After my last year of high school, I spent the majority of my summer working at a camp out on lake Kipabiskau. Though I was working throughout the day surrounded by kids, I enjoyed getting up earlier than my campers and taking a walk down to the beach. The camp had larger paths for easily getting around the camp but, early in the morning, I would take the longer, narrower, and less traveled on paths. It was through these paths where I would enjoy the moment almost more than the view of the sunrise. It sounds odd and I don’t quite know how to explain the feeling, but being surrounded by nature while listening to the animals, feeling the dew on the leaves, and looking at all the beauty that nature has to offer. The way I could attempt to explain it would be peaceful, as in feeling literally at peace. There is nothing quite like that feeling and if given the opportunity to find that peacefulness again would be a great way to escape the pressure and stress that students, myself included, go through.
According to an article written by Cynthia Reynolds, what is necessary for children to be taught in schools is always changing. Whether at the time it is considered necessary or is something an angry mother believes should be taught, the main point is that what is taught in school can differ from year to year. Rita Irwin, associate dean of teacher education at the University of British Colombia, states that “the classroom has completely changed. We need to prepare teachers to deal with it”. Though this is a true statement, as a future teacher, it will be difficult to adapt to all the changes that happen when teaching not only because the curriculum is always changing, but also all the changes to what children need to, or should, be learning about the politics (Genders, Races, Beliefs, etc.).
What children learn can have a very powerful effect on how they view things in the world outside of, or after, school. James Banks, a professor of diversity studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, had said “there’s more to education than teaching literacy and numeracy”. He also spoke about the horrors of Nazi Germany, with their high levels of literacy and numeracy, how many of the citizens still succumbed to Hitler’s evil due to his influence in the schools and having the young minds molded to his beliefs.
The University of Ottawa faculty of education prepares their students, future teachers, to tackle some of the controversial topics head-on. This helps those training to become teachers to in a sense “be ready” for the topics that may arise. Though they may not have the exact answers ready for a specific political, or controversial, topics that may come up in their years as teachers, they will have their experience on how to properly approach the topic from the training they receive in University.
Because every child is different, teachers have to be open-minded to the how they treat, discipline and teach their students.
There are many factors that are a part of each student. Where they live, who they live with, what their family’s beliefs are (if they live with their family), what their heritage is, how their raised, and even what they learn outside of the class. There are many more things that could be added to this list and as future teachers, we need to understand that not all students may have the same beliefs and ideals as us. We need to be able to adapt the way we teach to best help develop our students while still encouraging them to learn and grow in knowledge.
One of the worst things a teacher can do is to place students in “categories” based on how the teacher perceives the students. Children aren’t stupid, they can figure out very quickly how you view them. If you consider one of your students to be “dumb” or “slow”, that child may live the rest of his or her life thinking that they are “dump” or “slow”. If a child is considered a “bad” student then they may resent any teachers that do try to give them the extra help because they believe the teachers are just making sure they don’t get into trouble.
Unfortunately, most students are “categorized” based on appearance alone. If a student is always wearing ripped jeans, baggy hoodie, and a toque, some might think that the student is rebellious or maybe a bully. Peoples imagination is where they get their reasoning to categorize people by predicting what that person’s lifestyle is like based on what they look like or act. The student wearing ripped jeans and baggy hoodie may actually be from a poor family that doesn’t have the luxury of buying nice or new clothes so that is all the child has to wear. The way teachers treat that student based on how they view him or her alone can have a very negative effect on that students view of school and can hinder that student from further learning.
One of the worst ways for a teacher to categorize students is by their race, this affects children the most as they begin to view themselves as different from the other students in a negative, and sometimes harmful, way.
The 11thchapter speaks about the influence that teachers have on their students and how they can affect the growth through their education as well as their lives. I myself can relate very well with this chapter due to my experience with two individual teachers that affected me both in my confidence academically and emotionally.
Because I had many cousins living in my home town, our last name had gotten a reputation of being the “class clowns” and “not very smart”. Many of the teachers already had their own opinions on us before getting to know us. One of my teachers, without even meeting me, had me sit in the back of the class while also not being allowed to speak or ask questions. After finding a way to show my work while still getting the right answer and showing it to the teacher, I was scolded and humiliated in front of the entire class that my new way of doing the work was “wrong” and that I was “stupid” for not doing it the right way. This teacher had very efficacy that affected me in a big way. I assumed I was dumb and not cut out for school and ended up failing the class.
In another class of mine I had a different teacher that didn’t care about who you were related to or what your reputation was. In this class, my teacher was able to adapt very well to how students learnt and was very accepting and open minded when I discovered a different way to do show my work and still get the right answer. It had a very positive effect on me and through that experience, inspired me to want to be a teacher.
The amount of self-efficacy that teachers have can have very strong effects on students, both good and bad. Teachers should strive to have a higher self-efficacy and be open to different ways that children and students can learn, while still being able to correct students if their different way of doing/showing work could hinder them from fully understanding. The more open we are to our student’s ideas, the more open they will be when asking questions and explaining their work.
Throughout the 3rdchapter, it talks about the struggles that middle years children go through including puberty, bullying of all kinds, and the anxiety that is developed from these and their lives outside of school. Being a homeschooled child that was naturally athletic as well as being taller than the other kids my age at the time, my only experience of interacting with other kids was when the school allowed my siblings and I to play on the school sports teams. I was never bullied because of my size by my teammates and never felt self-conscious about my body because I had never had anyone speak negatively about my body shape or build. Even once I began attending high school classes I was considered “the tall guy” or “one of the jocks” which I had no care or problem with being called. As a future teacher, I hope I’ll be able to notice these things happening with my students and be able to help those who need it and correct those who make the decision to make others feel self-conscious about themselves.
On page 70, it begins talking about the families that children come from and the parenting styles that parents use in raising their children. Again, coming from a homeschooled family, it never occurred to me that parents would have a lot of influence on the way children developmentally, looking at the different styles, I believe my parents raised me with the “authoritarian” style. It seems like a colder, or sterner, approach to raising children but to this day I do not disagree with the way I was raised. My parents and I have a very good and strong relationship while I still have the respect for their decisions they make even if I don’t agree at the time.
Overall, I feel as though my inexperience as a middle year’s student seems to offset me from experiencing these topics that the chapter speaks about children going through, along with having a family that never divorced, was somewhat well off, and never experiencing any type of abuse from life inside and outside the class. I hope I can learn as much about this in this class and put it to use when I come across it as a future teacher of middle years students