Category Archives: ECS 311

Rules for teaching in a small town, farming community

I grew up in a small town, and the rules in a small town are so much different from when you teach in the city. The most important rule to know is that EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE. Other rules to think about are:

  1. Students have unbelievable patience, and stubbornness.
    This comes from being from a farming community. You develop the ability to wait, you wait for the storm to pass, for the crop to grow, for calving to finish, and with a lot of waiting, you develop patience. Stubbornness is developed from the determination that once waiting will finish, the job will get done. Both of these are strong in a classroom, which can make it easy and difficult to deal with students in different circumstances.
  2. The community  will support each other.
    No matter what is going on, when it seems like the world is against you, you will have community support. People care, this is extremely apparent in a small town. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child”, is demonstrated perfectly in a small town. People come together, whether it is a fundraiser, a death in the family, a sudden illness, the community is always there for you. When you have trouble with that one parent who just does not care to help their child succeed, or that one family who never sends there child with enough food, it becomes apparent how much the community cares. It is not uncommon to have parents stand up for what you are teaching, to stand up for how you are teaching and it is very common for all parents in the community to stand up for the children in the community. Since everyone knows everything about everyone else, you never need to state when something is wrong, people already know, and they want to help.

3.      You will teach siblings.

A younger sibling does not like being compared to their older sibling. More importantly, just because the older sibling was one way does not mean the younger siblings are anything like them. Keep this in mind, having certain expectations of a student before knowing them can result in having unreasonable expectations of them. Try to avoid calling one by the other’s name this just upsets the student, and by connection their friends, which means suddenly half the class is mad at you, all because you cannot remember which sibling goes by which name.


4.      Farming comes first.

If a family needs to finish seeding, or needs to finish harvest, it does not matter that you are teaching grade 6-8 students, they will likely miss class, because that extra person makes a huge difference when it is crunch time. Prepare for this, also there is no point in scheduling any class meetings, assigning major-parents need to help with homework during this time, because this will upset the parents .When you upset parents you suddenly have every person in the community mad at you about something.


5.      Sports come first; sports will always come first, unless farming is an option.

Do not bother putting an important assignment, presentation, or test on the day of a major sporting event at the school, even if your students are not playing, there will be a pep rally, you will be expected to attend, you will also be expected to come and cheer your school team on. Younger grades are often responsible for creating the posters, signs and anything else the teachers see fit, plan for this.


6. Fishing and hunting comes before school.

Fishing and hunting comes before school.The truth is everything comes before school in a small town. The skills you learn while fishing and hunting are viewed as more important than the skills learned in school. This is not always true for every person in a small town, but usually the students are able to take their real life skills, apply them to school and in turn they are very successful in school.

7.      Do not complain about a student to anyone else ever.

I cannot stress this enough, everyone knows everything about everyone else. When you say one thing to someone, it will be twisted, manipulated and spread all over town within a week. DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT STUDENTS.

8.      Your students will date each other.

It is a small town, which means there are only so males, and so many females. Especially in middle years when the students cannot drive to other towns, they have a theory that it is a good idea to date their classmates. Not once did I ever witness a relationship in my school end happily, and worse the teachers made the situation so much more awkward. It is not the teacher’s responsibility to know every detail about their students’ personal lives, but let us be realistic, as a teacher you know when your students are dating, this would be because you live in a small town and everyone knows everything about everyone else. Dating in a small town is horrible, but breaking up in a small town is so much worse. When you know your students are dating, do not put them in a group together, they will fight, they will break up, it will all be your fault, and the whole class will take sides. Also do not partner one half of the couple with someone the other one hates, this will cause a fight, they will break up, it will be your fault, the whole class will take sides, also you will spend more time being a counselor, mediator, and referee than actually having the students finish their assignments. This is the same if your students have broken up, do not put them together, there will be fights and crying, you do not want to deal with this. I also recommended avoiding putting exes with each other’s best friends. This will cause one of two things to happen; they will fight, not do the work and you will spend the majority of class dealing with the drama, or option two, somehow feelings will develop between the best friend and the ex, and fighting, and crying and anger will happen. The best way to avoid this is to encourage your students TO NOT DATE.

9.      The girl drama is 100x’s worse.

The constant saying that is used in the city “just make friends with some of the other girls” does not work, there are often no other girls to make friends with. In a small town there is a limited number of people, your friends are based on age, not on common interests. In middle school, and high school it seems as if the most important thing to have friends, and with everything that is, going on in a teen’s life it is important.

10.  Treaty education has a different meaning.

Imagine explaining to a bunch of people who depend heavily on the land for income that the land, according to treaties, does not belong to them. This is a terrifying thought to students whose family has farmed, and depended on farming their whole lives. When you talk about treaty education, and how identity was impacted, it is on a whole other level when you tell a group of students that one of the biggest pieces of their identity happened because their ancestors bought land that they were not supposed to be able to buy. Some students feel guilt, but most of them feel angry, because they were not at fault, because it seems as if people might try to take their farm land away. While that is not what treaty education is about, it is what the community hears, this is even truer when either you have no fnmi students in the community, or you have fnmi students whose families fit the stereotype. They will get it eventually; you cannot force it down their throats. They are not bad students; they are just learning a different view on a group of people different then their previous knowledge.

11.  You will experience a different understanding of environment education.

Students depend on the environment for so many things. They respect it in a way where they do not litter (usually), or do deliberate damage to it. However, it is understood from a young age that diesel, gas, oil, and pollution is all necessary for farming to happen. Tractors have to idle for a while when it is cold, chemicals are going to be used on most farms; this improves the amount of crop that is grown. Students already understand this, trying to tell them that farming is bad, or pollution or those they need to find better ways to do it will result in a lot of frustration, and suddenly you will be the enemy of the town. Farming is important, we need the food that is farmed, and how can we judge people for accomplishing something that not everyone is capable of doing. Rather than teaching students, what they and their families do is harmful to the environment, focus on what they do that is positive because you can guarantee that all of them understand composting, and gardening.

12.  Sex education is so easy to teach.

Students often have livestock, which means that they have likely been part of the breeding, birthing and caring process. Very few things gross them out, and the words vagina, penis, ovaries, and testicles, have little impact on the students. They know what they are, at least on an animal. The connection between an animal and a human is quickly made.

13.  Your students will tell you stories that make you cringe, get used to it.

The students have delivered and butchered animals, but those are not the stories that will make you cringe. The stories of having students wreck a truck (when they are 13), fall off their dirt bikes, get in fights, cut themselves on barbwire, get stuck in a field where they do not have cell service (yes, this happens) and had to walk back to the farm which was over a mile away. People in small towns have the stories that they view as epic, but you as someone who cares about them, view as a nightmare.

14.  Do not voice a strong opinion about any controversial issue; this includes religion, politics and anything that could have multiple opinions.

You will upset a student, and that student will tell their parent. This will cause their parent to be upset, which means any friend or relative of that parent to be upset with you. Suddenly you have the town split in two, fighting with each other. There is no winning when you voice your opinion on any controversial topic, so leave it out of the classroom.

15.  Students will be EVERYWHERE. This includes the bar, the backyard, the camping grounds, literally anywhere you can be, a student will be there.

It is up to you to make a decision about if you want to drink in public, but be aware of who is around. There is also a huge difference in have a drink or two, and getting stupid drunk in front of your students, or your students’ parents. Be prepared for this.

Teaching in a small town can be challenging, but it is exactly where I want to be. The busyness of the city represents chaos and frustration for me, but a small town is tranquil and allows for growth. There is an understanding that people can screw up, and it is O.K., but more importantly, there is an understanding that you have the community to back you up when you need it. And remember, EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE.


Why does being professional matter?

Professionalism is something I have always struggled with. My first year at university it did not matter to me, in my second year I joined ESS which is the first time I had to focus on my professionalism. I find that I am good at being professional around faculty the majority of the time but around students I have trouble upholding that same level of professionalism.

What is the limit of professionalism that is needed around students? If we act too professional than I feel unrelateable or like I am trying too hard. I understand boundaries and limits but at what point do those limits decrease teacher-student relationships? Professionalism is always talked about in our classes, but no one actually states how one acts professional. There is a difference in how you talk with people depending on their authority, presence and reputation. I have a great deal of practice of working with adults in a professional manner; however, professionalism with youth is a whole other dynamic.

Teaching is a profession, but it has a different set of expectations than other professions. In no other profession will you have a plan to colour, or will you have to have a discussion about why it is inappropriate to spread animal feces on a door. Most other professions do not deal with youth, because  that eliminates part of the professionalism, but teaching is still a profession. Maintaining professionalism while discussing many of the random thoughts and questions that students seem to come up with is a challenge; yet we strive to maintain it. Does that mean students shouldn’t see our emotions, or be able to laugh with us?

On Thursday, my last day of pre-internship, I got very upsetting news, and with complete disregard for my professionalism, I left the room quickly and broke down in the hallway. Three students walked past me because they were too scared to ask what was wrong. For them seeing a teacher upset is foreign because teachers are supposed to always be composed. Eventually I went to the staff room to calm down, and the whole time I felt guilty because I was being unprofessional. How is it that I was going through a weak moment, and my concern is my professionalism, it isn’t something you can just turn off.

Professional is something that I focus so hard on that I feel like I don’t know how to relax. When I am in mine or my boyfriends’s hometown there always seems to be teachers, administration, respected members of the community  so I do not feel like I can truly relax, in the city I am always worried about running into someone from the university that will recognize me. I never used to worry about this, until some underage first year recognized me while I was at the bar with friends. Which put me in the position of getting her out of their before something stupid happened or leaving her be. I chose the later, because she was able to make her own decisions and the bar was responsible for her not me. I felt great about this decision until a few days later when I find out that she happens to be the daughter of a professor at the university, and when he asked to meet with me, I got the honour of finding out that she said “I encouraged her, and since she knew who I was placed the blame on me.” I met the girl twice, both very briefly during ESS events, yet some how her poor decisions made me look like I was more concerned with partying than acting professional and responsible towards other students. I never felt like it was my responsibility, but the professor who was very respected in his chosen field, made it clear I lacked professionalism and should not be in any sort of position where I act as the voice of the education students. I was not asked if I was drinking, or why I was their, it was not discussed that the student was old enough to attend university and should be old enough to make proper decisions. Does being professional eliminate the ability to relax or have a drink in public? Doctors can drink in public, engineers build a reputation on being able to drink, yet teachers are held to a different standard because they work with youth, what about not even drinking and just being at an establishment where alcohol is served. With social media every move we make is watched, even if we do not post on social media it is impossible to stop others from posting a photo.

Is professionalism a thing, or do we just try too hard to be perfect so that society will think highly of us?

Science Fairs, are they worth it?

Science fairs, they are an event where students get to show off their new knowledge, experiments and studies to their fellow classmates, teachers, parents and community. After weeks of stress, planning and frustrations the 5-8 students at my school were able to, on Friday, present their science fair projects. Here is what I have learned, for 90% of the projects do not, in anyway meet the curriculum, yet teachers are always so stressed because they do not have enough time in the school year to teach the curriculum. This made me start to question, if science fairs are really worth the stress, work and time commitment.

I only participated in two science fairs while in school, one in grade 8 and one in grade 9. This was after months of  learning process, terminology, research, data collection, and proper scientific paper writing. At the time I found it very beneficial, and it helped me greatly while taking university science classes. However, I did not see these same skills being used by my students. I seen students throwing together last minute projects, that they borrowed from the internet, students that had no idea how to write a proper, or even a slightly proper paper that demonstrates knowledge of the scientific process and reasoning behind why we use the scientific process to draw conclusions,  and why those conclusions do not have to be right.

Science fairs, if done right could be an extremely educational and beneficial experience for students; however, I do not believe that schools should have science fairs, just for the sake of having a science fair.

In my opinion, if a school wants to do a science fair than the teacher that decides to have their students participate needs to be willing to take on the extra work, not just to expect students to be able to make the connections themselves. Science fair is a big project, and like any big project the teacher needs to take an active role in the project. This means having times to check in with students, to have deadlines for specific sections, and having students fully understand why the different sections of the scientific process are valuable and need to be carried out throughout the whole  project. Students are smart, and can learn any information that they chose to learn; but they cannot learn, if they are not taught. If a student fails at the graphic organizer, than they are guaranteed to fail at the whole  project; that is how inquiry works. It is different parts of the assignment, being used to create one final, strong project that shows the learning and knowledge developed throughout the project to other students.

Some students really benefited from experiencing science fair, but I think that more students felt stressed about what they were doing, rather than learning from what they were doing. When the goal of a science fair is to just get it done, is learning really happening? The grade 5s and 6s, did not benefit from experiencing the fair; many of them did not understand the reasons behind doing the fair, and many of them relied primarily on their parents to assist them because they did not understand how to conduct an experiment, or collect data, or present the data. Having young students participate in a science fair requires the teacher to be prepared to assist in major ways, this is even more so for students who are younger.

For the science fair, guest judges were brought in as well as staff from different areas of the school, many of the judges were from the community and did not have any teaching/ grading experience which resulted in marks being most students failing, or doing way below their personal average. This caused frustrations for the teacher, as well as for the students. The work completed by the students did not show evidence of their learning, but rather highlighted any flaws or missing information that the students should have included/ not included. After spending a lot of my own time helping the students, I found it frustrating to see the students work be pulled apart so much.

If I was to do a science fair in the future, there would be some major differences; students would know at the start of the year that we would be doing one, as we learn different skills they would start applying this to their science project. It would not be a three week project, but a project that took place at random times throughout the year, with pre-determined deadlines for different components of the project, but it would not be rushed. The topics that they chose may not have to do with the curriculum, but the processes that they use, or background information would relate to the curriculum. Students will also get a cross-curricular component of english with paper writing, and researching skills. If science fair is taught correctly, than it can be beneficial for higher middle years students, but if the students are able to see the real world applications and uses for what they are learning about than it may expand their thought process. One thing that I would ensure is having students come up with an idea before looking on line, so that their idea is authentic and not a reproduction.

Why is failure such a bad thing?

My class, along with the 6/7, and 5/6 class are all diligently working on their science fair projects. As a student I loved science far, it meant that I got to spend a lot of time working on the science fair projects because the teachers always gave us other classes to work on science. As a teacher, it is so frustrating; to have science fair taking up all of my students time. The point of a science project is to use inquiry to allow students to experiment with their ideas, but all I am seeing is a bunch of stressed out students that do not care about the process they are learning, they just want to finish; but they don’t want to do too good because than they might have to actually move on, which would be just horrible because the teacher might actually notice they are smart. Science fairs have become more about being able to take an already successful experiment off the internet, and doing it yourself, and than write about as if you thought there was a chance that it would not have worked. Students do not understand that science has way more failures than a successes.

If every time some on tried something, they were successful than nothing new would ever be exciting. Scientists rarely succeed, and they consider it as a learning process, so why do schools consider it anything else. One of my students is freaking out because their hypothesis is failing miserably, and I keep trying to get them to focus on what makes it fail, why doesn’t it work, what could be done differently. The student does not see this as a learning experience but a failure and would rather give up than to think about the project differently.

Failing has become a scary word, because it means that you are not able to accomplish something; no one, including me ever likes to fail. However, students need to allow themselves to be willing to fail. They will fail at hundreds of things in their lives, yet no one talks about the fact that it is O.K. to fail, they talk about how to succeed. Celebrating failures should be talked about as much as celebrating successes. We cannot change the fact that failure happens, yet as humans we do everything possible to ensure success, rather than plan for the possibility of failure, we focus on the fact that the only acceptable outcome is success. IT IS OK TO FAIL! It is OK to fail so miserably that you have no idea how to fix it because some things cannot be fixed.

Science is about failure, celebrate the failures because while failing you figured out what does not work, and gives options of other ways to look at something. Coca-cola was a major failure when John Pemberton attempted to make a medication, failed and voila, we now have a delicious and world known drink! We never teach students about the things that scientists fail on, we only focus on what does work.Science fairs should have students feeling comfortable talking about what they did, what worked and what didn’t work. If they are able to do a project without any failures than that is evidence of taking an already successful experiment and doing it, this is not an example of what science fairs should be focused on.


My uh-oh moment of the day(s)?!

Today I was super pumped about my lesson plan. My unit is focused around the loss of identity in residential schools, and my lesson today was the loss of language. I came up with this fun activity where I would  speak and write in random sounds and symbols, if the students spoke English I would be mad and raise my voice and send the students to the hallway. The activity went super well, we they started looking at the survivors speak stories from the TRC. One of the stories mentioned that they were not allowed to attend a sun-dance. So I asked the obvious question, what is a sun-dance; trying to be inclusive to all students I  asked on of the girls sitting at the front who is aboriginal. I know she attended them before, so was hoping she would share. At this point, I was partially trying to get her included in the class, and knew that she would have the correct answer; I did not even for a second consider that I completely put her on the spot, to tell the entire class about something that was literally the center of a survivors punishment. Not once did it even cross my mind that I should have went about the question totally different, such as “has anyone attended a sun-dance, would you mind explaining what they are”. Nope I just  assumed she would want to talk about it. Well she did not, so I asked the whole class who knew anything about a sun-dance. Apparently they knew things that I did not, such as in come cultures sun-dances are used for self-torture…What?!! Yep, this is actually true. How do I know, because once I got the class settled back down, I was like, let’s look it up. THE FIRST THING THAT  SHOWED UP WAS A PERSON (NOT ABORIGINAL), PUTTING A WOODEN STAKE THROUGH HIS SHOULDER BLADE, AS OTHERS MADE A CIRCLE AROUND HIM!!! In no universe, ever did I even consider that something like that would ever pop up. Like ever. I was completely shocked, so I just closed the page, and continued talking about Indigenous sun-dances, like it never happened…real great move on my part. This was my first big uh-oh moment of the day, and I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I was writing my reflection on it. Always check the source before using it in front of a class!

Middle years students are like infants. New mothers always stress the importance of never taking their eyes off a newborn because something can happen, like they start choking on spit, or their neck is not supported. Middle year students are not the same, but instead of choking on their own spit, it is them throwing things across the room, or trying to talk for the two seconds your back is turned away. The worst part is, once you let them get away with something small, they think that they will be able to get away with everything. And you cannot just tell them to stop messing around, because they take that as a challenge.

I have gotten two big keys to being a successful teacher, the first is presence. If you have a strong presence than the class will instantly respond to it, I am definitely going to need to work on this a lot in my first few years of teaching. The second is circulation, All. THE. TIME. If you are not helping someone, than you are walking around checking the students work and ensuring they are on task. Middle year students get off task easy, because they seem to forget the Glee has absolutely nothing to do with social studies, real shocker there.

I remember my old grade eight teacher leaving the room all the time, often for long periods of time. Being a teacher now, this completely shocks me, even with three teachers in the room it seems as if the class is all over the place. No teachers in the class, would result in no work done.

I am not saying that I have a bad class, actually the students that I teach are really good students, they are nice to each other, are fairly respectful, but they are still middle year students, which means they are sarcastic, talk back, and love to argue with everyone. I have said the phrase “you have not done anything in the past ten minutes”, at least thirty times in the past two days, and every time I say it the student looks equally shocked as if  they thought I wouldn’t notice that they have only written the title down.

Middle year students have such a great energy, and they make you feel as if it is O.K. to mess up, but yet have no problem joking around with you. Middle year students are still fun, but they have a personality.

The beginning of Pre-Internship

The first few days of pre-internship was mixed emotions. I was happy to be back, to get to see my students again, but it was also weird being back to the school after so long. I was extremely stressed out during the first few days because my original plan ended up not being able to happen since the resources were unavailable. This resulted in me throwing together a lesson quickly and hoping it went really well. The first lesson had a lot of bumps, using the TRC survivors speak document while it was still online proved to be such a waste of time and extremely unbeneficial to the students.I have found that while I may make a good teacher one day, I highly doubt I will ever teach in a catholic school system. I find that my school is very cliquey with the teachers, but more importantly I find that a lot of judgement occurs in catholic schools. Which is unfortunate considering that whole catholic faith is based around love, respect, trust, and that only God can judge a person. I know that it is hard not judge people, but I think as teacher it is important to not play favorites, as well to understand people make mistakes, especially at a young age. This is hard, but it needs to be done. Every person has biases, but being able to recognize our own biases can allow us to make decisions that will prevent us from carrying our biases out. Knowing our biases, and admitting we have them is a valuable part of teaching.

The joys of Art…in Math?!

I have always believed that cross-curricular teaching is important in middle years; many subjects can link together such as  science and health, social studies and english, physical education and health, the list of combinations can go on continuously. However, I have never considered math and art to be linked, even the brain has them separated. Logical thinking is left sided and creativity is right sided; so without even realizing it I have always left the two subjects unconnected. That is until I decided to attend a guest instructor’s presentation about the connection of the two. Susan Gerofsky, who was visiting from the University of British Columbia specializes in the connection of art in mathematics.Two of the people that Susan focused on were George Hart and his daughter Vi Hart who both have a major focus on using art in mathematics.

The presentation was focused around learning how to create three-dimensional shapes using two-dimensional drawings. Susan started with referencing the learning we received in our youth regarding the creation of cubes. Even this sparked a discussion about the difference we received in learning how to make a cube and which way was correct or easier. The first way was to draw two different squares, with one being slightly behind the other, than you connect the squares with lines. The second creation is based on drawing one square, than using the corner of the square to draw a second square and connecting the two squares with lines. The outcome, regardless of which strategy is used, is a regular cube. The different perceptions of a cube can result in seeing something besides the cube. An example of this is if you look directly at the corner of a cube you will see a regular hexagon. Perception is a major theme in art, especially visual art; however it is rarely thought about in math, does the way you look at something make a difference in math, not usually but the way you look at something in art can change the entire image.

The next thing that we looked at was creating an icosahedron, which is a twenty-sided figure. The creation of this is based off of the pentagon. The first step is to draw a regular two-dimensional pentagon. In the center of the pentagon, draw a dot. Form a solid line from the center of each vertex (corner) on the pentagon to the dot in the center of the pentagon. The next step is the find the center of each edge of the pentagon, approximately a pinky width from the outer edge of the pentagon draw a dot at this point. Connect each vertex on the pentagon to the newly created dots. Connect two adjacent vertices on the new edges with a dotted line, along the inside of the pentagon. The new vertices also need to be connected to the center point with dotted lines. This is now a three dimensional icosahedron, drawn with  two-dimensional figures.

The activity listed above was created by George Hart, who has than taken this figure from an image drawn on a piece of paper and turned it into a physical three-dimensional sculpture. I did not have the pleasure of creating this sculpture because of other commitments, but the basics of the sculpture is that it is a icosahedron made out of CDs.

This activity made me what to know how else art can be incorporated in mathematics. Both George Hart, and Vi Hart use cooking to incorporate math, this can be especially helpful when the students ask the question “when am I ever going to use this?”. Every student will have to cook at some point, if they can see the connection between math and a life skill they may become more engaged and involved with their learning. George Hart has hundreds of activities that are based around using art and creativity in mathematics.Using math in art is a great way to bring those that are creative into an integrative method of applying math to applicable skills.



The stresses of Pre-internship

I have no idea why I am so worried about my three week block; I know my students, I get along with my co-operating teacher, my teaching partner is great and I really like my school. Yet I have this impending feeling of doom, kinda like the moment when you get to the top of a roller coaster, only to know you are going to go plunging down. I am teaching an English unit based about the loss of identity and residential schools. This unit has all the aspects that, according to what I have learned in university,  good unit should have. It encompasses treaty education, being focused around outcome SI8, uses inquiry for students to dig further into the topic, but also includes some guided teaching that allows for the teacher to cover the main ideas without forcing it on the students. I am using journal entries to have the students make connections between their schooling experience, and the experiences that the character endured. Everything that should be in a unit is there, however I am completely convinced that it will be an epic fail.

I know that pre-internship is the time to fail, but that doesn`t mean I want to fail so bad at a unit that should be good. My concerns are all over the place, what if my books don`t come in on time, or worse what if my co-operating teacher cannot get me my books and I won`t have time to change it. What if the students have already read the book, I checked with my co-op, but that doesn`t mean they haven`t read it in another class. What if students get offend by what I am teaching, residential schools are part of the curriculum, but it feels risky to teach to students in a catholic school. There are so many unknown factors, as well as the wild card factors such as students not showing up, sudden assemblies, when students do not contribute to the discussion and when the overall lesson just isn`t working. How can I manage to teach a unit in such a short time period, as well as being prepared for the unplanned? I feel that at different parts I am being set up for failure, yet I know that this is not the case.

Part of me feels that people, including me, put way too much pressure on pre-internship but at the same time the thought of failing is more stressful than the actual idea of teaching is. When you screw up during a lesson, you can always apologize to the students and re-teach the idea but if I fail the pre-internship than I have to retake it, which puts me a year behind and more money in debt. Teaching does not scare me, bombing a lesson scares me a little, but the idea of actually failing is absolutely terrifying. I know it is not common for people to fail pre-internship, but it happens and usually it happens to people for things beyond their control. Can you fail at pre-internship and still be a good teacher, is it a sign that maybe the career isn’t for you?

I want pre-internship to be easy but at the same time I want it to challenge me so I can learn from my experience. I have so many mixed feelings about pre-internship and I am not sure if the positive outweighs the negative at this point.

Can stress be managed? Is relaxation a thing of the past?

I am currently on reading week, which was originally put in place to allow students time to take a mental health break and focus on studying before midterms start without the additional hassle of classes, assignments and other university related activities. But relaxation was always an important aspect of reading week. Anyone that is in university know that this is so far from true. Half of the people want to go somewhere warm, while the other half are completely aware that they will not be getting much of a break. Those that go somewhere warm spend weeks before stressing out trying to finish assignments in advance or come back stressed because they have to throw together assignments in a few days. Those that do not go away are just equally stressed the whole time, which may be better than having extreme highs and occasional lows. I never know which is worse, being stressed all the time, or having a few days of relaxation only to be super stressed for weeks after trying to catch up.

I spent Saturday celebrating Valentine’s day with my boyfriend and some friends. My boyfriend made me promise that I would take the day to relax and not focus on anything; he thought that he was doing me a favour, but I knew that I would be waking up early the next morning to catch up on my schedule. During my past four years at university I have heard about many techniques that help with stress:.

  1. Venting to friends–this results in me thinking that I am annoying them, so i only do this with certain friends.
  2. Journaling–at first this was great, but than I began to find journaling to be additional stress because I had to make time for it so I only do it when I absolutely need to
  3. Time management–Scheduling my entire life, this allows me to get everything done and occasionally I find time to put away homework and think about something else.
  4. Prioritizing– this is a joke because everything seems equally important and everything is way more important than my own personal needs.
  5. crying– at least once a week I allow myself a mental break where I just cry, this allows to clear away everything that is upsetting or stressing me out and start fresh
  6. exercise– great at the moment, but usually results in me being stressed because I gave up time doing assignments
  7. eating– stress eating is the worst thing ever, not only have I gained weight from it but I start to stress because of my weight gain, and the fact that clothes don’t fit right and I have no money to buy myself anything
  8. getting away from the city– this used to work great, than I got a WiFi Hot Spot, now I can do my homework anywhere, and people can reach me at any time of the day.
  9. breathing– I heard once that breathing deep for five minutes whenever stressed makes the stress go away, this person has clearly never went to university. Deep breathing only allowed for me to recall the two assignments that I completely forgot about the day before they were due… I would rather have just not remembered than and got bad marks than miss out on a day of sleep
  10.  Going out with friends– nope not even close to helping, cause you know that this means you are just going to be thinking of the assignment the whole time, unless you drink; which usually means you are wasting two days and even more  stressed afterwards.

There are a few things that I have found that works temporarily

  1. Screaming– when no one else  is home, or you are in your car alone just scream, for like five minutes, loudly and nonstop. Yes it seems childish but at least you feel good afterwards for a little bit.
  2. loudly listening and singing to music– this works especially good when you are driving, because its not like you can do homework anyway and it feels good.
  3. do not procrastinate– just suck it up, do the assignment quickly and get it  over with

This is all I have found that works but this does not mean I am ever actually relaxed.

After I finish one assignment I know there will be others, I have started scheduling my life, due dates, time needed to get assignments done, extra-curricular, personal commitments, and if I can find the time for it than I will add in some time to do nothing. I have reached a point in my life where I actually have to schedule time to do nothing, this may be a sign that life has become less about who I am and more about what I can accomplish. I used to love painting, and reading, and cooking but those quickly took a back seat to lesson planning, researching, assignments and studying. The last book I read was the book I am basing a unit plan on, the one before that was about a indigenizing the science curriculum; both important books but not read for personal enjoyment. Cooking has become a hassle, I have actually started to dread the thought of cooking supper because I just do not care enough anymore, I would rather eat sandwiches and microwave food for the next few years than to actually have to cook and clean up the mess. At some point my life went from doing things because I want to, to doing things because my schedule says that I have to.

I cannot imagine that just me feels this way, we have become a generation that cares so much about how much work we can do, because we know the only way to get a job is to work harder than anyone else, yet once we have a job we will just have to work hard to keep the job.

Reading week used to be considered a break, now it is just considered a time to get assignments done and maybe, if possible have a little bit of time to relax but that will be scarified if we have too much work to do.

Why is teaching Treaty Education so hard?

This is a comment that I hear all the time, from fellow students, from current teachers and from many professors. After four years in education I have finally came up with some sort of plausible reasoning. People find integrating treaty outcomes into the curriculum because of two reasons, the first being that they do not understand the treaty outcomes and the second being that they do not understand the Saskatchewan curriculum. Teachers can become confused with the treaty outcomes because they often think that they have to teach the whole outcome in one lesson, rather than use different units and lessons to cover the outcomes over a variety of subjects. There is also a confusion between treaty outcomes and FNMI connections. The problem with treaty education is not the challenge of finding connections for integration, it is finding meaningful and educational connections between the two outcomes. Every teacher has way too many tasks to accomplish every year, and treaty ed is just one of those than can quickly become part of the missing curriculum that students never truly get to experience. Treaty education is not making bannock, or measuring a diameter of a tipi; treaty education is looking at the past of Canada, and reflecting on the changes and inequalities that aboriginals have experience, as well as continuous lasting impacts of the treaties in present time. This cannot be taught in a single lesson, or in a single grade; the reason that treaty education is supposed to be taught in all subjects and over multiple lessons is because the concept of treaties is so deep and challenging to navigate. Treaty education is not “hard”, it just requires a deep understanding of the curriculum and a little imagination.