My ECS 100 field experience was fantastic. I had the pleasure of working with a fellow classmate, Emily Logan, and Mrs. Glenda Hadwen at Ecole Lumsden Elementary School. Unfortunately, my field experience ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emily was a wonderful partner that helped to enhance my learning experience during our field placement. We had many discussions about social justice in a school setting and how the events we experienced in the day related to the content we learned in class. I was very thankful to have her as a partner because she offered fresh ideas and insights I would have not considered otherwise.
Mrs. Hadwen is a phenomenal teacher and really understands how to apply theoretical concepts to practical situations. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her experiences as a teacher and observing the way she interacted with both her students and coworkers. Mrs. Hadwen is a very observant teacher and treats each of her students as an important individual. She takes time to learn and care for her students, which thoroughly helps create a nurturing and effective learning environment.
Below are some stories from my field experience that really resonated with me and were essential to forming my current beliefs about education:
My first impression of Lumsden Elementary School was that the atmosphere was very welcoming and the school was designed really well. I was also really excited to experience a Grade 2 classroom first hand. LES is a fairly large school and they have quite a few staff members from many different backgrounds. For each grade there is a French Immersion class and an English class. They also have a few educational assistants, custodians, and administrative assistants. The surrounding community is very close-knit and active, I believe this is because Lumsden is a smaller town. When observing the school’s relationship with the surrounding community I noticed that both the school and the surrounding community make an effort to work together. My hosting teacher, Mrs. Hadwen, said that despite how new she is to the community she has noticed how active it is. Representatives from the surrounding community will often come into the school to speak at assemblies and discuss things that are coming up in the community like the Duck Derby and the Scare Crow Festival. In return, the school volunteers in the community in many different ways, one of which is cleaning up litter in the park.
When I arrived at the school it was just before lunch hour. In the school they have a main area that they call learning street, this is where every part of the school connects and consists of the library, office, gymnasium, canteen, and different hallways that lead to the classrooms. When I walked in the front door, there were staff members setting up a table to make your own poutine. The school was doing this to celebrate the French community in their school. I thought it was fantastic and all the kids really loved making their own poutine.
Over the lunch hour, I spilled something on my shirt and went to the washroom to clean myself up (both staff and students share washrooms at the school). When I went into the washroom, a Grade Eight girl was crying in one of the stalls. I asked her if she was okay, and she opened the door of the stall to see who I was. She said she and her boyfriend had just broken up and I told her that I was sorry for her. I then told her the story of how I broke up with one of my past boyfriend’s and how difficult it was for me. I explained that I became very depressed, but after working on myself and realizing my worth, I was able to overcome it. I then told her how I became a stronger and better person for that experience, and even though it hurt, I do not regret feeling that pain. After I shared my story with her, she told me that she appreciated that I did not treat her like she was a child. She said that usually, adults diminish her feelings because she is so young, and it makes it harder for her. I then told her that it is not fair for adults to treat her that way and said that just because you are young does not mean that your feelings are not real and that they do not matter as much as an adult’s feelings. After our talk, she said that she felt a lot better and she asked me a lot of questions about who I was and what I liked. In return, she told me about her experiences in moving to Saskatchewan and other details about her life. After my discussion with this girl, I understand the importance of developing relationships with students much better.
Mrs. Hadwen builds a very strong sense of community in her classroom by the way she addresses the students and the activities or lessons she plans for the class. She addresses the students by calling them her friends. In September and October, she focuses a lot of her time on building relationships between her and the students and she does so by doing ice breaker activities and having talking circles. A few times a week the class also sits in a gratitude circle. In the gratitude circle Mrs. Hadwen discusses the relationship to the medicine wheel and hands each person a coloured popsicle stick. The popsicle sticks vary in colour (red is a place, purple is anything etc.) then they go around in the circle and and each person says what they are thankful for based on the colour of their popsicle stick.