Truth And Reconciliation Paper

Truth And Reconciliation Paper

My Path to Reconciliation has had a significant impact on my understanding of my place in the world. As I’ve learned more about decolonizing and indigenizing education, I’ve been more aware of my privilege and how it can affect my future teaching connections with kids. One of the most important realizations I’ve had is that everyone, including myself as a future teacher, has a responsibility to work for reconciliation. I also recognize that my path with reconciliation is only beginning and that there is much more to learn and experience. My Path to Reconciliation has given me new perspectives on teachers and teaching, learners and learning, and my own personal ecological relationship to the world, and decolonizing education.

Throughout this course, I’ve learned that teaching is a vocation in which professionalism is crucial. Teachers must uphold the Saskatchewan Teacher Federation Code of Professional Ethics, which includes obligations to the profession, teaching, learning, and community (2017). Before this class, I thought professionalism meant hiding your humanity and keeping your personal life apart from your professional life. This course has taught me that professionalism does not have to be unapproachable in the eyes of your students. Respect for yourself, your coworkers, your students, and your community is what professionalism is. I arrived at this conclusion after studying the necessity of handing over control of learning to your students by sharing personal information with them. Before taking this course, I thought a teacher’s job was to deliver course content in a professional manner while keeping their personal lives apart from their teaching. I’ve learned that sharing yourself with your students is an important part of being a teacher because it allows them to see you as someone they can trust, love, and support. Teachers that take the effort to create and sustain relationships with their students are the best.

As a teacher, it is your responsibility to learn about your students’ experiences and to provide help based on that knowledge. My obligation to my Indigenous students as white settler is to learn about their culture and ways of knowing so that I can help them. It is my role to assist Indigenous students in closing the privilege gap that exists between them and non-Indigenous learners. It is my responsibility as a teacher to educate people about the effects of residential schools and European colonial on Indigenous people. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to be a leader in the pursuit of education by assisting Indigenous children and educating non-Indigenous students.

I’ve learned the value of invitation and hospitality in education throughout my journey. Making your learners feel welcome and comfortable in their learning environment is a key element of maintaining their motivation and engagement. In education, invitation and hospitality extend beyond the physical environment; an important part of this is recognizing and accommodating different ways of knowing in the classroom. In education, there are two basic worldviews at work: colonial and decolonial (Pirbhai-Illich & Martin, 2019). Because the worldview produces a power dynamic, colonial worldviews in education are restrictive and do not benefit people working toward reconciliation. “The issue with the object-based, colonial heritage is that it attempts to dominate and use power to ensure that its way of thinking and being is the only acceptable way of thinking and being.” (2019). Learning about colonial and decolonial traditions has taught me that integrating colonial and decolonial customs into schooling is the best approach to strengthen Indigenous and non-Indigenous interactions. By including both perspectives in the classroom, all students will be represented, and diversity will be valued rather than criticized. 

When it comes to working toward reconciliation, I’ve discovered that there are three steps to it. Knowing the truth about the suffering caused by residential schools and colonization is the first step; learning how to work toward reconciliation is the second step, and living truth and reconciliation is the third step. It was painful for me to learn the reality at the first stage. We were educated about residential schools throughout my education, but we were not told about their violence. We were taught that it was incorrect, but not why it was incorrect. This quote had a significant impact on how I viewed residential schools. In residential schools, I learned that there was not only physical abuse, but also sexual, emotional, and psychological harassment. As a future educator and Canadian citizen, learning about the cruelty of residential schools and then the seriousness of their legacy inspired a desire in me to take action to strive toward reconciliation. 

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation’s discussion guide “Truth and Reconciliation: What is it About?” includes a list of ways that people might act toward reconciliation. I made my own list of suggestions for how I can work toward reconciliation based on this list. My goals include: continuing to learn about the negative effects of residential schools and colonies, acknowledging the truth about the past, learning about Indigenous cultures, teaching my peers, and community about reconciliation, helping to decolonize education and participating in orange shirt day. To strive toward reconciliation, I plan to do all of these things and more. 

Reconciliation begins with me. I am becoming comfortable with my own insecurities and know that each step forward is part of my learning journey. Because I was never taught in a way that elicited an emotional connection, I felt separate from our history. Yet, I now understand the critical role that teachers play in the healing and rebuilding of relationships between us and the indigenous.  I will literally never forget “Garnet’s Journey”(2012), he is the only survivor I have ever heard speak. The opportunity to hear the words of a man who was taken from home at the age of 7, resonated with me, and through the hurt came the desire to want to be a leader for my future learners. My fire is lit, I will create a safe environment where my students will celebrate their identity, where all kids will learn about our past and be part of the change. I am grateful to have reflected, researched, read the calls to action, which helped me see there is hope in healing. A journey starts with a single step. Today, I am one step closer to becoming part of the solution.