations Little things bother me less and I find myself constantly being the better person and forgiving people when I am involved in conflicts. I find myself not holding grudges like I used to and avoiding conflicts whenever possible. Below the surface I see myself as a person who cares about her friends and family. I see a girl who still finds it hard to be away from her parents. I see myself as a person who wants other to be happy and wants to be there for people in need, even though I don’t always show it. On that note, there are parts of me that I do not like either. I see a person who cares what other people think of her and a person who tends to unintentionally hurt the people she loves. But I am working to change these flaws because that is not the kind of person I want to be. I want to be the kind of person that people want to be around because I make them happy. I see myself working towards being that kind of person in everything I do. I am happy with the person I am becoming, even though I may not be perfect. Yes, there are things that I would change but the fact that I am working on changing these things makes me happy and proud of myself. I feel as though rather than focussing on what is wrong with me, I can focus on what is right and do whatever I can to be the best possible version of me and that is what is important.

Synthetical:

When I took the time to read over the regression, progression, and analytical parts of my currere essay I notice many connections. It is clear that all aspects of my life are connected in one way or another. I notice that my past has an effect on my present as well as an effect on my future. My experiences have shaped the person I am today and the person and teacher that I hope to become in the future. It is very important to me that my students feel welcome and appreciated when I am an educator. I have said multiple times that I hope to have a classroom where my students feel comfortable and safe and I want it to be a place that they want to come to each day, not dread. I want to be a role model and have the respect of my students. I believe a student that views their teacher in a positive way will learn much more because they are going to listen closer and they will value the words that their teachers say which, again, will draw them in. I want to educate my students to the best of my abilities and, looking back on my regression, makes me realise that this attitude can be explained by my past experiences. The fact that I was embarrassed by teachers and the worst was always assumed of me makes me, as a future teacher, never want another student to feel the way I felt. I viewed some of my teachers in a negative way and I feel as though this lead me to paying less attention in class, talking more, and not trying as hard because I did not care if I impressed them or not. When I had a teacher that I enjoyed though, I would do my best work on assignments, pay attention, and listen to what they said because their approval and recognition mattered to me more. All in all, looking back at my past has truly shaped the teacher that I hope to become. On that note, not only did these childhood experiences shape the way I want to teach, but also shaped the person I am today. Being hurt the ways I was has made me a person who does not enjoy seeing others unhappy. When someone close to me is upset because of something I did I feel terrible and try my best to make up for what I did because I understand how they are feeling. I try much harder to avoid conflicts and am a very forgiving person. If I know I did wrong I will admit to it and do what I can to make things better. I believe that all my experiences have made me a much more selfless person. For this reason, I find myself taking other peoples feelings into consideration more often, especially since I began writing this paper.Writing this paper has made me realize just how much the past, present, and future are connected. I would not be the person I am today without the past I experienced. Negative experiences can really have a positive effect on a person. Setting my sights high and hoping to be the best teacher I can be has made me a better person today. I feel as though my upsetting experiences have shaped me into a 19-year-old girl who wants to be a good teacher, a girl who cares about her friends and family, and a girl who is trying to be the best she can be.


Placement Experience

 

 It is safe to say that my time spent with the grade 3,4,5’s at St. Catherine Community School was most enjoyable part of my school year. Being able to sit in on these classes was an eye opener and made me realize that though there are challenges, I am going to enjoy my time being a teacher in the future. Along with this, I also became aware of the different teaching methods that exist and what methods work best in certain situations because I sat in on two different classrooms.

Weeks 1 & 2:

My first day in the field was a very memorable experience. This is when I became aware that teaching is not as easy as a person may think. I met many children and realized that it can be challenging to try and teach in a way that would reach all the students. There were students who who listened and paid attention and there were some who were the complete opposite. The teachers would usually stop their lesson briefly if a child was being disruptive, address them, and then move on with the lesson. This was very effective and you could tell that the students really look up to their teachers and when they are told to be quiet, they listen. If the students did not listen, the teacher would send them into the hall way and deal with them after they were done talking so that one child would not disrupt the learning of all the others. These are some of the things that stood out to me after the first couple weeks of my placement.

Weeks 3&4:

After the first couple weeks at my school I got more comfortable. I was able to take time to notice how the teachers dealt with the students and because of this, I started to understand the children and their individual needs and got to know them better. For this reason, I could better help the children with their assignments because I knew what learning methods would be most effective. I started to not only notice which children required more attention, but also figured out ways I could deal with these children and help them to the best of my ability. It was within this time span that I got to sit down individually with a student. I enjoyed this because I felt as though I actually got to help the child and it also surprised me because I underestimated how smart these young children were!

Weeks 5&6:

My last weeks at St. Catherine’s were ones of pure enjoyment. The children constantly gave me hugs and told me how much they enjoyed us coming into their classroom. I got to interact with them all in a more personal way. We did yoga with the grade 4 & 5’s and had songs sang to us by the grade 3 & 4’s. We also got a card will all the children’s signatures saying thank you. On my last day at St. Catherine’s I got the chance to sit in on a grade 8 class because middle years education is my area of study. This was set up by my placement teacher and I was very thankful for this. Overall, I feel extremely blessed to have spent the last 8 weeks at this school and have been reassured that I truly want to be a teacher.

 

All About Me!

Hello! I’m Laura and I am a first year Middle Years Education student at the University of Regina. I am from a farm near Gull Lake, Saskatchewan which is where I went to school my whole life. I enjoy playing sports, helping out on my farm, and watching Netflix. I have always wanted to be a teacher and have 10 teachers in my family so I guess you could say that rubbed off on me!

When I have completed my post secondary educational experience I hope to be able to educate my students in the best way possible. I believe in order to best educate my students there should be equality, mutual respect, and joy in a classroom. The education classes I have taken and will take in the years to come will provide me with the knowledge and experience I need to do be able to create a classroom that values all of these things!