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Showing posts from October, 2014

I'm Not a Perfect Teacher and I Make A Lot of Mistakes

I love teaching. I love everything about it. I love the challenge of engaging youth in the learning process, working with students who have behavioural and/or learning challenges, and just having the opportunity to build relationships and community with the youth I serve every single day. 
As a former student who struggled in the classroom, I carry a perspective about what it's like to struggle and resist teachers. This perspective motivates me to make sure that each lesson I teach is well crafted and that I try my best each day to be "on" and engaged with my students. However, this is not always the case. 
I have many days each school year where I have failed to engage my students in my lesson. I have days where I am way more irritable and unable to have the patience and understanding to work with students who are difficult or challenging. I work with high-risk youth who have had horrible experiences in the traditional school system and often spend their first few month…

Teaching Residential Schools

I've just spent the last eight classes working with a group of four young men in my grade ten social studies course learning about residential schools in Canada. I have to admit, residential schools is the hardest topic that I teach. It always brings out a variety of emotions from students and myself. Everything from anger to sadness to feeling the urgency to act is displayed in my classroom when we learn about residential schools.

For those outside of Canada, and even those within Canada for that matter, Residential schools were a genocidal policy committed by the federal Canadian government in order to "kill the Indian in the child". The government's goal was to assimilate Indigenous children into the white mainstream society by forcibly removing children from their families to attend church run residential schools. Students at residential schools were not allowed to speak their traditional languages or practice their cultural traditions. If a student attempted eit…