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.


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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.

 

Reader’s Response #7

Gender and Sexual Diversity

The topic of gender and sexual diversity is one that many people tend to tip toe around. In class though, we discussed this touchy subject. I believe that a teacher should promote a comfortable environment for all students regardless of their gender. Though it may be hard, it is important that a teacher tries to stay open and not create gender barriers between their students. This can be done by not dividing students on groups based on gender, but rather making groups based on things such as shirt colour. Also, it is important not to address students by saying things such as “boys and girls”. By avoiding these binary gender options it creates a more welcoming atmosphere for the children who do not fit into these two categories. We sometimes do not realize how largely this society caters to the needs of heterosexuals and therefore, we do not realize when we are being close minded. It is hard to step out of our comfort zones sometimes and accept that there are many more genders etc. than we are used to. Once we are out of this comfort zone though, we can be much more inclusive and welcoming to all people of all genders. Also, in schools we can promote gender diversity by creating groups for these kinds of discussions where people can talk about their feelings and have a safe environment for people who may not fit in as well as others. As a teacher, we can make sure our students know that they can talk to us about how they are feeling if they do not feel as though they can do so in their home. Once we know what a student is going through, we can help to better understand and help them in the best way possible.

Readers Response #6

Oh, Canada: bridges and barriers to inclusion in Canadian schools 

 After our presentation in class regarding inclusive education, discussing it in our seminar, and doing this reading I have a new understanding of inclusive ed. I personally feel as though inclusive education is a very beneficial concept for many reasons. Just because a student has a disability should not mean that they have to be separated from the rest of the students who do not. Separating a student from their class can make them feel left out and different which will limit their ability to make connections with their other classmates and teachers. Having relationships with peers and teachers is very important in a child’s education because that is what makes it more enjoyable. A child that enjoys their education us a child who is going to want to come to school, open their mind, and learn each day. Also, isolating a child from participating in activities with other students can make them, again, feel left out and excluded. By doing this a student really is not experiencing the fully rounded education they should be. I have noticed inclusive education first hand within my placement school. There is a student in a wheelchair and this student participates in all the same activities and lessons the other students do. The school has only one floor so everything is accessible and when there are obstacles for this one student the other students help out and push the chair or move things out of the way. The teacher does things such as making sure the student in the wheelchair grabs her backpack first or leaves the room last so that she is not in the way and does not feel as though she is a burden in any way. This student always has a smile on her face and this is an example of how beneficial inclusive education can be. I believe that all teachers should be knowledgeable on the topic of inclusive education for this reason. There should be courses offered (or something along the lines of that) educating our teachers on how to include students regardless of the different disabilities they may have so that our education system can fully embrace and perform inclusive education.  I personally believe that there should be equality in education and this can only be achieved if inclusive education is implemented and all students feel appreciated and welcome, regardless of their physical or mental state. Though it may be hard to include all students completely, a student should be included within their school in the best way possible. It was said that the Canadian government is mainly focussed on academic inclusion, not social inclusion but I personally think they go hand in hand. If a child is included in a classroom setting that will set the stage for social inclusion. The first step to equality in education and if we can implement inclusion in the educational aspect, social inclusion will come shortly after.

Reader’s Response #5

The Heart of a Teacher

After reading The Heart of a Teacher there are many new understandings and perspectives that I have gained regarding the profession of teaching. Prior to reading this article, I had never truly considered just how challenging, rewarding, and testing being a teacher can really be. But, there are many things this reading pointed out to me that I feel will help me teach to the best of my abilities because now I realize the importance of these certain aspects. This includes the fact that it is important to connect with your students and this can be done by recognizing their accomplishments and promoting equality in the classroom. When you make a connection with your student, make them feel important, and appreciated it will cause them to become more enthusiastic and engaged with their education and this will really increase their success rate which is something I as a teacher will value very much. It was noted that making this connection can be hard because being vulnerable and opening yourself up to your students leaves us open to judgement and ridicule. I think that, though it is scary to attempt to connect to your students, it is necessary if you want to really educate and make your students feel valued in the best way possible. Also, as a teacher it seems important to see the potential and strengths of all your students and try to create a classroom environment that benefits them all in some way regardless of the varying levels of understanding they have. This article also taught me that being a good teacher is largely based on one’s self, not just the group of students you are teaching. An understanding that I gained was that a teacher must accept that they will never be a master of their craft and that children are always changing and therefore a teacher will always have more to learn as their career progresses. Every year a teacher has a new group of students and these students will force a teacher to adjust their teaching strategy. The fact that teaching environments are always changing also means that a teacher is always learning. Reading this reminded me that when I am a teacher I can always improve and this can only be done if I keep an open mind and force myself to step outside my comfort zone. Along with this, it seems to me that when I am a teacher I will have to really put a piece of myself into my teaching and create a style that works best for me personally. I cannot attempt to fit into a mold of what an “ideal” teacher should look/act like, I have to be my own kind of teacher and create an atmosphere in the classroom that works best for me and my students even if it is unconventional. Sometimes it will be hard to stay positive when teaching because it is so challenging but it is important to not let it get you down and remember why you love what you do, not why you don’t. It seems to me that if you can do this then you will truly love what you do and a teacher who is passionate about their work is going to really reach their students in a more effective way than a teacher who does not.

Reader’s Response #4

Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision

After reading Jagged Worldview Colliding it made me realize that there are many different ways a person may view the world they live in. It really interested me to read that an aspect if the aboriginal (holistic) worldview is that everything has spirit and knowledge and therefore are considered to be one’s relations. I had never seen the things on earth such as trees as anything more than a plant prior to reading this. I had never thought of these trees having a spirit or being valued so much by a group of people. After reading this part of the text it caused me to look at the world around me through a slightly different lens now that I considered how other people view it. It made me do things such as litter less and appreciate the nature that surrounds me on a daily basis. Also, reading about the values the aboriginal worldview holds such as, strength, sharing, honesty, and kindness surprised me because the western worldview that I hold does not value these things. I can now see how much more peaceful and beneficial these values could be for a culture though and how valuing these things would prevent many conflicts among communities. There are so many more aspects of the aboriginal worldview that I found to be truly moving. Reading that they value love, easy-goingness, praise, and gratefulness intrigues me because these values are so different than the things that I have been taught to value. Honestly, I wish that the western worldview could have incorporated some of these values because I feel as though, as a culture, we would benefit greatly from the valuing of things such as kindness and love instead of wealth and greed. The western worldview and the way it values the class system, science, and objectivity really makes it seem emotionally inferior in a way when comparing it to the aboriginal worldview. This was displayed when the reading pointed out that aboriginal communities did not need things such as police forces because they had mutual values and this included peace among the people. While, in the western culture police forces are necessary because there is so much conflict throughout the communities. This conflict can be directly traced back to the worldview held by the society the people are a part of. Though the western worldview does have its faults, the scientific based aspect of it has developed our society extremely and without this we would not live in the technologically advanced world we live in today. This reading has shown me that both worldviews have their pros and cons and there are aspects of both that can benefit a society. Reading about the aboriginal of looking at the world made me see how different it is from mine and it made me realize that I should be more open minded. I should consider that there are worldviews that are different than my own and instead of being close minded and ethnocentric in a way I should embrace and try to understand these other worldviews.

Reader’s Response #3

Muffins for Granny

The movie “Muffins for Granny” really added to my understanding of what happened in the residential schools and all the effects they have had. Being able to listen to the residential school survivors made it all more real in my opinion because a person hears so many stories about these schools but actually seeing the expressions on these peoples faces made me realize how horrible the experiences really were. My shock started when they talked about how they were given numbers instead of names because it really emphasized the fact that they weren’t even treated like humans when they attended these institutions. It really showed how they were reduced to nothing by the authorities at these schools. The next thing that surprised me was when the one man said that the priests told him that if he committed suicide his flesh would burn in purgatory, and yet he felt as though killing himself and feeling that pain was better than living in the world he did. Hearing this emphasized the fact that the conditions in these schools were bad enough that someone would want to feel their flesh burn rather than live there. It made me realize that the residential schools were a literal hell on earth for the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Along with this it was mentioned constantly by the survivors that they suffered extreme abuse, cruelty, and loss of culture throughout their time in the schools. In fact, some of them said that they still have to check over their shoulder when they speak their own language because they are so used to getting beat when they did so. It just showed me how long lasting the effects of these schools are on a person. Their culture was clearly taken from them in the most brutal way possible. The severity of these effects was also made clear when they described that drinking and drugs were the only way that they could feel happy and forget what happened to them. It showed that it is not easy at all to forget these experiences and that they will haunt them forever. Hearing this helped me understand and breakdown the stereotypes associated with Indigenous peoples and substance abuse because it was made clear that the only reason these people have ever had this problem is because of the harsh experiences they endured at the hand of the Christian European settlers. This video honestly really surprised me also when it pointed out how brutally “the people of god” treated the Indigenous peoples. One woman said that she thought these people were supposed to be righteous, not cruel. Later she was shown crying and saying that she never wanted to see a nun again. Her expression was so sad and afraid when she said these words that it made it really obvious how awful the church was back in the time of these schools. Overall, “Muffins for Granny” provided me with many new understandings and I am very glad that we were shown this movie in class.