Reading Response #8: Creating a Safe Environment for EVERYONE

In ECS 100 we have been discussing inclusive education. We talked about how students with different disabilities should have the same opportunities and are starting to bring gender and sexual diversity into the discussion. This week’s reading, “Deepening the Discussion About Sexual Diversity in Saskatchewan” discusses the importance of acknowledging gender and sexual diversity.

The one thing I agree with the most, within in this reading, is a student’s motivation to learn is reflected off of the school’s environment. Students that get bullied for the way that they wish to be do not want to participate in school. School is a huge part of a person’s life and teachers have a big part of how that journey is going to go. Teachers need to be aware of gender and sexual diversity to create a safe environment for the students. A safe environment protects students from bullying, and helps with student’s engagement within the school and creates academic success.

This reading made me think of an experience I had with a student back when I was a teacher’s assistant. This student that I would work with time to time would always bring up that he is a boy so he has to go in the boy’s washroom and if he ever entered the girl’s washroom he would get in trouble. One day he told me that one day he was going to enter the girl’s washroom and when he does it will be okay for him to do so. He just stared at me and I can tell he was waiting for me to say something, he seemed scared. I told him that he should do whatever makes him happy. I told him some people might not agree with his decision and he should not let that bother him because those people will not be the ones living his life. At the end of the day he controls his life and he might as well create a life that will make him happy. After I said that I saw relief appear on his face. Looking back on it that was one of the first moments that made me realize I wanted to be a teacher.

One thing that will always puzzle me is why do people care? Why should it matter to others what a certain individual is doing with their life? It does not affect the way they live so why do they have to hurt others that are trying to better themselves? I am going to teach my future students the importance of acceptance and the importance of making your life the best life it can be whether that be to get a good paying job or to become someone they have not been their entire lives. This world has so many opportunities and we should not let people limit those opportunities. I am going to create a safe environment for ALL of my students starting with making sure they all feel safe and accepted by who they are.

Reading Response #7: The Importance of Inclusiveness

The reading “Oh, Canada: Bridges and Barriers to Inclusion” written by Laura Sokal and Jennifer Katz has really made me realize what certain things in schools get overlooked. I have never noticed these problems and this reading has really made me aware of these issues and the importance of fixing them. As a future educator I will know what differences to make, to make my school environment equal and fair for everyone.

One thing in this reading that really stood out to me is how students with mental disabilities do not get the same opportunities as other students. I was a teacher’s assistant for a few different schools and I witnessed how each school dealt with students with mental disabilities and I never realized the wrongs and the rights until I read this reading. In the one school I worked with, all the students with mental disabilities were excluded from most things. The only time these students were included in the classroom were during arts ed and phys ed. For the most part, they would all sit at the same table in a tiny room. When I would work with the students there was not much work for them to do. They would do one work sheet on something that would take them about 10 minutes. For the rest of the hour they were all allowed to play games or do whatever they would like. First seeing this, I thought it was normal to have this routine for students with mental disabilities then I worked at another school and saw a whole different side to things – a better side. All students were together and all the students were doing the exact same work. Some students had a teacher’s assistant just in case they were having trouble or doing something they were not supposed to do.

Between these two schools I saw two completely different academic levels between the students with disabilities. The one school where the students got isolated were not very good at reading or with numbers to the point where they could not read a clock. The students had no social skills that they need to make new friends. At the school where all the students were together, the students with disabilities were academically on the same level and were able to communicate very well with other students.

For me, inclusive education is a must and must be happening in all schools. Through my experiences I see what inclusiveness creates and what happens when inclusiveness is not involved. Teachers have a lot of pressure because they are key to successful inclusion. I have learned that students with disabilities get isolated because most teacher do not know how to deal with them. This reading states that teachers are open to having more professional knowledge about inclusive teaching practices. If teachers are willing to gain more knowledge and are open to being trained, why are teachers not getting trained? Why is this something that is not getting better? I have seen what inclusiveness has done for all students and I am going to take my knowledge of this and make sure that all of my students have the same class opportunities as each other.

Reading Response #6: The Independence of Learning

I was amazed by this reading but also very confused on the message of it. Last week’s reading was on an article that talked about a good teacher is a teacher that is passionate on what they are teaching. In this article, I learn that Joseph Jacotot taught his class Flemish, something that he knew nothing about and all the students succeeded. My question is, do you actually have to be passionate about the subject that you teach? There is a lot of mixed messages being addressed between these two readings.

I do agree that students do need to learn things from their teacher, but I like the method this reading portrays. As a future educator, I hope my students can be independent and learn things on their own, for people will not always have a teacher with them. I am very intrigued on how all of these students were able to understand Flemish on their own without having a teacher lead them through it all. I think for teachers it’s good to have students learn things on their own, this way the students find the best way they learn things and teachers can use that to help them teach the students. Not only that, but it helps strengthen the students. The students in this reading understood Flemish on their own. That is absolutely incredible and no one can take that away from them because they did it by themselves.

All professors believe that they need to transfer their knowledge to their students and that teaching can’t be done by cramming a whole bunch of information in a student’s brain and get them to know it instantly. This goes back to my question that I brought up at the start, is sharing your knowledge with others make you a good teacher? Is this a fact or something that is just assumed? Although professors feel this way, Joseph Jacotot proved it wrong. He threw something at his students that he knew nothing about and let his students learn it on their own. Jacotot didn’t explain any background knowledge on Flemish or the spelling on it because he simply did not know. Although he knew nothing, his students were still capable of learning it and that impresses me a lot. This just shows me how intelligent the human brain is and how it has no limits.

This reading has taught me that teaching has no method. A person cannot choose a way to teach and stick with it for the rest of their career. All students learn differently and if one student can figure out the way a person teaches, that person needs to take a different angle at the subject to make it easier on the student. There is no method on teaching, the method is on the students. Students build the teacher’s ability to teach. Teachers work on their knowledge of the subject they teach on their own, but when it comes to the ability of actually teaching it, you need the help from your students. You need to learn what isn’t working and what is working, from your students.

Reading Response #5: What Makes a Teacher….A Good Teacher!

I always pictured myself being the “cool” teacher. The teacher all the students like and the teacher that can make even the most boring subject a fun one to participate in. It’s a tough thing to accomplish but the reading “The Heart of a Teacher” written by Parker J. Palmer makes it seem less intimidating.

Reading this has made me realized that teachers do not know everything and it is okay to have flawed knowledge on the subject the teacher is teaching. For future educators, it is good to know that we are who we teach. As future educators, we are putting all our hard work into teaching our subject and sharing a piece of our knowledge with our students.

A good teacher does not make for good technique but comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher. Also, a good teacher is very passionate on the subject that they teach. Reading this I learn that a bad teacher puts distance between them and their subject. I find this information to be very useful. If a teacher is not interested on what they are teaching, it reflects on their performance and the teacher loses the students. There needs to be not only passion in a subject that a person teaches but a passion for their students to know it too.

When I become a teacher, I would like the students to value the knowledge I’m giving them but I also really want to hear my student’s opinion. I want my students to not only build off of my knowledge but build from their own also. In the section “When Teachers Loses Heart” Parker talks about the use of “I” in essays. As a current student, even I get worried when I use “I” in a paper because a lot of teachers are against it. Being against this idea is creating the students to question their thinking and cause difficulties in a student’s writing. When I become a teacher, I want to see what my students are thinking and I want them to express their thoughts in whatever way they would like.

As read, a good teacher weaves the subject to the students and this is all connected to the teacher’s heart. Reading this article, I gathered that to be a good teacher you need passion and connection with the class. Now the thing that puzzles me is the relationship between the teacher and the student. How can a teacher have love for the students and be professional at the same time? It is a very hard thing to comprehend and it’s something I would very much like to learn to accomplish.

This reading was very interesting and it helps me think of ways on how U can become the teacher I imagine I will be one day. As a math major, I know it is going to be difficult to get high school students excited about math. I will not let that discourage me and I’ll pour my passion and love into math and share it with my students so they can understand that math isn’t as bad as they think.

Reading Response #4: Inside Look on Different Worldview’s

This week in ECS 100 we are discussing different worldviews. The reading “Leroy Little Bear: Jagged” is a reading that the class got assigned that connects on viewing different worldviews. There are so many ways of viewing the world and as a society we need to respect how other people view the world.

In the reading, I learned that within Aboriginal philosophy, all things are animate and have a spirit and meaning. The reading states that everything is always constantly moving and changing and to get a better understanding of that, people need to looks the whole of it. This way we see patterns like the seasons of the year and the migration of animals.

One thing I found interesting in this reading is the fact that languages represents how the society thinks. The Aboriginal’s language allows for everything to talk like trees, rocks, grass, etc. Allowing these objects to talk give them life just like society and because of that they all connect with us. I always knew that Aboriginal people believed everything had life but reading this has made me really understand the reasoning’s behind it all and I completely agree with all of it.

The next thing this reading state is Aboriginal values and customs. This section talks a lot about wholeness opposed to looking at something by itself. I like how the reading breaks down how confederacies are created. First, it is created by multiple extended families coming together to create a band. The bands then come together to make a tribe and this cycle keeps building up to create something big. I personally think the message here is to look and see what can be accomplished if you look at things as whole instead of individually.

A value that Aboriginal people hold dearly is honesty. Honesty represent strength because a person is sharing what they truly think and feel. I think for many people it’s a tough task to accomplish but when it happens a great amount of respect is earned. My favorite part of this reading is when someone does something good they are immediately given an award for it. This creates other people to continue on being positive and get others to follow those footsteps. Do I think people should always be awarded for being good? No, I think it should be something that a person just does for no reason at all. But I understand that everything has to start somewhere and hopefully soon this society doesn’t do good for awards but do good just because they know it’s the right thing to do.

I know that Eurocentric minds believe it is this way or no way at all. But what I get so confused on is why does it bother people on how others view things? It does not harm people on how I view things nor does it bother me that others view things differently than me. That’s the point of individuality and different worldviews is something that should be praised, not something that needs to end.

Reading Response #3: Let’s Make Equality Happen!!!

“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” is an article written by Peggy McIntosh. This reading touches base on the racial issues that today’s society face.

While reading this article I was bothered and puzzled with the fact that men will bring up women’s disadvantages. Yet, they will never bring up their own disadvantages and speak out about their advantages. From a woman’s point of view, this influences us to think that this is how society works. We should only pick out our flaws while all men get the spotlight and hide the disadvantages that they have. This makes a woman’s confidence go down and this is why the saying “girls can’t do what boys do” is a popular thing in today’s society.

Reading the list that Peggy created of all the privileges that Caucasians have has made me realized how much I’ve taken being Caucasian for granted. I have never thought about all the points that Peggy has listed and it has really opened my eyes and seen how unfair some people have it. There was a video I watched of a First Nation’s being accused of stealing something at Canadian Tire. The customer was doing nothing out of the ordinary and did nothing that would make himself look suspicious. What kind of life is that? To go out shopping and know that one of the employees will be watching you because of the colour of your skin. That is completely unfair and I hope this problem comes to an end.

It is weird to read this article because everywhere on social media you read something about equality. On the news, you’ll hear about equality. The government is very set on having an equal society. The world is wanting an equal environment and the only thing stopping that is society itself. People need to stop viewing individuals that are different from them as a villain. A human is a human. You are the same as me and I’m the same as you. It is as simple as that. As a future educator, I’m going to make that very clear to all my students. It won’t fix these situations but it will start the solution. That is better than nothing and making the slightest difference in the world is something I will always be proud of.

Overall, I’ve learned that judging a person by their appearance will not make things better. Everyone should be able to feel comfortable in the neighbourhood they live in. Everyone should be able to walk around grocery stores in peace without being accused of theft. Ladies and gentlemen should not be afraid to go makeup shopping because the store might not have makeup in their skin tone. Another thing I think that absolutely needs to change is people of colour in magazines and on social media; we need more diversity being advertised! As future educators, we are helping shape the next generation and if we can get this point across to all our students we can make the world a place filled with love, hospitality, and equality!

Reading Response #2: Residential Schools: Hearing Their Voices

This week in ECS 100 we continued to discuss about Residential schools. We watched a film called “Muffin’s for Granny” that is connected to the topic. This video contained multiple interviews on Residential school survivors. This video was split into four parts, humility, respect, courage, and wisdom. I respect all of the people that spoke up in this video. It must be very difficult to talk about such a horrible past and for that they are very brave.

In the humility section, it based more so on the conditions the survivors went through at Residential schools. The most painful part for them was getting physically ripped away from their families. As a child, you aren’t aware of what is truly happening and in their eyes, they saw it as their families letting strangers take them away. As a kid, I relied on my family for almost everything and they become your entire life and part of who you are. I couldn’t even imagine being taken away from my family by people I didn’t know. It’s like your entire life is being stripped away from you.

In the respect section, we see how people try to get away from Residential schools. This section was very heartbreaking for me. One of the survivors attempted suicide and when he woke up and realized he was still alive it made him so sad. Living a life that is worse than Hell is something no one should ever go through. Students in the Residential schools had slim chances of getting away and making it back home. Some students froze to death on their journey back home. In my perspective, I see this as the students risking their lives just to get away. Kids would rather die out in the middle of nowhere all alone than being in the Residential schools. I say this to myself over and over again – I wish I could have been there to help every single child that was suffering through all of this abuse. It is very unfair for all these people that went through what they did.

In the courage section, the survivors talk about the afterlife of the Residential schools. How does someone heal from this? How does someone move on from this? Everything about them and their lives are gone, murdered. They are broken and there is no way a person can heal from this. Some stayed for years and years but being in that building for one night was long enough. The survivors mentioned that when they would speak Ojibway or do something based on their culture, they would look around to make sure they wouldn’t get punished by it. That is no way to live!!

The wisdom section was on the survivors saying it’s okay to cry. To cry is to heal and to speak up about what happened gives the world hope. Looking at today’s society, I have high hopes that all First Nations people will come back from this. Be brave, be strong, and have hope.

Reading Response #1: The Progress of First Nation Education

This week in my ECS 100 we took a look at Residential schools. Apart from this topic we were assigned two readings, “Shattering the Silence” and “History of Schooling in Saskatchewan”. I have learned about Residential schools in high school but these readings gave me a whole new perspective on them.

In the reading, “Shattering the Silence” it puts you in the perspective of the people that were victimized by Residential schools. The point of views within this story is a parent that was left behind, a child that was taken, and an intergenerational trauma survivor. These three parts made me very emotional, especially the part of the child that was taken section. I hate that children of five years of age got taken away from their homes without a chance of saying a proper goodbye to their families. Children were getting mistreated and abused but they were all too young to speak up and stand up for themselves. That is so unacceptable and I wish I could have been there to help every single child that was getting abused in those buildings. Kids in today’s society do not get jobs until the age of fourteen or fifteen and these kids, around the age of five, were being forced to work!! If they did not work hard they would have gotten abused. At that age kids are learning how to read and write and the kids in Residential schools were out working. My heart aches thinking of the children that had to go to Residential schools. Being treated like this while your mind is growing is very hard for an individual. All these kids that were going through these hard times just wanted a hug from their families and they could not get that.

The reading, “History of Schooling in Saskatchewan” was very interesting. Although I know I want to be a teacher and become a bigger part of the educational world, I never knew the history of it. I found it very odd that high schools did not get brought up until around the year of 1888. In my opinion, secondary school is very important. Yes, elementary school is when kids learn how pronounce words and write words, which are very important skills to learn. Secondary school is when educators teach students more complex things that will be very useful to them in life out of school. And in today’s society an individual cannot do much without their grade twelve education.

I was very pleased to read the section on post-secondary education for First Nations and Metis people. This was not a thing until the 1960s-70s. It upsets me that it took the world so long to end the Residential schools and give First Nations and Metis people the education they deserve. Not just that but the education that supports their beliefs and culture. It was interesting to read that when the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College first opened there was only nine students attending. Twenty-eight years later it became the First Nations University of Canada and had over 1,200 students attending.