Since I arrived back in Regina on August 17th from New Zealand, I have spent time catching up with many friends. The one thing I have heard many times is how I seem to have changed. At first, I was surprised by their comment. I had not changed, I still looked the same, I still talked the same and I had only been gone 17 days. But as I reflected on their comments, the discussions I had with them, and reflected on my time in New Zealand, it seems possible that I did change.
I met one friend for coffee where we talked about many things. It was good to see her again and to hear about her life and she was interested in knowing what I had been up to. Later that night, she sent me an email and said the following:
Was so nice to see you yesterday. It isn’t often we get to see a person’s transformation. The person I knew before and the one I saw yesterday has grown alot and I am so happy for you to have found inspiration and confidence on this path that you are taking.
I questioned her as to what she meant about a transformation and she replied:
Not necessarily a transformation … but an enhancement.. you are your best you, anytime…
She knew me during my internship last fall in Yorkton – she saw me teach and be a member of the staff. Once internship ended, we stayed in contact through email and occasionally seeing one another. I thought about what she said and I do feel that I have more confidence and more inspiration. I look at students differently and I have begun to question and reflect as to why our society and schools treat certain people and certain minorities in a particular way. I have seen a model of education that is working down in New Zealand, where they are in one sense teaching culturally responsive education and I really want to know why our First Nations students and people in Saskatchewan are not being taught in schools that support them. As much as Canada has changed in its treatment of First Nations peoples and students, we still have a long way to go before things are further improved.
I was out today for lunch and a former teacher who is now a friend and I were discussing my trip and Saskatchewan schools and students. Her comment that stuck with me was that “you seem to have found your inspiration, your motivation”. I think she was right. Through my past experiences working with students of many different races, including First Nations backgrounds, I have seen the benefits of culturally responsive education. Of education and topics and teaching that relates to the knowledge, and cultures, and backgrounds of our students. I have seen that having high expectations for our students is essential as without them, they will not show you their true potential if they have nothing to stive for. Through all of this, I think I can say that I have found a passion within education – and that is to teach students of any ethnic backgr0und, and at any grade level (even if they are at levels bel0w their grade level) and to help them learn and succeed in a classroom that is culturally responsive.
I have been in a school where I was the minority … where the students were a diverse group of learners in abilities and in ethnic backgrounds and they were: so proud to be in school and learning … proud of their work (even if it wasn’t 100% complete or correct) … supportive of one another. It was a place where there was not one group of students and another group of students, they were all one … and they were all proud to be who they are. I want to see this in classrooms that I walk into where ever I am and I hope to see this in my own classroom one day when that happens.
So, I think I have changed or transformed or enhanced who I was – what ever you choose to call it.
I think this is a good thing and I think this is only the beginning …
Be the change you wish to see in the world – Gandhi