I was in a grade 3 classroom at Sacred Heart Community School, which was just rebuilt last year. The school is very new and built specifically for first nation students. I asked why their school is based so much around first nations students and this is because the school is actually on reserve land, it is one of the only reservations that is in an urban area. The school has a smudge room and was built with air filtration systems so that smudges can be done in the school. The school also has an elder in-residence during school hours and is majority first nation students. The classroom was set up with different styles of desks, some were singular, there was square and half circles desks as well. This was not a traditional classroom set up, also the teacher did not have a desk in the classroom. He had a desk set up in a separate room that is called the teacher preparation room. I related this back to the lecture where we talked about power in the classroom and the location of the teacher’s desk. There were two things I was surprised by in the school because of the location of the school. The first was that most student are not sent to school with lunches, only one student out of fifteen had a lunch but the school has a program set up to feed the students. The school feeds around 180 students’ breakfast and 400 students’ lunch. The second thing I was surprised by was the school has no recess or breaks for the students because mostly of behavioral issues and fights breaking out. The teachers found it easier to give classes separate breaks when convenient for the students so there is less crowding on the playground.
The learners are all so different, there are some students who are very advanced at a higher level than grade 3 and some at a lower level around grade 1. The students range from energetic and crazy to quiet and calm. I got to know two students well, the first young girl I talked to was very advanced for her age. As this young girl and I chatted we found a commonalty between us, she has an older half-brother who was adopted at birth who I am currently dating. This young girl became very interested in me after that, giving me lots of hugs before I left. The other student I got to know very well was a boy with high functioning autism. He loved life and school more than anyone I have ever met; he laughed at everything and was always smiling. He asked me where I was last week so I explained to him that I was in Ontario playing softball and then on the playground he wanted to play catch with me.
This was school was very different from the school I grew up in, being that is was culturally based and had lots of advanced technology in every classroom. I really enjoyed the school, I thought it was a beautiful space and has plenty to offer for each student.