This past week, I started back at university. I have begun working on a Master’s Degree in Education focusing on Curriculum and Instruction while hopefully working through the thesis route. I hope to use this blog space once again as I did when taking ECMP 355 in my final semester of my undergraduate degree to share what I am learning with others.
To say I was nervous about returning back to school after having only been out two years would be an understatement. I’ve had / still have thoughts that I don’t fit in or that I’m not good enough to be here. Perhaps I feel this way because even though I’ve spent the past two years substitute teaching with the Catholic School Division in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, I feel I don’t have enough to offer.
During that time I met a lot of great students and teachers and rekindled friendships I had made there while I was an intern the year before. I had the opportunity to be with students from Kindergarten through Grade 8 as well as in small groups for reading instruction. I was also a classroom teacher for a group of grade 4 students for three months. That was a challenging yet rewarding experience for me as a teacher and it was also a great learning experience.
All of the time I have spent with students has helped me look more at the type of teacher I know I want to be. I’ve come to realize that I need to be in a division and school where my beliefs about education are supported and even challenged. The staff and school community make an impact on your classroom and on you as a teacher. I know that I am a young teacher with some experience, but I am able to offer ideas, viewpoints etc. and I am able to teach students. As education continues to evolve and change, so do the types of teachers we have and the students we teach. Learning does not always look like lectures and presentations, reading from textbooks, tests and quizzes. Our students come from different cultures, experiences and they each bring with them their own skills, mindsets and they are their own person. It is an exciting time to be in the field of education, and I look forward to seeing ideas and way of doing things that I can challenge and expand my understanding on.
I don’t know if I will be a classroom teacher for 20 years or whether I will work with students in a community setting or what the case will be. I do know that the education field is where I want to be. Throughout all of my experiences working with learners, I want to focus on student relationships, community relationships, school relationships, and how we teach minority groups of students, students with learning needs, and the students that are sometimes simply passed through the education system. I sit here remembering my trip two years ago to New Zealand. I was fortunate to be visit schools around Auckland while staying in Waikato. Of the schools I visited, the teachers, administrators and students I met, I was truly inspired by what I saw. I saw cultures and languages alive in the classrooms, I saw programs for parents being offered so that they could learn and thus help their children learn, I saw a real sense of community and the pride the schools had in their students, and I saw students excited to come to school.There are schools like this in Saskatchewan and Canada, but perhaps I have not seen them yet. The New Zealand school model is one that could work here supporting all types of learners.
The first semester of courses I am taking are focusing on research – action research and an introduction to qualitative methodology, social research and a variety of other methods. I am looking forward to it. I will be completing an action research project and I can’t wait to see how it will unfold, once I choose a topic that is.