Teaching English

It’s been almost a year since my last post! During the time, I have been working on my research and have just completed data collection! On to hours of transcribing!!!

However, during that time, I had the privilege to work with refugee women and university students in a program to help teach English.

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Check out links to two published stories about this experience.

 

It was a wonderful experience and everyone was sad that it had to end. We are working on a similar program for the women in the new year though!

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Change?

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

 

4 Years Later …

These past four years have flown by ever so quickly! It seems like only yesterday that I was in grade 12 submitting applications for University and hoping to be accepted. I was not 100% sure that I wanted to be a teacher. I admired teachers and the work that they do, and that they help their students grow and learn, while being positive role models, members of the community, and have their own families. I wanted to be a in a ‘helping’ profession where I could work with students, where I could inspire, motivate, challenge, support and educate young minds. I did not know whether to go into elementary or secondary education and somehow settled on middle years education.

I was accepted and even though I was proud and excited, I was nervous in myself. I was quiet (I still am today, however, I have found my teacher voice) and I would have to say that I was lacking confidence in myself. I enjoyed my first year of university, and my second year as well. Third year was where I was able to spend more time in the classroom with students, and fourth year brought internship and some wonderful learning and teaching opportunities. I am beyond happy that I am now a teacher. I have my diploma and my teacher certificate and I am ready for the opportunities and experiences that await me! I am eager to begin my career.

Through the past four years, I have grown so much:

  • I have found my voice
  • I am able to confidently talk in front of a group of people
  • I am confident in the teacher and person that I am today
  • I have learned from many amazing students – I do not know everything

There have been many opportunities:

  • Being in classrooms at: Rosemont – Regina, W.H Ford – Regina, Fort Qu’Appelle Elementary School, St. Michael’s School – Yorkton, Elsie Maronyuk – Regina, Ranch Ehrlo – Pilot Butte through the University
  • Learning from many wonderful, dedicated, supportive and caring professors
  • Working with a diverse group of students from many schools
  • Taking classes that are of relevance to students and schools today
  • Making a great group of friends (32 other Middle Years Educators) who I am happy to know
  • Expanding my learning, networks, and support through various social media platforms

This is just a short excerpt of what has happened these past four years. There have been many downs and ups, challenges, struggles, triumphs, successes, smiles, and growth – both professionally and personally. I have loved every minute of it all and am eagerly awaiting what will happen in the future!

 

Music Prayer

Every year at final band concerts from when I was in grades 6-12 and even when I go back to listen to concerts today, the performance always starts off with a prayer that I wanted to share with you:

Heavenly Father,
You have given us ears to hear sound
And imagination to combine these sounds in harmony; 
You have given us instruments to play on
And musicians to lead us.

We thank You for these gifts.
By our music we wish to show our gratitude
And to praise and thank You for Your goodness.
We make our prayer through our Lord, Jesus Christ 
Who sang His song over two thousand years ago,

And has made it re-echo in the hearts of man….
Now and forever.

Amen. 

 

Don’t Say it Can’t Be Done

 

“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” – George Bernard Shaw

We should let our kids explore their interests and provide them with challenges that embrace inquiry and self-directed learning. Who knows what understanding and knowledge students have that is just waiting to be unlocked. We must provide each student we teach with an environment, questions, challenges and tools that helps to foster and unlock what students can do and their passions, regardless of their age or skill level.

If we tell a child something cannot be done, it never will be done. But, if we give students support and encouragement, they can achieve marvellous things!