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Showing posts from April, 2014

My Journey as a Teacher and the Future of Education

I was never a good student. I didn't get along with many of my teachers and didn't take the majority of my education that seriously until I was in my early to mid-twenties when I decided to become a teacher. My experience as a youth who struggled academically is what motivated me to become a teacher and hopefully add to and push the profession into a place that would be more accommodating and inclusive of students needs.

It is the memory of resisting teachers and struggling in school that informs my perspective of how and why I teach. I come from a school of thought that believes that the purpose of public education is for social and political action. It's the idea that we should equip students with the tools to participate in democratic life and be active citizens within their worlds.

This is the reason I teach. It's what motivates me to work with youth to hopefully empower them to create a more democratic and just world for themselves.

As I began my career in teachin…

An Open Letter to Jeff Johnson/Gordon Dirks

Dear Jeff Johnson Gordon Dirks,

I am writing this letter in hopes that you will strongly consider the issues that I describe below about Alberta Education. I am a teacher who works with some of our provinces most vulnerable students. The youth I serve have been neglected and abandoned by the society they live in. Poverty, addiction, and violence are a regular part of many of my students lives, which as you can imagine, can interfere with their ability to succeed at school. Despite this, my students are remarkable survivors and extremely intelligent students who could greatly benefit from a more caring educational system. It is this experience that impacts how I view education and what we need to do to make "Inspiring Education" work for all students.

I appreciate many ideas presented so far in the "Inspiring Education" plan. Opportunities for more student inquiry and a less prescriptive curriculum will give students a much richer learning experience and give teache…

The Silence is Deafening

Over the past month, I have become involved in researching, understanding, and advocating against ANY corporate involvement in Alberta Education's curriculum redesign. I'm not going to re-hash those arguments but you can read about them here, here, & sign up to join me here.

As I've become more involved in talking to teachers throughout the province on this issue I understand that there are a wide variety of opinions within the teaching community. Some teachers have told me that they fully embrace corporate input, others see them as a stakeholder to be consulted, and many teachers have questions, concerns or are completely against corporate involvement in the curriculum redesign.

The truly frightening part of these discussions is that many teachers who question corporate involvement in the redesign fear that if they publicly voice their opinion, there is a high chance that they could face repercussions from their employer. They feel that the risk is too great to public…

Let's Talk About Alberta Education and Corporate Influence

Are you a teacher, parent, student, or a community member who is concerned about the corporate influence over Alberta Educations curriculum redesign? If you are, myself and a number of other teachers/community members are looking to organize meetings (on-line or in person) to provide a space for Albertans to discuss the issue of corporate influence within the curriculum redesign.

If you're not familiar with this issue, here are a few articles to get you up to speed:

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Critics+raise+concerns+over+industry+involvement+Alberta+curriculum+redesign/9606253/story.html

http://www.vueweekly.com/abcs-of-the-oil-sands/

If you would like to be a part of these discussions please take a few moments to fill out the form below to sign up for a meeting (in person or on-line). Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this important issue. I look forward to (hopefully) hearing back from a lot of great people across the province!

Sign-Up Form: https://docs.google…

Pop Punk to Punk Rock & DIY Teaching

I love music! But not any kind of music. I'm not really into Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd and unlike my contemporaries, I'm not jamming to Arcade Fire or any other band "who I haven't heard of" either. No, unlike the aforementioned bands, I like a band and style of music that doesn't get me much "cred" in any music scene. I am, and have always been, a fan of pop punk and punk rock music.

The first record I ever picked up was Green Day's "Dookie" and it stuck with me for the next 20 years. I loved everything about it. The snotty vocals, the 3 power chord structure to songs, and the lyrics of teenage alienation and frustration. Green Day was just the first of many bands who formulated a large part of my identity when I was a kid.



Now, before all you musical purists role your eyes to the back of your skull, just take a minute and hear me out. I like a band who are simple and straight forward. I don't like listening to the greatest guita…