I believe that: our time right now has moved to a digital and connected age; simply because our knowledge of the world has expanded immensely and that learning and teaching is no longer at a local level, but at a global level. The responsibility to share information is everyone and not just “teachers.”
I believe this because: it is evident in everyday life and even in our schools. The upgrade in teaching tools, including the equipment and devices that run them, all teach us new things about what is out there in the world. Progress is occurring quickly, when we are now expected to input marks and progress online to make it easily accessible to our students and their parents. We’ve been each given a laptop to do so. We have wifi linking the whole district to the internet. We have lessons and workshops that focus around technology. Today, I’m taking my Masters in Leadership with a Focus on Technology.
Lots of issues/aspects: come from lack of Technology Literacy. With so much information out there, many need to be guided in the direction of how to filter and criticize the work that is posted so readily available. How to be smart with what we have and who we talk to doesn’t come easily for everyone. For example: appropriate privacy settings, who to trust, articles from approved sources, programs to advance online skills, tools to support and improve learning, and collaboration with peers across the globe need to be taught to lead independent learning.
I’d like to talk about: the importance of why the education system should not ignore or refuse the use of applying technology in the classroom. My example: Instead of teaching about technology, because students can learn plenty on their own with internet giving them all the “answers,” schools should be introducing new ways to incorporate programs and utilizing the user friendly means to build learning communities. With applied skills as my forte, I was less familiar with the academic programs; however, while TOCing, I’ve had a chance to experience how Mini School (an advance learning program) incorporated laptops per student and building curriculum around them. They used Moodle to access lessons and readings, they used Google Docs to plan events and group projects, they watched educational videos on YouTube with opportunities to re-watch them if they pleased, they created 3D maps using Minecraft, and they used the internet for research including a means to expand their vocabulary. Using what is familiar to the students not only relates the skill and task to “everyday” life but improves their skills and efficiency in this demanded field.
I believe that: the responsibility of the education system includes structure and discipline. However, there needs to be a set of basic steps that schools follow so that there is consistency. We need to focus on teaching and students learning, rather than compliance and punishment. Especially, in high school, we forget that teenagers, even the most senior, are still growing and maturing, and thus require our guidance still.
I believe this because: I personally do not like to get angry, raise my voice, or “fight” back. Aggression with students is ethically wrong, and there is no win-win. Students feel worst, more unstable, and rebellious to protect themselves in response. Teachers who don’t think with calmness also make harsh decisions. Regretfully, I’ve had a few encounters with strong willed students. One particular student had a history that preceded me and was very defensive when any type of restriction, like a rule or protocol, that he did not agree with took it personally, even though it was a standard expectation for all students. He would throw a fit, storm away, and use rude and inappropriate language. However, with space and time, he was approachable for a talk. Trying to remove his anger from the classroom at the moment it happens is an immense challenge. During points like these, negotiation just won’t work.
Lots of issues/aspects: fall around students experience with discipline at home and in their past. For example: distinguishing what kinds of discipline is practiced by their parents, what expectations are already established and understood, what areas are sensitive according to various cultures, how can students be acknowledge for positive behavior, how can we establish positive reinforcement for the whole school to follow, and what are the preventative measures that could be practiced often.
I’d like to talk about: communication with students about understanding expectations set by the school and communication with staff about understanding students’ cultural background.
My example: One of the schools I use to teach at was mostly Indo-Canadian and Filipino student populated. Generally, what we’ve experienced as a staff, is that the Indo-Canadians, or students of Indian background, are more likely to retaliate against instructions that have authoritative tones. Especially the older males, who we have learned, generally have a lot of freedom at home because of their gender; authority is foreign. Therefore, it’s easier to build “equalized” relationships with the students first, create an understandable communication system, which will allow the affect of strict expectations when the time is needed. In comparison, the Filipino students have a lot of freedom at home because their parents are busy working late shifts or overtime. Again, self discipline hasn’t been taught at home. To be able to have successful students, there needs to be a school culture that is established by all those involved and not just any one party.
I believe that: a student benefits most from their education experience when their parent(s) and community are involved and supportive. They will be able to build on their learning beyond the school and into their neighborhood while recognizing how much they all matter. Eventually, it will allow them to expand to the rest of the world.
I believe this because: I have seen how much growth students experience through my commitment to them outside of school time. With sponsoring extracurricular activities and facilitating an after school program, I have had the privilege and opportunity to learn more about students and their passions and involvement beyond their studies.
Lots of issues/aspects: are found around the lack of support and responsibilities that pull them away from self discovery and their personal dreams.
I’d like to talk about: single parent homes and low income neighborhoods affecting student learning and growth. For example: schools need to invest in having appropriate contacts available on school sites, taking advantage of community guests to connect and provide additional services, having funding for subsidies, encouraging team fundraising, showing compassion and understanding with struggling students, and meeting or calling parents to express concerns.
My example: Knowing the demographics that I teach is very important to the types of assignments I use or the type of relationship wot build with my students. Language barriers with parents has always been a tough problem to break and to know what is happening at home, outside the school environment, although a personal matter, really does limit the help to reach students even when the resources are there. Multiple times, when I’ve called home in regards to students’ multiple absences, I get parents who hang up on me because they don’t speak English. Nor do these parents come to Parent-Teacher conferences, because they don’t want to bother with a translator. Our restrictions as a school and community are linked to parents and their efforts undoubtably.
I believe that: there needs to be quality in the foundation that is taught. There needs to be key elements that are built in the basis of understanding in any subject to allow students’ to have the skills to carry on and build ownership for their own learning beyond the classroom. How those elements are given, is open to the teacher’s preference and creativity. Opportunities to make changes and modifications should be flexible in its approach.
I believe this because: like every student, teachers are all different. Everyone has their own learning and teaching style. The curriculum in many subjects in British Columbia has finally been updated after so many years. When reviewing some of the expectations, the staff met for discussion and found the vagueness of the curriculum, which we agreed, allowed for free interpretation. To some, this was a great thing, for others, not so much since they were so use to working out of a text book and following lesson plans that they’ve created years and years ago. Times change, and the knowledge around us is changing.
Lots of issues/aspects: of where to start will be troubling for all staff. For example: what new resources are available, who to collaborate with, what existing plans could still be used, how much time will be given to plan, when could it all be put into action, and how long will it take to transition.
I’d like to talk about: getting students involved with lesson planning and building on their interests as well.
My example: When I ran an after school program with students grade 8-12, I focused on their interests. We had meetings once a week, and for most of the decisions made, I provided options that would help build different aspects of their leadership skills. They voted, and provided their own input. There was a basic guideline, and I stuck to similar plans run previous years; however, with returning students and new members, new learning experiences are inevitable. If only this would happen more so in the classroom setting as well. This will carry on to encourage the students to stay committed to attending and being actively involved in their school.
My 3 non-negotiables when it comes to expecting from myself and colleagues would be:
1. Committed to the teaching profession which includes conducting research, training, and learning on an ongoing basis for self improvement and to improve students' learning: not take sick days when not sick; have a lesson plan for the TOC so that teachable time is not going to waste; plan out courses and make improvements continually; seek feedback and constructive criticism; have an interest in the teaching styles and practices of other colleagues
2. Enjoy working with students and other staff members and being actively involved beyond the classroom: participate with school spirit; sponsor a team or club; be readily available for students to get additional help and support; respect colleagues and their credentials, don't hold grudges; be approachable and friendly
3. Open and flexible to change: be ready to adapt to challenges; participate in problem solving; aide in steps for resolution; have positive outlook; give feedback instead of simply criticizing; be willing to learn and try new things
I would say I best relate to Synergistic Leadership. The culture of Vancouver, BC, is vastly diverse, and every school within our district emphasizes the importance of being able to work with a large range of types of students. From new immigrants, international students, special needs, students with disabilities, gender and sexual orientation, With Diversity as the concerning factor, I could relate, being a woman and part of a minority ethnically. Also, with the seniority factor that has affected me so much during my career, I can see that missed as an important title that distinguishes one. There are too many traditional ways in the school system today, despite the changes and the push to support diversity. There is still a long way to go to ensure all is heard equally. In most cases, I think, "Why not me?" Am I not just as able to take on the responsibility? Am I not just as qualified? Therefore, I would best describe myself as one who can collaborate and show understanding for each person's needs and interests. I may not be able to provide, as a leader, for everyone; but I will be willing to accept everyone's ideas knowing that a collective will be stronger than one.
I've been teaching the secondary level in Vancouver School Board District for 5 years now. My credentials cover all Home Economics courses: Foods & Nutrition, Textiles, Family Studies, Culinary Arts and Cafeteria Training; all Art courses: Fine/Visual Arts, Ceramics, and Photography; and Social Studies 8. I've taught at two schools, not including the ones I've Teacher-On-Called for, with full-time contracts that were temporary and permanent. Responsibilities beyond the classroom include team and club sponsorships, coaching, and promoting sustainable alternatives.
For my first year, I was a teacher-on-call for about a month and soon managed a full-time temporary position at University Hill Secondary. It was a small school with one or two teachers per department, and everyone knew everyone. I taught Visual Arts grades 8-12, Photography 11/12, Ceramics 8-10, and Social Studies 8. Although, I wasn't Social Studies qualified at the time, this experience increased my credibility, which led me to a position to teach summer school, Remedial Social Studies 8.
The second year of my teaching career, I received another full-time position teaching Culinary Arts & Cafeteria Training 11/12 at John Oliver Secondary (JO), a much larger school. During my contract, the position became available as a full-time permanent position. I reapplied for the job, and with my Vancouver Coastal Health certificate to facilitate the Food Safe Level 1 course, I received the position. Finally, at the end of my third year at this school, I was surplussed to be a permanent full-time TOC.
Before my contract ended, I had also founded and coached JO’s first dragon boat team. I sponsored girls' field hockey and boys' senior volleyball, and our highly competitive junior dance team. I established and help co-sponsor the environmental club, "Trash Talkers," which planted the school's first fruit tree, regrew a food garden, and initiated our first bottle refill station. I was involved with the staff book club to encourage reading, led a workshop for elementary students at the “Wonder of Reading,” performed at the annual “Winter Madness” to connect with the students, and catered at the Parent-Teacher conferences & "100th Year Anniversary” event.
Furthermore, during my teaching career and prior, I worked as a Youth Worker at Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, running after school programs for grade 8-12, including “Youth Council,” “Leadership 1” and “Leadership Excursions.” Our main object was to encourage students to come out once or twice a week and commit themselves to building on their leadership skills by being involved with their community through event planning, volunteering, workshops, and field trips. They were encouraged to explore the outdoors and the unfamiliar, and they were empowered to take control of their own lives to make a difference.
Environmental Club Reported
Wonder Of Reading Reported
I believe education has the responsibility to provide as many opportunities in various fields of learning as possible so that students could build on their characters, their individuality, and their talents, beliefs, and interests. This way, their future would be filled with an abundance of possibilities made from themselves when resources become rare, especially at an older age. This is speak from my own personal educational experience. I grew up with one older sibling and a single low-income mother who was an immigrant to Canada. As a kid, poverty wasn’t something you paid any attention to and wasn’t a huge factor in establishing happiness. It was the company you had along with the adventures. As I got older, keeping busy continued to be my outlet, and thank goodness for the opportunities in my elementary that allowed me to avoid the realities at home. I joined everything possible, and with sponsors, we never had to worry about costs. It was here that I went to my first and only NBA game. It was here that I received my very own soccer cleats and shin pads. It was here that I slept beside Belugas at the aquarium. It was here that I led my peers and felt important. It was here that I was accepted into an after school non-profit performing arts centre that taught me martial arts, dance, music, drama, and circus. Then in high school, I had the confidence to win talent shows, perform in school plays, start my own club, volunteer with various committees, learn to snowboard, and receive my first job in the school office. I kept wanting to be part of something because at home I felt like nothing; and the ample list of chances enabled me to find my own way through University, establish a career, and work on my Masters. Without a community that watched over its children, and supplied Christmas presents to families that didn’t have any, I wouldn’t have been able to fight off the empty pit in my heart. That is why today I need to give back whenever I can, to give another student those opportunities to make something for themselves.
Working with children and witnessing their growth in all fields of development: socially, mentally, physically, has always been my reward as a teacher. I believe that the most important aspect in education is the vast opportunities that allow students to begin establishing their identities and differentiating their own talents, beliefs, and interests. Through school, choices and responsibilities are ample and here, we can foster the beginnings of their future as well as our own. When we grow older, we need the skills and the passion to learn in order to keep going.