Reflexion on principals

Three things I learned:

  1. In schools, principals do not have one specific job, they wear many different hats to make their school a good environment to be in. One of their most important jobs is to build relationships with parents, students, staff, and community members. It is with these relationships that the administrator can build a happy and welcoming environment.
  2. Principals are a source of support for teachers. The principal acts as a coach like figure to their staff by ensuring that they have all of the supplies, skills, and knowledge they need to teach their class to the best of their abilities.
  3. Principals have the important task of creating an image of their school. They need to ensure that it is appealing to a variety of families. They implement a code of conduct in their school that is enforced by the staff and followed by everyone.

Connections:

1.  A connection I made is that, thinking of my principals I have had through my years in elementary and high school, they had a lot on their plate. Coming from a very small school, we often had a lack of teachers to cover all of the classes that needed to be taught, therefore the principal would teach one or two classes so that we were covered. Seeing now how many other jobs they had to do I can see how this would be very demanding and challenging.

2. Another connection I made is that the principal really does set the atmosphere for the entire school. For example, when I was in elementary I had one principal for two years who was not good. He did not make the school a welcoming environment and he asserted his authority by making us fear him. When he was the administrator of the school there was very little discipline or consequences when it came to students fighting and getting physical with each other.

Question:

One question I have is how does a new teacher go about building a relationship with a principal who is unapproachable or has practices that they do not agree with?

Teacher identity

One thing that really struck me this week is what Miss Yerks had to say about being a perfectionist. I have always been a perfectionist in everything that I do especially when it comes to my school work. During my first year of university classes I continued to try and maintain perfection as I did through high school but I quickly realized that my expectations for myself are often unrealistic. With the ambiguity that comes with teaching it is nearly impossible to always have lessons go as perfectly as planed and it is something that I am going to have to get used to. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels this way and that it is possible to get over that fear of having some mishaps and imperfections. Another thing I really appreciated was what she said on feeling like a teacher. Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher and so I’d put on my mom’s shoes, write on my little chalkboard and teach my pretend students. Being a teacher is hard work and looking the part isn’t going to prepare me to stand in front of a class and teach. I will never be 100% prepared, and being a good teacher will only come with time and experience. I will make mistakes along the way but I will also have days where I feel I have taken steps forward.

My question this week is, is there a way to make future teachers feel more prepared for the mishaps they will have in their classrooms and to let them know that it is perfectly normal to feel intimidated sometimes?

STF

I found this lecture very interesting, it was really helpful to learn more about the STF and all of its benefits. I didn’t really understand the classes and steps of a teacher’s salary but now I feel like I have a better understanding of them. It is good to know that I will be a class 4 teacher when I graduate and that there are ways that I can move up to a higher class later on by taking more classes. It was also very interesting to learn that the STF is solely run by teachers. This gives individuals who are familiar with classroom atmospheres the ability to make decisions that will be more likely to affect educators in a positive way. Another thing that I learned is that one of the benefits teachers receive is Teacher Well-Being. I did not know about this and I think it is great that the STF provides care and support for teachers and families struggling with mental health issues.

As I am considering teaching in Alberta after my degree, I found the questions and answers during the lecture very helpful. I now have more of an understanding on making that transition. I learned that I will need to show my transcripts to the ATA to obtain a teaching certificate in that province and I may need to take extra classes to do so as well. The second connection that I made was concerning the health care plan teachers receive for themselves and their families. My mother is a teacher and she often talks about how grateful she is for the health plan and how much it helps out everyone in the family. I have struggled with asthma for most of my life and so my mom, having the STF health plan, is able to have the prescriptions I need paid for.

After learning more about the STF I wonder if all the same aspects apply to francophone schools. One question I have is if the process for obtaining a teaching certificate in a different province would be the same when applying to a francophone school division?

Week 8

  1. I learned that schools can be categorized into 4 different types. These types are: working class, middle class, affluent professional, and executive elite. Each of these types of schools differ from one another based on their process of work and their control. For example, the middle class school focuses on getting the right answer whereas the affluent professional school focusses more on creative activity carried out independently
  2. I learned that the hidden curriculum is the “unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in school”. The hidden curriculum that students are being taught is strongly influenced by the teacher they have. The teacher’s beliefs and own experiences affect the message that they are intentionally or not intentionally giving their students. Michael Appel explains this when he says, “common sense assumptions and practices about teaching and learning, normal and abnormal behaviour, important and unimportant knowledge, and so forth are conditions and forms of interaction that reproduce structures of inequality”.
  3. I learned that when talking about power, it is first of all important to know that there are issues of power in classrooms. The power that exists in the classroom directly reflects the beliefs of those that are in power, therefore those in power are often less aware of its existence and vise versa.
    1. One connection I made was with Ken Robinson’s video where he talks about divergent thinking. I agree with him how young children are geniuses in divergent thinking until they are educated in a way that makes them only look for one right answer. I relate this back to the KHS 139 class I am taking this semester because in that class I’ve learned that as children grow up they are less active because they are less creative and more concerned about doing things right. In both cases it is with education and maturation that children lose their creativity and their divergent thinking.

2. With these readings and the lecture, I was able to identify that the school I went to falls into the middle-class type. Based on what our work was focused on and the control in the school I can say that most classes were focused on getting the right answer and creativity was only important in certain classes such as art or sometimes ELA.

 

One question I have is, with the different types of schools we have, is there one that is considered better than the others? Are there certain schools that are more favorable to parents looking to register their children?

 

 

 

 

progression of the Saskatchewan education system

I have learned many new things about the Saskatchewan education system in this week’s reading and lecture.

  • Language and religion has been a debate in schools since they began. The instruction of French in schools was a constant debate that was implemented, revoked and modified several times before the creation of the division scolaire francophone which allowed over a thousand French students to enroll.
  • The first mention of high school education was not until 1888. Schools offered only elementary education because it was manageable and we were able to have many schools across the province.
  • Normal school is the name given to the classes that teenagers take in order to learn to become teachers. Students grades 9-11 took these classes and then were given the task of being the teachers for the younger students. Normal school provided little guidance on how to teach a classroom. They were then changed to teacher’s college in order to provide a more university- based teacher education system.

 

  • During the lecture on Monday we spoke a little about the hidden curriculum. In my experience the hidden curriculum taught at school was largely influenced by the community. Although my school has no longer been a catholic school for several years now, Christian ethics was a mandatory class to take up until I was in grade twelve because that is what the community board had decided needed to be taught.
  • Another thing we talked about was how we have begun to move from an essentialist perspective to a more progressive one in that the teacher is becoming less of an expert and more of a facilitator. I believe that this is a step forward because it allows less room for imposing our specific beliefs on our students and makes more room for them to figure out their own beliefs with our guidance.

 

One question that I still have is concerning the fact that even with all the progress we have made in the education system, why is it that we still don’t seem to have solutions to the issues we had in the past such as gender and racial discrimination. How can we work as educators to finally resolve these issues?

Diverse perspectives

  1. In this week’s lecture and readings, I learned that while re-conceptualistic work is to reveal circumstances in which power and privilege are created for some groups but not others. They’re work still does not have the ways to stop the creation of new situations with this same problem that arises.

2.  Something that I had not thought of before is how the untold stories of history regarding people of different ethnicities can truly affect the students who belong to that ethnicity that is not being represented in historical events learned in class.

3. In the first reading I found it interesting how scientists are just now beginning to see the potential of Indigenous knowledge. In the past their culture and practices were shut out, therefore there was no further teaching and understanding of how valuable Indigenous knowledge is.

One connection I made is with the value we put on the sciences and math and how they are the classes that really allow us to have new inventions. While I agree with this I do not think these classes have any superiority over others. Language classes, for example are just as important in the development of knowledge.

The second connection I made is how gender was included in the aspects that play into power and privilege. I feel that gender as well as sexuality plays a big part in privilege and therefore should always be addressed.

One question that I still have is how can we be more aware of the ethnicities being left out of historical events that we teach in class and how we can prevent this from affecting our students in a negative way?

Diversity in the classroom

In this week’s reading I learned about cultural differences and how they often cause misunderstandings and conflicts. I found it interesting to look at culture as an iceberg with layers that are in sight and others that are out of sight. The top of the iceberg is cultural differences we can see and that we are aware of such as language, dress, holiday customs and more. We become accustomed to these kinds of differences through media and our daily lives. What I learned in this reading is that it’s what’s bellow the surface that causes conflict. Things like roles of men and women, nature of friendship, concept of personal space and many more are the aspects that we do not often see and so we do not address them. As teachers it is important to address all aspects of cultural differences in order to understand and appreciate the person as a whole. In doing this we avoid the common misunderstandings and conflicts that can arise when we are not aware. Another thing I learned about is social class and SES. Summer setbacks for students of lower SES is not something I have thought of before. These students have less access to books during the summer and do not read as much as students of a higher SES do and so they suffer from considerable setbacks in their reading levels when they return to school compared to the other students. Not only is this a cause of lack of access to books it could also be a matter of lack of time for reading. Students of a lower SES are more likely to be working during the summer at a younger age then other students and spend most of there summer trying to make money not bettering their reading abilities. Gender roles is another thing that I learned about in this chapter. In school gender roles are established at a very young age where girls will only play with other girls and same goes for the boys. They play with what is typically male and female toys and it isn’t until they get a bit older that those who differ from these roles are ridiculed. The books children are reading and the TV they are watching strongly influence the gender roles they have and will bring in to the classroom.

The first connection I made is with the idea of gender roles in the classroom. This semester I am taking EFDN which is a course that focuses on gender and sexuality in the classroom. What I have learned in this class directly relates to what I have read in this chapter. Throughout this past month I have watched several videos that show the effects of gender roles in schools. As teachers it is important to make our classrooms a space that is free of gender roles to avoid problems with stereotypes and bullying. The second connection I made is with cultural diversity in schools. In my school there was very little cultural diversity amongst the students, it is a school that is generation based and so most students come from families of the community. Our staff however, was more culturally diverse because we had teachers coming in from other countries to work in our school because of a lack of French teachers in our area. Having teachers of a different culture often times brought up issues in teaching and learning differences. Often times our teachers’ beliefs about effort and ability differed significantly from those of the school in general.

The question I have after completing this reading is as a future teaching how do I recognize the hidden diversities my students will bring in to the classroom and how can I make my classroom a place where all culturally diverse students can strive?

Learning theory

In this week’s reading and lecture I learned what self-efficacy is and how it differs from self-esteem. Self-efficacy is based on on self judgements of our own capabilities. Our self-efficacy is our belief in ourselves to complete specific tasks. On the other hand, self-esteem is based on judgements of self worth that can be strongly influenced by society. There are four sources to self-efficacy. They are mastery experiences, level of arousal as you face the task, vicarious experience, and social persuasion. All of these sources contribute to a person’s self-efficacy and the higher one’s self-efficacy is the more effort they will put into tasks. People with low self-efficacy are more likely to quit tasks or avoid them all together. Another thing a learned is self- regulated learning and and the steps that go in to making it successful. To be a successful self- regulated learner you must first analyze what you have to do and set reasonable yet challenging goals for yourself then make a plan that will help you to complete the tasks. Self control plays a huge part in the next step which is strategies to accomplish the task, staying focused for example. Self reflection is the last step and possibly the most important when it comes to improving the strategies being used. I also learned that modelling (learning by observing others) can lead to positive outcomes. These outcomes include directing attention, encouraging existing behaviours, changing inhibitions and teaching new behaviours and attitudes.

The first connection I made is with self-regulated learning. I liked that the cookie monster video we watched in lecture referred to learning how to regulate what you feel. For example, working on learning how to manage stress was and continues to be something I’m working on since starting university. Learning to manage how you feel about something by following all the correct steps will help you to be more successful in anything you take on because those skills to push forward and stay focused are already developed. The second connection I made is to the behaviourist’ reward and punishment system. In my ECSF 100 placement I was in a grade 6 classroom and the teacher used a colour chart to encourage good behaviour (green being good and red bad and then colours in between) Everyone’s colours were recorded at the end of each day and every few weeks if the students had mostly green they would be rewarded with a movie or pizza. This system seemed to work really good for this class and it kept disruptive behaviour to a minimum.

My question this week is how do we, as teachers instill self-regulated learning in students who do not have a passion for school?

Self, social, and moral development

In this reading I learned that early maturation may not be beneficial for girls going into their teen years but for boys it often is. This is something I had not thought of as being an issue because maturing is natural and helps people make good choices whether it be boys or girls. This reading, however, has taught me that boys profit from early-maturation because it makes them more popular and they enjoy the social aspect of school more.  Early-maturing boys also profit from the stereotype ideal male body that they may have before others their age. Another thing I learned is that recess plays a key role in child development. The free time to play that children get during recess actually stimulates their brains’ in ways that will help them in the classroom. Playing helps children learn important social skills and adapt to new situations. Being active outside at recess also helps decline childhood obesity in a healthy and fun way. Chapter 3 also taught me about Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. Erickson believed that people go through eight life stages each having a crisis that needs to be resolved. He focuses on the relationship between society and the individual. The proper resolution of each crisis is what leads to personal and social competence.

One connection I made with this reading is with the concept of a theory of mind. By having a lot of experiences with young children whether it be through babysitting, coaching dance or volunteering at youth activities I have seen the development of a theory of mind in children. As future educators I feel this is an important concept to understand so that we can relate to what our students are feeling and help them come to understand that they need to take others thoughts and feelings in to consideration.

The second connection I made is with the influence of moral behaviour. Working with kids through my teenage years has taught me to notice the different behaviours children have and to be able to relate them back to their home lives. As educators it is important to understand the influences that student’s have so that we can help them overcome the bad one’s with new and productive behaviours.

One question I still have after reading this chapter is what is the best way for us, as teachers, to help a student whose home life is not ideal without upsetting the student or overstepping the boundaries and risking upsetting their parents?

Cognitive development

This week’s reading on Chapter 2 focused on cognitive development and the different theories that go along with it. The first thing I learned is that there are two main theories on cognitive development, Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s. I learned that these two theories differ from each other. Piaget’s theory is that individuals actively create knowledge through direct experiences with people, objects and ideas that surround them. Vygotsky’s theory, however, focuses on children learning from their own experiences and their cultural settings. Another thing I learned is that we can not say whether development is shaped more by nature or nurture because they both play key roles in a child’s development. Everyone develops at different rates and each have their own key factors that partake in their personal development. Along with these I learned what a student’s zone of proximal development is. I learned that it’s the point where a task becomes too hard for a child to complete on their own and so it is the right point for an adult to step in and help guide them.

One connection that I made is that, as a teacher, knowing and understanding a student’s zone of proximal development is a skill that I will need to learn and master to be able to give my students ample time to figure things out on their own but also not let it go so far that they give up. In my experience as a student, teachers didn’t always have this understanding. In certain situations I would be frustrated when they intervened too soon as I could have done it on my own. There is also the opposite of that where I became discouraged when help didn’t come at the right time.

After reading this chapter my question is how do teachers learn to balance both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories in a way that benefits each of their student’s and helps them all excel?