Interconnectedness of Knowledge, Schooling and Society: My experiences
“We as teachers can be part of creating the kind of world we want to live in. For me, it’s a world of love and acceptance that I want to live in!”
Throughout the progression of ECS 100, our class explored many topics. These included: professionalism, educational philosophies, decolonizing education, child development theories, and inclusive education. Part of this work involved reading. Part of it involved use of multimedia resources, such as videos, recorded seminars, and exploring websites. Every week our class engaged in various group discussions, giving students the opportunity to hone in on different topics. Part of our work was to synthesize our knowledge into the different assignments we were given, such as small group presentations, writing discussion posts, and creating an aesthetic representation. Finally, we were all given the amazing opportunity to experience first-hand what life is like in the classroom!
Having background knowledge is key to gaining a better understanding of people and systems. With a template of knowledge, I can walk into a classroom, and be ready to observe and interact based on a system of frameworks of different understandings that I have been developing.
Developing is the key word – we won’t know everything at the beginning! It’s important to recognize that we are always in a process of learning more, refining our skills and knowledge, and reflecting on and growing from the experiences that we have.
Knowing our own strengths, as well as seeking to understand our areas of challenge and difficulty will serve us with the self-awareness and humility we need going forward. It is important for me to know where I excel. I need to know what I am naturally good at, what strengths I bring to the table, and exercise my creativity muscles in developing fluidity as I move from one skill set and toolbox to another. Equally, I must be ready to admit to my own shortcomings and challenges, willing and eager to develop growth in those areas.
Some of my big lessons in the class have been in learning to truly listen, as well to slow down and truly learn from other people. As we are each unique humans with equally unique skills and life experiences, we bring a diverse array of practical knowledge and tools to our work. By observing and learning from others, we can broaden our scope of practice, increase our capacities, and work in ways that are both integrative and supportive.
Additionally for me, observing what tremendous help it is to a teacher to have the support of educational assistants was a huge eye-opener. We can do so much more when we have a team! I wish this for every student and every classroom: a team of supporters, so that the responsibility doesn’t solely fall on one person. One person can only do so much! Moving forward, I know part of my duty as a future educator will lay in advocating for smaller classroom sizes, and more supports for teachers, so that educators, and students may feel supported in the utmost capacity in their daily work.
Finally, I have become significantly more aware of the need for teachers to ensure they are working in every way possible to support the needs of every single learner. There are kids who need support and recognition for their life experiences that may not fall neatly into one category: especially, kids from minoritized groups, such as Indigenous people, immigrants, sexually diverse and disabled people. The great work for me will be in exploring how I can understand each person’s life experience the best I can, so I can figure out how to make each child feel loved, nurtured, and supported in the classroom, and help extend this feeling so its coming from their peers and community as well.
Ever dedicated to being an advocate for Indigenous rights, human rights, and traumatized kids, I will continue on the journey I am currently walking: striving to become the best educator I can be.
Quotes and stories from the field
- “Children being guided towards listening to their inner voices and letting interest guide their play (in a way that respects the classroom and others.”
- “Encouraging self-interest and self-motivation as a foundation to learning.”
- “Community-oriented classroom”
- “The kids seem to be being taught a sense of care for one another.”
- “Bringing the class together in their shared goals and responsibilities.”
- “Encouraging kids to help one another and to work together.”
- “Spending time observing each child at the beginning of the school year, to be able to understand them and know them better, and this helps with the commencement of building relationships.”
- “Building a relationship with families is critical.”
- “There is a lot to be learned from talking to students.”
- “The space makes me feel comfortable and creative”
- “Helping kids feel at ease, comfortable, accepted, and free to be themselves.”
- “Following the natural flow of kids.”
- “Everyone has a different experience.”