Dear students…

I’ve been watching what is happening in the United States now that Donald Trump is President. And while I haven’t yet found the collection of words I wish to share, there is one thing I do believe in.

I want my future classroom and or future students to know:

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blog challenge wk2

Week two of the challenge. The theme for this week is, What lights your fire?

Here are a few of the things light my fire:

  • Positive teacher-student relationships
  • Learning from students
  • Knowing that I’m in a position to support kids who struggle in school
  • Seeing what other teachers are doing and listening to their stories

I really enjoy being able to work alongside and learn from so many great teachers and students of all ages.

 

blog challenge wk1

So I’m a little late to get started, but better late than never. I’ve been wanting to get back into blogging and so when I came across the Blogging Challenge some Saskatchewan educators are taking part in and I thought I’d join in. Follow #skblog15 on Twitter to see posts from the others taking part in the challenge.

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The theme for week one was: What’s holding you back?

Through reflection, I can name many things that are holding me back. Here are some of them that I’d like to share:

  • Self-confidence – being confident in my abilities first as a person, second as a teacher. Teaching is a big responsibility and even though I have a piece of paper that allows me to teach, sometimes there is self-doubt that I won’t be able offer students the experiences they deserve.
  • Knowledge – I’ve learnt many things from education classes that I took from my university experience. However, I’ve walked into many experiences not feeling that I have enough knowledge to teach a certain subject or lesson. I know that it is okay to learn alongside your students and that we don’t know everything, but I guess this ties back to self-confidence.
  • Feeling like an outsider – I’ve had part time, temporary and substitute teaching experiences. I’ve always kind of felt that I don’t quite fit in. Perhaps this comes with not being in one place for long enough to develop relationships and a sense of community.

With time and more experience, I hope that I can rise above these feelings that hold me back.

Finlayson Park School

Today I sat in on a presentation at the University of Waikato in an education course. The presentation was about culturally responsive schools, teachers and teaching.

Shirley Maihi, principal of Finlayson Park Schooltold us about her school which is just outside of Auckland, New Zealand.

Here is a small look into this remarkable school. There are:

  • 900+ students
  • 42 classrooms
  • Decile of 1
  • 23 different cultures and languages
  • 92 staff
  • Modules for parents

Finlayson Park School believes that language diversity is the schools responsibility. This school offers a program where parents and kids are respected, where they are socially responsible and responsive to families and social conditions. Students in this school are in 5 different units where they are with those of the same first native language that they speak. This school is committed to bilingualism where they maintain the first language of the students which helps strengthen the pathway to learning a second language. Classes here are smaller, with more teacher support and teachers who speak the native first languages  who work with the students.

This is a school where:

  • Teachers are culturally sensitive
  • Teachers teach to meet the needs of their students
  • Teachers are inquires, as well are students
  • Teachers support bilingualism
  • Teachers take professional development in bilingual education
  • Teachers are inclusive
  • Students host a radio show proving information for the community
  • All students and teachers of all languages come together and are “1 school”
  • There is a breakfast program and lunch program for those in need
  • There is no waste products in the school – they recycle, compost, have class gardens
  • Students of different languages and different classes buddy together to read, sing and learn from each other
  • All students play together on the playground
  • Parents and community members come together to support and take care of the school
  • Where parents, even those who cannot speak or read, feel welcomed in the school environment
  • Parents want the best for their children

This school has high standards for all of their children and even though they may not be at the national standard levels throughout their education, they reach those national standards by the time they transition to another school because it takes 6 years of good teaching and learning to reach those national middle class standards.

The presentation Shirley gave was beautiful and it educated me of the great work that one school here in New Zealand is doing to support students learning in a culturally responsive way.