Ready or Not, Here Comes Internship

Weeks One & Two 

Regina-20150901-00184It seems as if it was only yesterday that I was sitting in my small high school library, typing out my essay stating why I would be a good candidate to be accepted into the faculty of Education at the University of Regina. Fast-forward three and half years, and here I am (to the left) ready for the first day of school. Only this time I am a teacher instead of the student. The 4th year internship seemed to have come out of nowhere. Am I ready for this internship? No, probably not. I don’t believe anyone can be fully prepared for this big of a challenge. On the first day of classes, a student asked me what my name was and I almost blurted out, “Tessa”. I mumbled something inaudible, trying to recover before responding with Ms. Thacker. I don’t feel like a “Ms.” anything! Even after chopping my hair off in hopes of looking older, I still feel like a student myself.

People always tell me I am crazy for wanting to teach in a high school, asking, “Who would want to spend their days with moody teenagers?” Of course I was nervous going into a senior classroom because I was a teenager once, and it was awful. My nervousness quickly washed away once I realized that even though these kids are stuck in oversized, growing bodies, their maturity is still only of that – kids. Besides, after my many years in the service industry, whatever naïve-ness I once had is completely gone – nothing shocks me anymore.

I am starting my internship teaching a grade ten class. I feel lucky because it it is one of the smallest class sizes my coop and I have at 25 students, which is a nice number to start with. These “moody teenagers” are my favourite part; I love seeing the individual personalities appearing and can tell this is going to be a great class to carry throughout the entire semester.

Coming from small town Saskatchewan, moving to Regina was obviously a big change from my familiar little niche. However, coming to teach in a school with a population that exceeds my entire hometown proved to be a much bigger culture shock. The first day of school was all about introductory activities, and I soon realized it wasn’t just about introducing who I was to the class, but also about introducing the students to each other. Even in my faculty in university, we all basically know each other. Regardless of the size, I am excited to have the chance to be at such a great school with so many more opportunities that I grew up having.

Starting internship was something I have always been anxious about. For years, fellow Ed students have instilled fear in pre-internship students. Hearing horror stories like, “You won’t sleep for four months” and, “You will cry more than once, probably at school. Your students will probably make you cry, actually.” Or, “You won’t be able to work another job, this is your full time job and if you try to work, you won’t pass internship”. And “Your coop will most likely hate you and make you cry, and make you do all of their marking and photocopying”. They left us with the impression that there will be a lot of crying going on.

Okay so I am only in week two, (and yes I have already cried) so maybe this is the reality of Internship. It is true that this has been the most challenging part of my education, thus far, but definitely not the most horrible time in your life as some people have made it out to be. Time-management will be your best friend. Yes, you will be focusing on school related topics basically 24/7. I have already started dreaming about lessons and how I am going to teach the next day. I actually have had a nightmare regarding the Holocaust – a topic that my grade 10s will be studying in depth.

However, I actually have been enjoying my weekends working at my other job. It’s second nature, I have been doing it for so long. I like that its mindless (in the best way possible), and I really enjoy having a change in environment. As much as I love my teenagers, it is nice to be surrounded by adults.

In reality the biggest challenge I have had so far is drastically changing my daily routine. I have never worked a full time job before, nor have I ever worked a job where I was challenged every single day. I have had summer jobs, of course, but for the past few years I have served full time during the summer so my routine has been complete opposite and barely required critical thinking. The biggest challenge is getting settled into this drastic routine. Being a student the majority of my life, I have always had a choice of whether or not to go to class that day. If I felt like sleeping in, I would. It’s really hard making the switch from student to teacher, especially since being a student is all I have ever known.

The end of the first week, I was completely overwhelmed. There is such an incredibly high workload, especially in English classes. Looking at everything made me cry. Literally, I had a little cry Friday after school. Fortunately for me, my mother was a teacher for over 30 years and she always listens and understands my teacher troubles. Like I have said, making the switch from student to teacher is obviously necessary, but still very overwhelming.

I am fortunate in the fact that my coop teacher is great; she has an incredible record of teaching under her belt, and is very willing to coach me. She is a great teacher to have as a mentor, and I know that I will be able to learn amazing things from her.

Although I am slowly starting to get into the teaching routine, I have a newfound respect for the phrase, “TGIF”. Friday’s are my favourite day.

Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Ontario’s Updated Health & Physical Education Curriculum – Is it too explicit?

o-SEX-ED-FRONT-570Ontario just released their improved and updated Health and Physical Education Curriculum as discussed in this CBC article for the first time since 1998. The biggest reason that this new updated curriculum needs to be implemented all over Canada is because of the increase of technology not only in schools, but within the teenage and youth in Canada. The truth of the matter is that with the increase of technology and children having access to technology at younger and younger ages, the harsh reality is that they do need to know about sex at a younger age.

There are students who have had cellphones for the majority of their lives, therefore have immediate access to the Internet. I guarantee that all teenagers have experienced some kind of cyber bullying in their lives. They also have access to cameras and apps such as “Snapchat” which was created so that people could send risqué photos to others and have it immediately deleted after a set number of seconds. Children need to know the dangers of technology and how to use it properly and appropriately.

Sexual health is more complex than its ever been. The article states: “Issues like gender identity, like lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans sexualities, sexual activity amongst young people — these are all hard conversations for all teachers to have”. There are hard conversations you need to have with your students in order to create an inclusive environment for all students. There are sexual relationships between different genders and not only that; there are a lot more birth control methods that have been created since 1998.

Something that I wonder about reading this article is the reaction of parents. Regardless of whether or not parents are pleased with their children learning about sexual related issues, are schools still allowed to go forward with it? If they were backed up with a new curriculum that is put together by the government, then I would argue that regardless of parent reactions, those teachers are still expected to teach it. A quote I really agree with from the CBC article sums the issue up very well, “I have this absolute conviction that the vast majority, if not all, parents would like their children to grow up to be sexually healthy adults”. We aren’t teaching these things to students to promote sex, we are teaching these things to ensure that every student has the knowledge of how to be safe and healthy when it does come to sexual relationships. The Huffington Post published a really informational article that breaks down and summarized exactly what each grade will learn in regards to the new curriculum. It is very helpful to understand exactly what will be taught and when.

From my own experience in high school, I had maybe two lessons learning about sex and sexual health. One was in grade 6, when a nurse came into our class and separated the boys from the girls and we each had a talk about puberty. A few years later, maybe in grade 9 or 10, we had one health class devoted to sex-ed, which consisted of our teacher putting a video on. I don’t even remember what the video was about, and we had no further discussion. However, I do remember that some students were excused from the class because our teachers sent home a letter to our parents explaining what we would be learning about and required a guardian’s signature in order to participate in the class. I would be curious to know whether or not that is still a practice in regards to the new curriculum.

Another question I wondered while reading this was how this curriculum would fit into the Catholic schools that teach the idea of saving sexual relationships until marriage. The CBC article says the following about that topic: “With the Institute of Catholic Education, which works on behalf of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, on board with the curriculum, and Education Minister Liz Sandals standing firm, the new program is here to stay — even in the face of rallies hosted by distressed parents and ardent opponents”.

These students are apart of the “iGeneration” that have constant access to the internet and technology therefore our schools and curriculum must ensure that we are equipping students with the appropriate knowledge instead of brushing the awkward topics under the rug.

“Man Up Against Violence” Conference Response; Connections to Female Shaming in Our Society

IMG_9646

After attending events at the “Man Up Against Domestic Violence” conference, I stumbled across the picture above on my Facebook Newsfeed. This photo really got me to think, and it upset me for a few different reasons.

Since hearing Jackson Katz speak so passionately about this issue, I am really intrigued in what he was talking about. For instance, when he spoke about people talking about using passive voices when it comes to domestic violence, such as “57 women raped” as opposed to “Men raped 57 women” really stood out to me. I had never thought about that before, but now that I have it really bothers me because it shouldn’t be only the woman’s issue, the men need to be involved in it as well! At first I was somewhat leery of the name, because in itself is somewhat sexist. There is without a doubt abuse that happens to others, not only specifically women, and “manning” up is insinuating that there males are in power and it is the masculine thing to be a man. However, what Jackson Katz made me realize is that there is no shortage of females involved with this, but that men are the missing link is raising awareness about this issue; hence the name.

In regards to the picture above,  I think this is one of the reasons that women are more often victims than men. This picture basically says, “Hey, if a girl has nice under garments, she obviously wants to have sex – even if she doesn’t.” To me, this is shocking. Having pride in what you wear and how you dress does not make it okay for men to objectify you. I don’t dress to impress males, or to give them a “vibe” or an “okay” to look and do as they please. This is an example of how our society makes females feel bad for abuse against them. This picture is insinuating that if a female was to wear a ratty old bra and old underwear, then her chances of being abused are lowered. Females shouldn’t be worried about “turning” guys on with what they wear. Especially what they wear under their clothes. To me, this picture portrays to both sexes that if a female is wearing nice underwear then they are “asking for it”.

It is completely outrageous for our society to think that a pair of underwear decides whether or not sex will happen. People decide when sex can happen. People = plural. Not just one person, both people are involved in making the decision. With so much happening in our society surrounding this issue, there of course, is the Jian Ghomeshi news story blowing up at the moment. This is an example of why females feel bad about abuse that happens against them because they feel as if it is their fault in some way. A blog post by Reva Seth, a victim of Ghomeshi discusses why she felt as if she couldn’t come forward about her abuse, she said that she felt she couldn’t say anything because they were friends and they had kissed and fooled around before, and when it went further than she had wanted she didn’t think it abuse because she had allowed it to happen before. This can be related to the photo above. As a female, I can relate to how it may be portrayed as my fault because I “dressed” a certain way, so in turn, “I asked for it” somehow.

In my opinion, anyone of any age, gender, sex and occupation can say no whenever they want to whomever they want. People shouldn’t feel bad about saying no. Anyone who has been abused shouldn’t be afraid to speak out because they are victims, and shouldn’t be shamed by our society for not doing anything wrong. In the wise words of Yehuda Bauer found on the Man Up Against Violence website, “Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” It is time to stand up and raise awareness.

Community of Learning – Personal Network of Learning

Technology is the new unstoppable force in education. There is no way of stopping the inclusion of technology in the classroom, so instead, we as educators should embrace this new wave of education and run with it. There are so many positive impacts that technology can have in the classroom, which in my opinion, far outweigh the negatives that have often been put in the spotlight.

An interesting article I stumbled on Twitter the other day was about an 8-year-old CEO who proves that kids are the future. This is what makes it so important to show kids how to properly use technology and use it safely because it has gotten a bad name in the past because of people who misuse it. Of course, there will still be people who don’t use technology safely or properly, but we can always try our best to show students the right way because as we all know – knowledge is power, people!

One of my favorite types of technology to use in the classroom is Twitter. I will admit that it took me quite a long time to warm up to this online resource, however now that I have experimented with it more I have come to really love it. In my first year of university, I joined in order to participate in class discussions using a hashtag in some of my early Education classes . However, it turned into more of a personal account and started following too many people and it become very overwhelming therefore I became frustrated and gave up on it.

However, last year I decided to make a new Twitter account that I strictly devoted to educational purposes and I absolutely love it. It does take some time to build up a strong account, but once you start following the right people, it is very useful in terms of researching education. There are so many educational resources that are shared daily. Not only that, if you researching a specific topic, you can search only that and so many helpful resources are shared from fellow educators. It is really rewarding when other educators tweet at you, or reply to your questions. I was really excited to wake up one day and see that a fellow education account (@Edutechtree) tweeted me a link about educational apps. It is really rewarding to see that this platform is connecting myself to other educators that I can learn from.

Twitter is also a great interactive way to keep discussions going with specific hashtags where we can find our peers discussing a specific topic. For example, this semester we are using #ecs210, and it really helps me see my peers perspectives on certain topics, and at certain times, helps me understand the topic and relate to it more. For example, I found a fellow education student at the handle @aimeefcastillo tweeting really useful things about our lecture on October 21st with Grant Urban that I really enjoyed reading.

There are so many educational tools for teachers to use that help them to include technology in their classroom, especially for older grades with older students. We are being unrealistic if we think our students aren’t going to use technology, especially since it is so easy and available for students to use in all aspects of their lives. I feel like it is our job as educators to show students’ positive and productive ways to use technology now and in their future.

Gaggle is an interesting tool that I found that seems interactive and interesting for students to use, and I definitely want to incorporate into my classroom. It is very similar to Facebook, but is a way for teachers and parents to monitor what is going on and being posted/said. It has a discussion board that students can continue after the bell. It has a blog aspect, as well as a safe emailing system. One thing that I really liked about this tool is that it has a calendar feature that syncs due dates to ALL of the student’s profiles, therefore there will never be confusion to students or parents when assignments are due. It keeps things very organized. This is also a great tool that keeps the parents in the know. For the parents who want to see what is happening in the classroom, this is a fantastic way to show them what their children are discussing and learning. Since all the students have a private profile, it also stores all the students’ grades. It is a digital locker for students to use, which is eventually the way that students will use more prominently.

Personally, blogging was something that was extremely scary for me before I learned how to do it. Now, I find it a really helpful way to further my understanding about certain subjects, as well as reflect about my feelings about specific subjects. When we had Grant Urban as a guest lecturer in our seminar on October 21, 2014, I found it really useful to be able to write about my thoughts and experiences from his lecture. It is also a great way to document my experiences as I go through my education journey and reflect on lessons I create and teach.

I realize now how important it is to educate myself about the growing field  of technology as much as possible.  As I continue on with my Education journey, I am extremely excited to continue learning different ways on how I can incorporate technology into my future classroom.

ECS 210 October 21, 2014 Guest Lecturer – Grant Urban

I found Grant Urban’s lecture to be really interesting. I enjoyed all of his stories that he shared with us. The main message I took away from his lecture is that you can’t judge a student by what their perceived “story” is. We do it so often in our lives, not only in regards to teaching students. Our whole society participates in the idea of judging someone by his or her outward appearance or his or her assumed “story”. What really caught my attention is the story Grant told about his Aboriginal student on the treaty fieldtrip. Of course, we as educators would think right away that as an Aboriginal student he would enjoy this experience, but in reality he actually didn’t want to partake in it in any way.

This made me think of a few instances in my high school education where we would be reading First Nation narratives in English, and my English teacher would point out the one or two Aboriginal students in our class and ask them, “what kind of traditions does your family do? Was any of your family involved in residential schools?” The entire class could tell this made that student feel so uncomfortable because he was specifically pointing this student out and putting him on the spot. This student did not want to talk about this, let alone speak to the entire class about it. This is an example of how sometimes teachers don’t realize that a student is more than just their perceived “story”. My old English teacher thought that since they had aboriginal ancestry that they would want to talk about how he related to that piece of writing. That student didn’t even identify as an Aboriginal because he chose not to. Perhaps that student would have liked to talk about their experiences as an Aboriginal student, but not in front of the entire classroom. We as teachers need to make sure we are not assuming things about students and pointing things out about students because of how they look or how they act.

Another personal narrative that Grant told us that stood out to me was the story about him telling his students to leave their “street” attitude at home because he doesn’t want to have that in his classroom. He probably thought that these kids were trying to get attention and act out. In reality, these students probably had no other idea how to act because that is the only way they knew how to act. That student might not want to identify as a “street” person, or even realized that they were acting in a certain way. Telling a student to be someone else in your classroom has implications to it, and I hadn’t thought of it in that way before.

What Grant Urban was trying to get across is that personal relationships with your students are crucial. Students are not just a number who you are forced to teach. One of the last things he said really stuck with me – that we as teachers learn just as much from our students as they learn from us.

Field Experience Response: Week 8

This week I taught a math lesson and it was very out of my comfort zone since I haven’t taken any math classes myself since I was in grade 10. However I thought it went well considering. What I thought went well was that the students seemed very engaged in the introductory discussion about estimation, all were very eager to explain what estimation was and how we can use it in everyday life. I had some prompts prepared just in case, but I found I didn’t use them because the students all had great ideas to share. They also seemed very interested in the activity about estimation, which was where they chose an object (eraser, pencil, etc.) to measure something with (door, book, etc.) but before, they used their estimation skills to guess how much it would be without actually measuring.

What didn’t go as planned is that some of the students didn’t fully understand the activity on what they were supposed to do. I had to go back and explain more in depth about what I wanted them to do and give a few examples of how I wanted them to do it, so obviously I could have elaborated on my instruction more. I also had planned in my lesson to show an example in front of the class of how to do the activity but I just forgot about it, until I realized that the students were having troubles with understanding completely at finishing the activity.

What I would change if I ever taught this lesson again would be the instruction, I would definitely give a lot more instruction and examples of the activity so that no one was confused about what they were supposed to do. I also would change my handout because I asked the students to measure something with their object and then afterwards, get a ruler and actually measure the object again and find out what the measurement actually is in centimeters. This is where many of the students got confused on where they were supposed to estimate with their objects they chose and then again with the rulers.

Something I learned this week is that it can be very challenging to try to explain things to your students when you think you have explained it in every way you possibly can and they still don’t fully understand it. It is hard to explain things when you personally understand completely and don’t understand how the students don’t understand it! I always got frustrated when my teachers wouldn’t explain things in depth and left me feeling confused about what was expected of me. This week I experienced this from the teacher perspective, which was equally frustrating.

Lesson Plan Revisions

I chose my lesson about stereotyping and discrimination to revise because I learned a lot after I taught it. As I mentioned before in my original reflection after teaching this lesson, this was a pretty heavy lesson to try to teach in one class because it is a very important topic that needs to be taken seriously for students to understand. Afterwards I thought a lot about how to improve this lesson and after making all the revisions necessary I feel confident that I could teach this lesson again, and it would be much more effective.

Original Lesson Plan

REVISED Lesson Plan (Changes are highlighted)

This lesson is such an important discussion to start with your students to make them aware of how often, why and where discrimination and stereotyping happens. After looking closer at Blooms Taxonomy, incorporating the three main components of it will definitely strengthen the lesson. With the opening discussion in the beginning of my lesson, I wanted students to use their cognitive skills by thinking about what I was asking and also to expand on their knowledge. With the exit slip with the three questions provided, I am targeting the student’s attitudes about this topic, and hopefully they would show some personal growth of opinions in this area. With the actual paper plate activity, I am targeting the psychomotor aspect of Blooms Taxonomy. This was a hands-on activity where I was hoping students would get to understand what it was like to be stereotyped even if it hadn’t happened to them personally before. Ultimately I wanted them to see this topic from a different perspective and have their eyes opened to the raw reality of it.

I really wanted to incorporate examples of when I have experienced stereotyping to give the students real life examples of how often stereotyping works. As a part time waitress, I experience gender stereotyping quite frequently. I didn’t think this would be appropriate to share with my grades 4-7 students, but it was one of the only things I could think of where I have been obviously and outright stereotyped. I did mention to the students some common gender stereotypes such as “women are bad drivers,” “men are stronger”, or “man up”.

Afterwards my coop teacher shared her experiences of discrimination and stereotyping as an Aboriginal woman and I thought that was so powerful. The students really were attentive to this and were asking many questions about it such as “Why?” “Why would people think that by just looking at you?” etc. Treaty education is so important because if students are aware of what is happening in our province and country and the negative stereotypes that are sometimes attached to Aboriginal peoples then they can stop it from happening by not participating in it. Awareness is the most important part of treaty education. How I could start my lesson about this next time is by showing a video from people who are stereotyped, and then have a discussion about that afterwards. I didn’t include that in my revised version of my lesson because the school I am at is technology free, but in the future a video could be a really great way to introduce the topic, in a more diverse way.

I have learned a lot about differentiation in lesson plans from my classroom because it is grades 4 – 7. Since it is such a wide range of ages and grades, I have found it very challenging to meet the needs of all ages, grades and abilities. Especially challenging because we are only there once a week, so only now am I starting to really understand what every student’s particular needs. For example, this week I learned that one student has a very short memory and needs things written on the board to look back at. I could have easily adapted so many of my previous lessons for this but I didn’t realize this until this week. I also just started to notice that one student needs a lot of help with spelling and writing to the point of meltdowns because he gets so anxious to have to write anything out. Having him answer verbally is a much better way to hear his opinions, as well as having someone write out his answers as he speaks is also really helpful to him.

My target I created for myself in my professional development plan for this lesson was to create a good discussion before and after the activity. My specific instructions that I asked my coop teacher to look for were if I had good prompts that started discussions, as well as if the discussion stayed on topic. She recorded a lot of great data that was helpful for me to look back and reflect on that. She recorded all my questions I asked and what the students’ answers were which I had already forgot some of them so it’s great that I now have it written down. I also am able to look back and see where the students had lots of answers and the prompts or questions that they had a hard time with responding.

Field Experience Response: Week 7

This week I continued on with my health lessons, with this week’s topic being about self-esteem. What I thought went well in my lesson is that the students were engaged in the activity they were expected to do, which was instead of drawing a self-portrait, they were partnered up and drawing a portrait of their partner. I also thought the discussion before the activity went well, the students all had great answers to my prompts which I was really happy with.

What didn’t go as planned is that I let the students pick their own partners, because there have been no issues with partners in the past. When I was pre-conferencing with my coop teacher, I asked her what her opinion was about pairing the students up and she agreed with me that they would be fine choosing their own. However, two boys decided to rekindle their long lost friendship that day and as a pair, they did not work well together at all. I noticed that they were not on task at all, so I continued to go to their area and ask them how they were doing and they just literally ignored me the entire time. I had to actually physically get in between them to get their attention because they were so engrossed in their conversation with each other. They were not taking the assignment seriously at all, and making fun of each other in their drawings, which was an issue I was worrying about. I told them they needed to get working on their assignments seriously or else they would be split up. They didn’t think I was serious so they continued to goof off and I told them okay, lets go back to your desks. They realized I was serious and one of the students said, “Fine, we will finish the stupid assignment”.  I wasn’t happy that they were speaking to me like that or about the assignment. What I eventually ended up doing is asking my partner to sit with them to make sure they were on task and they finally got to work and finished. Also when I was having my closing discussion with the students the classroom was so loud from the other rooms beside us, and with everyone combined the noise levels were so loud so it was hard to get and hold their attention so I was disappointed I wasn’t able to completely finish my lesson as I had hoped too.

Obviously next time I would spend more time thinking about how to pair up the partners, but it really is just something I had to learn through experience because I would have never thought that I would have that much trouble with those particular students, especially together. I know that in my future classroom, I likely won’t have another person there to supervise two students the entire work period so I would have to make sure I had another plan that I planned ahead.

Something I learned this week is that I do tend to get frustrated easily, especially with younger students being so silly. I get annoyed how they act and so I am looking forward to work with older students in the future to see how I react in that setting. I am not naive, I obviously don’t think that older students will have no behaviour issues or that they won’t act silly either, but I just am interested to see how I react in that setting. This week my class definitely put my classroom management skills to the test, but that is the only way I will learn, is through experience! 

Field Experience Response: Week 6

This week in our school was Rainbow Week, which is about racism awareness. My coop told us we could create a lesson around this if I wanted, so I decided to create a lesson around prejudice and stereotypes. I was nervous because this is a really important and deep topic especially when introducing it to the students for the first time so I wanted to make sure they actually took something away from this.

What went well in my lesson is that the students were engaged in the discussion that we had about prejudice. When I first asked what prejudice was, no one said anything. So I prompted them with breaking the word up – pre / judge. Right away the students had their hands up with ideas. That was really interesting to see that with a simple prompt or even by changing the words around the students were able come up with so many other ideas. The students also really enjoyed the activity – which involved a paper plate. On the outside “bump” of the plate, I asked the students to draw a self-portrait and then write a few descriptor words that people would know/think or judge before getting to actually know you. For example, I made one for myself and I wrote some words like “female, white, brunette, brown eyes”. Then, on the inside of the plate I asked the students to write words that people wouldn’t know about you by just looking. I wrote some words like “Ukrainian, shy, animal-lover, family-oriented, self-conscious, smart”.

Everything went as planned, I thought the kids were interested in this activity. However, there was one boy who was testing me because he was being silly and drawing a turtle on his plate and when I would ask him to take the activity serious, he would say, “You can’t tell me I am not a turtle, that is how I see myself.” I found this challenging because I never want to take away a child’s creative away but I felt like he was making a joke out of my lesson. I wanted him to take it serious because prejudice and stereotyping is serious and I wanted him to realize that. I dealt with it by taking away his turtle plate and handing him a new one and I told him that his turtle was wonderful and fantastic but I wanted him to seriously draw himself and when he was finished he could continue his turtle.

I am not sure that they completely understood my main message of the activity, which was that you couldn’t judge someone by just looking at them. Many of the students wrote things like “I have a cat” or “I like to sing”, which is really great but not necessarily characteristics that people would judge them on. Some students went deeper with things like, “I am really scared of the dark” or  “Pow-wow dancer”. At the end of the activity, I asked the kids to come back to their desks and I asked a few ending questions, like “what did you learn? Did this help you learn about prejudice and stereotypes?” I was surprised by their answers because many of the students talked about they learned that drawling yourself is really hard even though you see yourself all the time. That isn’t what I was really going for, but I was interested to hear those answers. I also am thinking I am going to continue with this lesson next week spinning it more so in regards to body image and how they see themselves.

The students also had great responses when I asked, “How can we stop prejudice from happening?” They said things like, “Don’t be mean to someone just because of how they look or talk” or “If someone looks weird doesn’t mean you can be rude to them” and “Treat others like you want to be treated”. I think it is challenging to take on a lesson as large as this one when you can’t continue with it. I would have liked to spend more times on it, and maybe create a follow up lesson especially since the entire week was racism awareness so it would have been great to go off of this. My coop teacher said she was really happy with my lesson and she thought that it was a great way to introduce Rainbow Week so I am glad she enjoyed it.

Something I would change about this lesson is incorporating of an example of prejudice or stereotype that I have experienced. The reason I am saying this is because at the end of my lesson my coop teacher went to the class and just highlighted the fact that prejudice is SO important to learn about in order to stop it from happening. She told a real life example of being stereotyped in her life as an Aboriginal woman. The kids were really interested and engaged in it and kept asking her “Why?” “Why would people do that?” “Why would people think that?” I thought it was really powerful and really let the lesson sink in for the kids. This would have been a great time to get into white privilege, because I had never heard anything about that until my second semester in University and I think it is so important to educate you kids about it. I was happy with my lesson this week and it gave me great ideas to build off of for next week!

Field Experience Response: Week 5

This week was all about adaptations and flexibility for me. I continued on with my theme of decision-making and planned a role playing game for the students to practice making appropriate decisions. What went well is that the students really enjoyed role-playing. I also was able to create a discussion beforehand about what types of decisions you make on a daily basis, how you make those and also how you make those larger decisions and whom you could ask for help.

What didn’t go as planned is pretty much everything. Our coop teacher told us as soon as we arrived that there would be an Elder coming in that morning to talk to the students from 9:30-10:30. So basically my partner and I had about an hour, hour and ten minutes to get through both of our lessons after the kids were back in from recess and got settled and what not. This isn’t that big of a deal but my lesson would take a bit longer than usual. However, we pushed on and dealt with it and it all worked out and were able to get through our lessons without obviously rushing. I just had to cut down my lesson a bit which was super easy to do because I had about 12 scenarios in case we needed to go longer but I just took some out and we only did about 3 scenarios per group. I also wasn’t able to have as long of a discussion at the end to wrap things up, but all in all I was happy with how everything went because I really wasn’t sure how the students were going to react to this lesson.

Another adaptation I had to make was location. Because our school is one room with only dividers in between, noise travels easily and it can get very distracting very easily. I hadn’t considered that this would be as issue, however since there were only two groups with about 8 people per group, once they started getting excited and planning their scenario they seemed to get louder and louder to have their ideas heard. Two of the other teachers asked us to try to be quieter since we were disrupting their classes, so we decided to move downstairs where they were able to be louder and they also had more room down there. In hindsight, starting off in the basement would have been the easier and smarter option especially in regards to our open concept school and the small space that our classroom is located in.

If I were to re-teach this lesson, I would make those changes I mentioned above about starting in a different area, as well as I would like to have more time to complete this lesson. I was thinking afterwards it would have been a good idea to have a discussion after each scenario to talk about what the other options could have been and what the other outcomes as a result. However, we simply did not have the time to have a discussion after each one if we wanted to get through a few.

This week I definitely was able to experience the flexibility that teachers need to have because unexpected things and events are always occurring!