Principals In The School

During this week in lecture we focused on principals and their roles in the school.

3 things I learned

 One thing I learned was all the jobs that a principal is in charge of doing. I knew they had a big job, but to see their job is “planning, implementing, advocating, supporting, communicating and monitoring curriculum, instruction and improvement planning” (McGowan, S., 2018, s. 7). They are a critical piece to have in the school if they were not there it seems that the school would be unable to function because of all the jobs that they do. They create a supportive environment for everyone which is why they are so important in the schools.

Another thing I learned was if detention for students is really helpful or not. I found it interesting hearing my professors thoughts on this. Joy said how it was hard to give detention, but as everyone got deeper in conversation I learned that it was more a punishment on the teacher and the students who never do get detention. We discussed how every student deserves that one on one time with the teacher but if they do not get detention they will never be able to get that which can harm them as well. I never thought about detention as something that would harm students who do not get it over the students who do get it.

Lastly, I learned that the principals use a research-based framework when they go into the classroom and observe the teachers, engage in the cycle of inquiry, and plan for on-going and effective coaching and professional development for all. I did not realize all the work that a principal does when observing the teachers in the school, but as I learned in lecture they do a lot.

2 connections I made

 The first connection I made was during the turn and talk and me and my peers talked about the good quality our principals had. We discussed how we had some bad principals who did not care about the school or students and made the environment feel unsafe and made us feel like we did not want to do to school anymore. But we also had teachers who were great and wanted all of us to achieve to the best of our abilities and did everything they could to help us get there. We all said when we get out into the field that we all hope to have a principal that cares about the students, staff, and community and does everything they can for the school. I had a principal who did everything they could to make themselves known around the school and to know every student as well. They would “pop in” just to say hello and ask how everyone’s day is. But I also had a principal that would not bother to know the students and would yell at staff members and made the school feel like a different atmosphere.

Another connection I made was how the role of the principal is always changing and how complex their role is. Back when I was in school I had teachers who just enforced the rules and others who enforced the rules but were also approachable. This principal who were approachable were seen as the good principal because they made sure “the needs of students, teachers, and the school” (s.8) are met inside the school. They have a complex role in the school but they go day by day and change when needed to fit the school community the best.

1 Question I still have

 One question I still have is how will the principal’s roles look in 5-10 years? With schools always changing and more people moving to Regina will their roles need to change to meet the needs of the demand of more students coming into their school?


Teacher Identity

During the reading and the lecture both focused on teacher identity.

3 things I learned

 One thing I learned was discourse. In lecture Stacey spoke how discourse is the words that we use, how we talk to people, and the language that we use. I found it interesting that there are specialized words that people just know and understand where as people without this discourse do not understand. For example, for all of us in the class we all understand what turn and talk mean but for someone who has never had to do this or heard of it they may not understand. Even though turn and talk is pretty easy to figure out what it means if someone may not have this discourse they cannot make the connection to what it really does mean.

Another thing I learned was about the term ambiguity. Before lecture I had no idea what this means or how it pertains to my teaching profession. But after the turn and talk I was able to learn that this term is used to deal with uncertainty and to be open minded to more than just one interpretation for someone to do something. For teachers, it is important to be open minded and deal with different problems that may arise in our classrooms that we do not feel we may have the confidence to do so but we still do it. We turn these experiences that we do not feel confident in to a new experience that we can learn from and help us grow as a teacher.

Lastly, I learned how policy discourses and a teachers’ identity connect together. There are many policies that shape a teachers’ identity such as “STF, Education Act, Ministry of Education, Accountability policies, Standardized testing, Funding, Curriculum, Teacher training, and School Board policy” (s. 16). These policies come together to shape how a teacher may teach, and what their identity will change to once becoming a teacher. I never realized that there were many factors that played into shaping who a teacher may be. Once we all were accepted into the education program we all became a part of the STF and as we go along in our schooling this policy shapes us and changes our identity to becoming a teacher.

 2 connections I made

 The first connection I made was during reading Rethinking Schools Online because it stated “maybe you can’t do everything you’d planned or imagined – at least not right away – but you can always do something” (para. 11). In my ECS 100 class we had a guest speaker come in and say pretty much those exact words. When we get out of University we will want to help our students and do everything, but sometimes we need to realize that we cannot and to realize this now before we burn ourselves out. Even if it something little that we do for our students it is still something that will impact their lives. Even doing something, is better than doing nothing.

Another connection I made was when Stacey asked if being a teacher shapes us as a parent. I think this can go both ways being a teacher shapes us as a parent, but being a parent can also shape us as a teacher. I think we are parents as well as teachers in the classroom and at home because both a teacher and parents help their children/students and educate them on whatever they feel is needed. I have heard from many of my family/ friends who are teachers that once you step foot out of the classroom does not mean your job is done. You will go home think about your students, look at Pinterest for new ideas, and always planning how to make your lesson and classroom even that many better. Many jobs once you go home you can forget, but being teacher is forever in your heart and you are never done your job, it is always on your mind. Being a parent and being a teacher can go hand in hand because both impact a child’s life and both want the best for that child.

1 question I still have

One question that I still have is how can I teach my students in a way that I will not change their identity? How can I ensure that I am teaching each individual student without changing their identities?

Constructions of teacher professionalism

During the lecture, we had a scavenger hunt on the STF website that allowed us to research and broaden our knowledge.

3 things I learned

 The first thing I learned was the different salaries and the different classes that teachers get placed in depending on their education they have. I did not realize that once I graduate and have my four-year degree I will fall into the Class IV and my first year will receive a salary of $55474 according to the STF document. As the years to come my salary will increase until the 11th year of teaching where I will stay until a new document is released but only in the new document increases the pay. I am able to increase my income by taking more classes and earning more degrees. I was shocked at the price we made right out of University because I hear so many people saying this is not a good paying career but in my mind $55,000 a year is not bad at all.

Another thing I learned was the benefits that I will receive when I become an educator. I enjoyed that when I have a family they will be able to receive some of the benefits I get as well. I did not realize that there is a disability benefit that if I become diagnosed at 30 years old I will be covered through the STF.

Lastly, I learned the code of ethics. I did not realize that if we as teachers have a confrontation with another staff member we cannot take our concerns to the principles. We are to talk it out with the staff member we have the problem with. This relates to not only our profession but it can also apply to our lives fully because when we have a problem with someone it is better to talk to them about it rather than going and telling someone else and hoping they will fix it.

2 connections I made

The first connection I made was the McDowell Foundation. In my ECS 100 class last semester in one of our lectures we talked about this and how it relates to education. It is a big organization for research into teaching.

Another connection I made was when one of my peers asked about if having another degree or certificate will hinder you to be hired for a full-time contract. I connected with this question because at least once a week I think about it and wonder if getting my inclusive ed. Certificate would benefit me or hinder me in getting hired. There were mixed responses throughout the class but I liked Sharlene’s response by simply just asking different divisions what their preference is and if they care to hire people with more education or not.

1 question I still have

One question I still have is because a job isn’t guaranteed after university will be I be able to collect maternity leave if I am a substitute hours and meet the required hours?

Social Identity and School System

During the lecture and the online reading, it was focused on social identity and school system: hidden curriculum and reproduction theory.

3 things I learned

 The first thing that I learned was from Ken Robinsons video – Changing Paradigms. He made a point how prescription for ADHD is not an epidemic. He says children “are being medicated as routinely as our tonsils taken out.” The children get in trouble at school because they are distracted from all the electronics in their lives. But instead of teaching interesting topics that bores the students it seems to be they just give the children pills (Adderall and Ritalin) to help them get focused and in order in the classroom. I believe rather than doing this to our students we should take action and do what we can to make school interesting and engaging rather than throwing pills in their mouths.

Another thing I learned was the reproduction theory. This theory states that it is the “schools work to reproduce status quo social, cultural, and economic power relations/structures” (s.6). All schools should be using the same curricula and environment for the students and give them equal opportunities. However, the reproduction theory challenges that – the working class learns procedures; the middle class wants to receive the right answer; the affluent professionals want to be independent; and the executive elite are analytical. As future educators, we will have students from different classes and need to accommodate for every individual student.

Lastly, I learned was school to prison pipeline. It was crazy to hear that this is a policy that “pushes students out of the classroom into the criminal justice system” (s.14) and effects racialized students. It was shocking how many young Indigenous males in Saskatchewan will have a greater chance to go to prison than to ever graduate Grade 12. I think this is something as a future education to look out for our students and to help these students to succeed.

2 connections I made

 One connection I made was how the drop-out rate for Indigenous students was higher than non-Indigenous students. My friend practiced her presentation for one of her classes and it was on Indigenous issues in the school system. When I was listening to her she talked about how Indigenous students have a higher rate for dropping out and it tends to be in Grade 10 when educators see this decrease. She gave statistics that in the school year of 2016-2017, 85% of non-Indigenous students graduate in the province with a target of 91%. Whereas for Indigenous students they had a 43% graduation rate with a target of 61%.

Another connection I made was the universal education. When I have heard about different countries where people were unable to get an education or cannot afford an education. I believe school should be given to everyone without a cost. Knowledge is power and if someone wants to increase their knowledge, money and their economic class should not determine whether or not. They should be able to get the education if they want. Everyone deserves the same opportunities.

 1 question I still have

 One question that I still have is, if the Ministry of Education can see that Indigenous people have a higher drop-out rate and a lower graduation rate why have they not done anything to change this? Why are they not giving more supports to the school for students who are struggling or why are teachers not observing their students and helping out as much as possible?

History of Education

During the lecture and the online reading was focused on the history of education in Saskatchewan.

3 things I learned

 The first thing that I learned was the four philosophies of education. As written in the lecture:

  1. Perennialism “believes that the focus of education should be the ideas that have lasted over centuries”
  2. Essentialism “tries to instill all students with the most essential or basic academic knowledge and skills and character development”
  3. Progressivism “believe that individuality, progress, and change are fundamental to one’s education”
  4. Reconstructionism “a philosophy the emphasizes the addressing of social questions and a quest to create a better society and worldwide democracy”

Before lecture I did not notice there were four philosophies within education that are used within the schools.

Another thing I learned was during the reading and I came across the topic of high school students teaching the elementary school students during the history of education blew my mind. The reading said “the education system in the 1880s was thus largely preoccupied with providing basic education to as many children as possible and using older students as teachers” (p.5). I never knew this and after reading I still could not believe that it was true. Thinking about that putting this into our education system now would be insane, I look back and think about what my peers and I looked like in high school and there would be no way ourselves at that point in time could teach elementary students the curriculum.

Lastly, I have learned was by “1895 agriculture had become a component of education” (p.5). I found this interesting because my family still farms and how important it is to them. With seeing how important agriculture is to my family, and others around our farm, I can image how important agriculture was for people back in 1895. I always hear around me people saying “how does what I learn in class help me in the future” which I thought about when reading this because teaching the children all about agriculture would actually be useful for the students because it is something most of them and their family are very passionate and focused on.

2 connections I made

 One connection I made was in lecture when Sharlene commented on the hidden curriculum which is “subtly (and overtly) co-opt students to respect cultures and become functioning members of society” (s.11). In my ECS 210 class we have talked about the hidden curriculum and how this can affect children and give them ideas that we do not necessarily mean. It is like an invisible curriculum or idea and even as a teacher if they do not mean to harm a child they may do so, for example by showing on readings and representation of a holiday and stating everyone in that culture does it but the student in your class does not and they start to think something is wrong with them or something they need to change about themselves. Or another example would be about wearing hats or dress codes in schools is also a part of the hidden curriculum because it is there but it is just not spoken about.

Another connection I made was also during lecture when Sharlene talked about the factory model of schooling because in my ECS 210 class we talked about the factory model as well and how the Tyler Rationale and other theorists looked at this is how students should be. Schools were created for all students to finish school being the same person, they are produced like dolls in a factory to all be the same. In the factory model, they are wanting to create obedient and compliance students that do as they are told and grow into a perfect adult that society wants. As we see now this is not the case, every individual child is unique and teachers do not push to have each of their student being the same.

1 question I still have

One question I still have is how as a future educator can I move away from having the hidden curriculum or is there really a way to remove it from the classroom?

Reconceptualists and Nourish the Learning Spirit

During the lecture and the online readings both focused reconceptualists and the learning spirit.

3 things I learned

 The first thing I learned was about reconceptualists, Cannella, Swadener, & Che (2007) wrote “reconceptualist scholars question the belief that scientific truths could or should be “discovered” about any individual or group of children and then applied to all younger human beings, no matter the culture, language, belief structure, or physical circumstance” (693). Before the reading and listening during lecture I had never really heard of this idea of reconceptualists, but I learned that these scholars did not discriminate against anyone and applies to every young child in an early childhood program. Reconceptualists are looking deeper to the understanding of children.

Another thing I learned was Oral Communication, I was shocked when Stacey mentioned her son got a D even though a few months earlier was praised at how well her son was doing in class. The evaluation of oral communication is the student is able to listen and understand, respond appropriately, use the proper speaking skills and strategies, and reflect on and identify their strengths. But some children may have excellent oral communication skill but not have be able to sit in desk for an hour and listen but that should not mean the child needs a lower grade. Every child is different and educators need to assess each individual student not by what is written exactly on the paper.

Lastly, I learned from Nourishing the Learning Spirit that “elders likened birth to an occurrence when spirit joins with the physical body to become body, mind, emotions, and also spirits” (p.14). I was able learn how important the spirits were for Indigenous people and how the spirit joins with the physical body and becomes so many different parts of the body.

2 connections I made

 One connection I made was when Stacey talked about a “good student” in ECS 210 we just finished talking about who the good student was and where this idea comes from. We pin pointed that it is usually the kids who sits, listens and behaves, and can work within the “traditional” classroom. In lecture, a few people made comments about how even if we do not want to believe we do it many people have this norm narrative of a “good student” that we as future teachers need to lose.

Another connection I made with my ESCI 302 class and how in the lecture we learned how important developing different narratives are. We are able to learn through stories which is what a part of my ESCI class focused on and the creation of the world from the Indigenous Ways of Knowing. We learnt about the Indigenous Ways of Knowing and how we are able to incorporate both Westernize way of knowing and Indigenous ways of knowing into a classroom.

 1 question I still have

One question that I still have how in my future classroom am I able encourage and show my students to look at and change what their normal narratives are to challenge and allow them to broaden their knowledge?

Culture and Diversity

During the lecture and Chapter 6 reading they both focused on culture and diversity.

3 things I learned

 The first thing I learned was stereotype threat – “the extra emotional and cognitive burden that one’s performance in an academic situation might confirm a stereotype that others hold” (Woolfolk et al., 2016, p. 205). In lecture Sharlene talked about how these threats can cause students to have anxiety because they are scared if they do something that the stereotype against them will burden them. As a future educator and teachers now to be aware of this threat and instead of having the stereotype about their students using an anti-bias education so no student will fear that their performance in school will only enhance the stereotype against them. We want all our students to shine, not be ashamed of who they are or afraid that just because of their culture or race will become a burden due to their performance in the classroom.

Another thing I learned was the five dimensions of multicultural education – (1) Content Integration, (2) The Knowledge Construction Process, (3) Prejudice Reduction, (4) An Empowering School Culture and Social Structure, and (5) An Equity Pedagogy. These five dimensions’ help promote equity on the schools for all children. This dimension is important for future educators to look at and study to ensure that their students have equity inside their classroom, and help promote it for each and every student.

Lastly, I learned was Socioeconomic Status (SES) and Achievement. Children with lower Socioeconomic Status “suffer –developmentally, medically, socially, and academically” (Woolfolk et al., 2016, p. 196) I found this shocking. Regardless if a student is from a lower SES or a high SES should not affect their academic achievements. As teachers, we tend not to know what is going on outside of the four walls of the school in the child’s life, so when they come to school dressed in the same thing as the day before, or they are telling you they are hungry teachers need to realize that some families are not able fed their children three meals a day. We can help children out by not judging them based on their SES or thinking that they will not achievement, I think we should push harder for these students so the statistic in the text that states “poor children are at least twice as likely as non-poor children to be kept back in school” (Woolfolk et al., 2016, p. 196). We should look at this statistic and push to have all children succeed and break down this statistic that every student should achieve not just the ones who are not poor.

2 connections I made

One connection I made was in the Chapter 6 reading and when it mentioned gender bias in teaching – “one explanation for why boys struggle in school is that the expectations of schooling do not fit the way boys learn” (Woolfolk et al., 2016, p. 211).  I can remember back in elementary school and many of my teachers would do this. They would allow the boys to go out and help set up bleaches or if a teacher needed help it was always boys who got picked because it seemed to be easier to send them out of the room since they are struggling anyway than sending the girls who seem not to be. Girl struggle just as much as a boy might in school and we need to eliminate this bias about only boys struggling and change our expectations and help all students learn not just a certain gender.

Another connection I made was also in both the lecture and the Chapter 6 reading in the text it defined gender roles as “expectations about how males and females should behave – about what is masculine and what is feminine” (Woolfolk et al., 2016, p. 209). Growing up I had so many people say to me and my parents “she should be playing with Barbie’s not Lego, she should be wearing dresses not overalls”, many family and friends had this expectation that because I was female I should not be allowed to play with “boy toys” or dress in “boy clothes”. Regardless if I wore a dress or overalls or played with Barbie’s and dolls or Lego and toy cars I was still female but because of this expectation of gender role people have it can be hard on children. This is something is important as a future educator to internalize so I do not say to a student you cannot do that you are girl, when teachers should be encouraging their students to try everything, not just what fits the expectation for that gender.

1 question I still have

One question I still have is when I have a classroom of my own and I have students from both high and low socioeconomic status how can I make sure that all my students are achieving the highest education they can? How do I break this idea that all students with lower socioeconomic status will not be able to receive the same level of achievement as someone with a higher status?