Pre-Internship – Final Reflections

I was very nervous and somewhat apprehensive going into my first ever high school teaching experience. However, I realized very early on that I had nothing to be nervous about, and that I definitely chose the right career path. I loved being in a high school, interacting with the students in that age group. My only wish is that I could have spent more time in the classroom to continue to build relationships with the awesome students because they were my biggest fear, but turned out to be my absolute favourite part of pre-internship.

I cannot even begin to explain the knowledge I have gained throughout the three weeks. I completely understand why people have said that third year in education is the hardest because of the pre-internship. It is so difficult being dropped into a classroom smack dab in the middle of a semester. I really learned what an asset flexibility is as a teacher. I also learned how to collaborate effectively and professionally with colleagues, even if our ideas didn’t always match up with each other.

It was probably some of the toughest three weeks that I have ever experience, only because it was completely out of my regular schedule and something completely and totally new to me. However I feel as if I have already grown so much as an educator and am motivated and excited to get back into the classroom and continue doing what I love.

Overall, I had a really great experience and was very fortunate to be able to work with an established and successful cooperating teacher who was so willing to welcome us into his classroom. He gave us a lot of really detailed and informative feedback about what I should continue to work on during my internship. I really appreciated all of the heartfelt advice he gave us because much of it was a thing that I would never have realized without being observed. This experience has also prepared me for internship and I am nothing but excited and confident.

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Inquiry Project: Final Post

The reason that I chose to research Treaty Education for my inquiry project is because I feel such an emphasis placed in almost all of our education classes, however I felt very lost to how I could actually implement these philosophies in my classroom.

imagesI have researched a lot about why it is crucial we as young teachers need to be introducing this education into our classrooms. I have been very encouraged, but also have had moments of extreme discouragement as well. For example, I overheard a fellow pre-intern during our three week block explain how he was teaching a social studies unit to his class, and his cooperating teacher had told him to skip over the part of the Catholic church’s involvement in residential schools. Hearing that I was very shocked, however I was motivated again when my cooperating teacher would make a point of always referencing residential schools and the mistreatment of Ingenious people in Canada’s history.

I feel as if many teachers feel like they are teaching Treaty Education if they mention residential schools. That’s a step, however there are many other aspects to Aboriginal history than just that horrible part. I was enthusiastic to find that there are resources readily available for teachers to incorporate Treaty Education, such as my previous post about the amazing 100 Years of Loss curriculum I received from the Legacy of Hope Foundation. tupper-mosaic

I also appreciate fellow educators and their continued research about Treaty Education. Jennifer Tupper is the Associate Dean of  Faculty Development and Human Resources in the Faculty of Education, and she is doing amazing research about this topic that I will continue to follow and learn from.

I found this project to be challenging, but I am motivated to keep my research going and always implement Treaty Education into my classroom. As a teacher I am a life long learner, and will continue to feed my crave for more resources and information. images-1

Inquiry Project Post #6: 100 Years of Loss

Throughout my inquiry project, I have highlighted a lot of different reasons why Indigenous education is crucial to be taught in schools because of the serious implications of the past still being so prominent in our society today. However, I haven’t really highlighted how I have found to actually include this in the classroom. One thing that I really struggle with is actually implementing Treaty Education in the classroom. I am so excited about  a resource I have found that I will most definitely use in my future classroom, hopefully even as soon as internship in the fall.lgacy_logo-300x67

A friend told me about this website called Legacy of Hope Foundation, where you can request specific resources from the organization for teachers to use in the classroom. These resources are created with the purpose of educating and creating awareness about the legacy of residential school and the intergenerational impact it has had on First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. The organization also supports the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors.

I requested a 100 Years of LosIMG_0708s curriculum, with little hope that I would actually receive one because the organization survives on donations alone, and gives away these amazing resources for free, therefore it is in high demand and they are only able to give what they have at the moment. However a few weeks after requesting a resource, the curriculum was mailed to me, entirely for free!

IMG_0711 I cannot express how enthused I am with receiving this incredible resource. It is absolutely amazing. It comes in a very organized folder with an information booklet, a teacher’s guide video, and a teacher’s guide filled with information, lesson plans, and activates.

The information booklet is filled with information about the foundation, as well as a brief overview of what residIMG_0710ential schools were, the conditions, the healing and reconciliation that is trying to happen, as well as information about what we can do as educators and Canadian citizens.

The teacher’s guide is filled with more information about how to use the guide, dealing with tough situations and how to get through them,background information about Residential Schools, and then six very detailed lesson plans with complementary resources such as actives and information.

Finding this resource gives me hope because it shows that there are real steps being take-in the direction of young teachers like myself are being educated and given the right tools (sometimes, free of charge!) to incorporate Treaty Education.                                                                    IMG_0715IMG_0712       IMG_0713

Inquiry Blog Post #5: Problematic Stereotypes

In my previous post, I wrote about the importance of teaching Indigenous education because without the proper education, then it is so easy to fall into stereotypes without even realizing. I don’t just want to bring awareness to my students but I want to challenge them to dig deeper, and think harder about why there are stereotypes involved.

For example, “Those EvanMunday_530_289_90Drunk Indians” is published in briarpatch magazine online, which explains very well how the stereotypes in Canada are very prominent. There is a quote in this article that was heartbreakingly real, “I am seen as an Indian first,” she says. “Then a woman. After that, it doesn’t matter that I’m gay or an auditor or someone’s aunt. I’m already less than.”

Why is this true? This is exactly why Indigenous education needs to be implemented more, and mandatory, as I challenged in my previous post. It should not be a choice, because it is not a choice for this woman to be seen as anything less than she is just because she is an Aboriginal woman.

As I mentioned also in previous posts, awareness and knowledge is the missing piece in my opinion. I grew up surrounded by countless stereotypes about Aboriginal people. It wasn’t until I was educated that I started asking the important questions such as why and how can I change this? If students aren’t aware of our country’s history, then how could they begin to understand the stereotypes and the implications that come with them?

The reason this is so important is because we need to fill the gap between Canadians and Aboriginal Canadians. For example, the article references the countless Aboriginal women that have gone missing and have been murdered, and yet there has been hardly anything done about it. It has been years, decades animages-1d there it is still not a pressing matter, as it absolutely should be. Again, I didn’t know about any of these because the media seems to be covering news stories from one side – the privileged. There is hardly any media coverage from the Aboriginal perspective.

The article also references the horrible murder trial for Cindy Gladue, who bled to death in an Edmonton hotel room from an 11-centimetre wound in her vagina. The white man was found not guilty, afterUnknown graphic images of her wounded vagina were on display for all of the jury to see. Would this case be any different if the woman was white and the accused man was Aboriginal?

As a cat lover myself, I was devastated to find out that a cat was found in Regina, tortured, with his legs tied up with electrical tape. Evie Ruddy compares the media’s coverage on these stories – the media con3803753_1426867084.7726tinues to post numerous updates about this poor cat and he has even gotten international media coverage. Citizens have fallen in love with this cat and have raised over $22,000 for him. How is it that a cat can get more media coverage, whereas a horrific murder trial with an outrageous verdict is nearly hidden from the public?

This article, and this author’s experience with stereotypes is exactly why Indigenous education is so crucial for our society. There is no question that we have a long way to go, but I am confident that once there is more awareness raised, the critical questions will soon follow.

Inquiry Project Post #4: Is Indigenous Studies a Choice or Requirement?

Throughout doing research for this project, I have noticed my eye catching a lot of headlines in the news that pertain to my topic. Recently I came across an article that surprisingly one of my friends I had grown up with, shared on social media that I couldn’t help but find so intriguing. The article is titled “Why Indigenous Studies Shouldn’t Be Mandatory; It’s redundant, it’s unfair, and coercion causes resentment” and it is founimagesd on Maclean’s website. This was even more interesting to me that she chose to share her ideas about Indigenous studies being invaluable as she herself has Métis background.

This article hits very close to home because it is specifically about University of Regina students. Although I do appreciate the concerns of some students in the article for the reasons why they feel they shouldn’t have to take the class, there is one specific part of the article that really stood out to me:Unknown

“I’m with him. Indigenous Studies is fine as an elective. But for many, it would be a waste of time and money. Above all, it’s wrong to force students to take classes focused on one minority’s history—especially when that minority’s history is already widely-covered in Canadian K-12 curricula.”

The reason I disagree with this is because I know first hand that the “minority’s history” is definitely NOT widely covered in Canadian schools even if it is included in the curriculum. I feel like I can say that with confidence because I grew up in a small town where we did not follow the curriculum, as we should have. Therefore, as I mentioned previously, I had zero exposure to any type of Treaty Education. I didn’t even know what a residential school was until my second semester of university.

I know that I can’t speak for all small towns, or even for people my age about what and when they were exposed to Indigenous education, however, I am familiar with the current curriculum and I was just in a high school where “the minority’s history” was not taught. Even though Aboriginal history is an essential aspect to the curriculum, it is unfortunately not always emphasized, as it should be.

For those reasons, this is why the article upset me. The fact that someone would say that the history is previously covered therefore we no longer have to learn it, is quite upsetting. Especially because my generation in particular there seems to be some sort of divide with the minority of our Aboriginal population because many people my age were not exposed to the important historical events that have had major impact on Indigenous people. This in turn then made many people ignorant and very unforgiving to the much more prominent stereotypes that we were exposed to instead.images-1

Even just the title of the article itself is problematic. Educating our Canadian people about the Indigenous population and their trial and tribulations they have suffered is absolutely necessary because it is such a crucial aspect of our country’s past. Claiming that making this type of education mandatory is going to cause resentment is just proving the point that the lack of correct Indigenous education is prevalent in our society.

I found a article arguing why the fact that someone actually wrote this article is PROOF that Indigenous studies needs to mandatory. If you felt upset like I did reading the article in Maclean’s, I would strongly suggest reading this post by Bannock + Butter on Tumblr.

To drive my point home, I will end with this quote; “he objects to being forced to spend $650 and countless hours on a subject he’s not interested in”.

Is the tragic history of our country’s people merely a subject that one can choose to participate in? I disagree with this article and think that choosing to participate in the Indigenous studies of Canada shouldn’t be a choice as the culture and repercussions of mistreatment surrounds us more then ever today.

Inquiry Project Post #3: Quotes From a Sioux Indian Chief

10 Quotes From a Sioux Indian Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society

indian.jpg.pagespeed.ce.4js8v-f9WO As I am continuing research for my inquiry project, I came across an article the other day that I found very intriguing because it had so many meaningful quotes that I really wanted to explore. I would absolutely want to try to implement these ways of knowing in my future classroom. I speak of personal experience when I say that so much of our Canadian history was hidden from me growing up, and only exposed to the typical stereotypes. As an educated adult, I now realize how detrimental this was to my generation because I know that it is a very common issue. Knowledge is power! It is so crucial to be able to teach my students as many aspects of the Aboriginal ways of knowing, instead of the perceived version that they are most likely to be exposed to from home life or frequently found in our society. Again, informing my students about history and how it affects our Canadian background is essential to breaking these harmful prejudices.

 “Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.”

One of the biggest challenges I have been finding lately is one that relates to technology, because it is something that makes conversations and relationships meaningless at certain times. I think this is directly related to the above quote. Isn’t technology the most hurried manner of conversation there is?  I am absolutely guilty of this myself in so many different situations. Being in a classroom daily for the past few weeks I see how much technology has taken over all aspects of adolescent lives. The students are always, constantly on their phones. I haven’t been around young people in that extent for a long time, so I have never realized until recently how intensely students use their phones. Even after warnings and confiscating cellphones/iPads, they are still constantly using their technology. It is an addiction and as if they can’t be without. The only day I watched two students in my class one row over text each other instead of talking to each other. I thought to myself, “How sad is that”. The social skills that this generation will lack are outstanding.

“Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words.”

 Relating to the above paragraph about lack of social skills, I agree with this quote that all actions need to be felt, not just said. There are so many meaningful messages behind this, because so often in our society, there are countless thoughtless actions.  If we were to teach students some of these valuable lessons then maybe we would be able to decrease this and make our country a better place. Something else I have been learning a lot about in our internship is that students really do see us teachers as role models so if we can model compassion, then that can go miles and will hopefully one day make a difference in the challenges that our people of Canada are facing.

“Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery”.

wilderness.jpg.pagespeed.ce.pcqg2xJFT8Respecting the earth is not something that is just a passionate hobby to some people – it is an absolute necessity. So often, the earth and its beautiful nature are not respected, as it should be. I believe this is partly because this necessity is not taught to children as well as it should be. It goes back to the lack of meaningful conversations because of the advancement of technologies. Are we spending enough time appreciating the amazing landscapes we are surrounded with in Canada? Do we take care of our land as well as the land takes care of us? Would we still be alive without the selflessness of Earth?

“It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all”.

One of the most ironic messages from this article is that every one is equal. It seems so obvious right? However, that doesn’t mean it is true, especially in Canada. This quote should be dissected with great detail because it is one of the most important life lessons – everyone and everything is equal. There is no one better and no one beneath you. Everyone deserves love. What an amazing lesson to learn that regardless of race, gender, age, beliefs, that every single human is equal.

All of these quotes make for deeper meaning about almost all aspects of life. It is especially important to know the fact that there are so many different points of view and traditions. We all have our own traditions that we celebrate with our own families and friends, and we need to realize that there are other important aspects to the Aboriginal ways of knowing.  This article is a small aspect of how certain groups of people view their lives and as Canadians we need to be open to all aspects of our historical traditions in order to hopefully one day find reconciliation and some sort of peace in our society.

Inquiry Project Post #2: Royal Saskatchewan Museum

Recently, our cUnknownlass went for a tour of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. I have only been there only a couple times before as I am not originally from Regina, so I don’t have as much information about it as some of my peers did. Something that I gathered from my fellow students, who have been going there since their childhood, is that it has not changed one bit. We went through the First Nations display, and I found it to be very dry.

images-2There was also a huge part missing in this gallery. That part being history or even recognition about Residential schools not only in Canada, but it was left out entirely in our Saskatchewan history. This really surprised me, as Saskatchewan was the grounds for some of the longest standing residential schools in Canada. Something else that really stood out to me is the fact that the language that was used in this exhibition was completely outdated. For example, the term that was used to address this culture was “Indian”. There was no other languageUnknown-1 used, and there was also a very westernized perspective forced. There was a display that was all about the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company that insinuated that European’s came over and really helped and “saved” the First Nations. There was also nothing about the problematic ways that the European’s took over the land. The First Nations people’s were portrayed to have ideal living conditions, with none of their struggles they faced shown in any of the displays. There was also nothing shown about the conflict between the European settlers and the First Nations people that happened and is consequently still happening today.

images-1Although I doubt that the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is intending to portray the history this way, it is very problematic. If these are the types of displays and exhibitions our students and children are viewing, then there should be no surprise that Canadians (such as myself) know absolutely nothing about the real history that happened. There needs to be the truth displayed and taught to children and adults so that the awareness is turned into knowledge regardless of if it is difficult to discuss. There also needs to be this discussion started very early on because then students and children are aware of these issues and are not 20 (like myself) when they first hear about residential schools. Honestly, learning about the residential schools and the treatment of First Nations peoples is very disturbing, especially as an older student because it is shocking that there is hardly any awareness about it. It  did shake my foundations when I became aware of this, because how was I a knowledge university student learning how to shape the minds of young children, when I didn’t even know about one of Canada’s most important historical events? It is so challenging to reflect on this and find solid ground on this because my entire life I had been told (silently, throughout no awareness) one thing, and then finding something out so disturbing made me feel very uneducated and confused.

The visit to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum was a great learning experience for me as a teacher, because it showed me why students have such limited knowledge about First Nations people. As I said in my previous post, it was unbelievable that so many Canadians were obnoxious to the history of the First Nations people, but these types of portrayals in our museums and how our Canadian history is taught could explain why. It also showed me what perspectives I need to be including in my classrooms because it is likely that they are only being told or shown one perspective.

Inquiry Project Post #1: Why I chose Treaty Education

The reason why I wanted to choose Treaty Education for my inquiry project is because I feel like I need to have so much more information  beforeGMCTE Treaty Module FINAL I can incorporate it in an educational and effective way into my classroom on a daily basis.

I believe that one of the reasons that I feel so lost in regards to this topic is because I grew up in a place where Treaty Education was not discussed at all, and my teachers mostly avoided the topic as much as they could. I did not learn about residential schools until I started university, which is something that still makes me upset today that this knowledge was hidden from me for so long. It is unbelievable to me that so many Canadians are so oblivious to this topic.

After attending the Treaty Education Workshop at the beginning of the semester, I felt as if I never received a straightforward answer on HOW to actually incorporate Aboriginal ways of knowing into my daily routines in my classroom. I felt like the workshop was mainly focused on discussing the terms of the treaties in Saskatchewan. Obviously that information is very important, but at the same time it didn’t help me as a teacher trying to include this into my classroom that I am about to enter in.

I crave to learn more because not only do I fully believe that Treaty Education is an essential part of the Canadian learning experience, but I believe that I should know how to bring this into my classroom in a meaningful way. Incorporating Treaty Education is required to pass your internship, however I have heard of previous interns who have had co-op teachers who did not take this part seriously at all, and viewed it more of a chore than anything else. For example, they would incorporate a “sharing circle” into a lesson, and then they checked off the “included Treaty Essential Learning’s” into all of their lessons just so it was checked off. I do not want to view this topic as unimportant and want to ensure that I am incorporating it in a though-provoking and important way.

In an English classroom I can see how this could be easier to do than in other subject areas, however I want to find ways of making this a daily routine in my classroom, instead of just studying specific First Nation’s texts and saying that I am teaching Treaty Education. Treaty Education and incorporating Aboriginal ways of knowing is something I am very interested in further learning and I hope that I can eventually feel confident in teaching Treaty Education in my classroom.