Fellow friends, as we care deeply and mourn the great losses of our friends in far-flung parts of this great nation, as we grieve for Fort McMurray -- as we grieve for others: may we never forget that it is the care that binds our hearts together, knitted tightly and perhaps even eternally with cords of love and compassion.
Kindergarten is not what it used to be. It traditionally was a place with time for inquiry, discovery, creativity, invention, innovation, imagination and wonder. With the shifts in thinking, it has become in some jurisdictions an environment subjected to the perils of standardization, conformity and primarily cognitive-focused learning. If full-day kindergarten is ever to truly be a success story, it must return to its roots and core values.
Children need time to imagine, play, create, be curious, read, write and dream. Children need time to explore and discover. Children quite simply need time. And without that time, they will become anxious, agitated, fearful, worried, nervous, restless, apprehensive and uneasy. The state of their mental health becomes a huge concern merely based on the decrease of time they are allotted during the school day within which to function as typical four and five-year-olds do: with child-like, playful abandon.
As necessary and significant as teachers know curriculum is to our work and calling: you must also realize that we will throw it all under the bus if it means assisting a child. We will put it all on the back burner if our students need us to teach them life lessons that will help them be better friends, better citizens, better people.
Teachers: we have this year to write a part for ourselves in a child's life. To write a scene for ourselves in a student's life. To influence a young person, a teenager, a young adult in the writing of their life account. It might seem a small role. But we are crucial in that we are those who can make a difference.
Sometimes as teachers I feel we forget that we have priorities. There are some things more important than others. Curriculum is necessary, but if the house is on fire, that document is not coming with me. Outcomes are necessary but if the room is under threat, I will not give them a moment's notice. Lesson plans are useful, but if a child's life is at risk, that carefully laid-out plan for my day would be the last thing on my mind.
You've heard of the recent attacks on women's healthcare in the States, but in Canada, we're feeling the impact too. For 50 years, Planned Parenthood Ottawa has been there for our community, providing unbiased counselling, education, advice and support. But it's become increasingly hard to do our work. Planned Parenthood is under attack, by people who oppose healthcare for women and the trans community, who don't want youth to get the education they need, and who dedicate themselves to cutting our funding every way they can.
I am coming to realize more and more all the time that the overall public perception of teachers on the outside is at times negative. That perception is characterized by whininess, over-pay, indulgence, laziness, self-centeredness and servility. This image will probably remain until change occurs, both within and without education. Teachers are at times unaware of the image we occasionally present to the public. Perhaps it is time that we as teachers begin to re-invent this negative image
Dear teachers, Quite honestly, we can hardly believe the school year is quickly coming to a close. But we also realize that this last mile toward the finish line is a treacherous one. This is the reality of the work you teachers do. Believe us: your acts of kindness do not fall by the wayside unnoticed.
As you can imagine, many university teachers loathe this site completely. In fact, it's not so much a teaching evaluation, as a review of the student experience in the class. It completely ignores all important contexts of where the course fits in the program of study, and why the teaching methods chosen were used, resources available to the teacher to help teach the course, and other necessary background information.
While I clean shelves and wipe down cupboards, readying things for those little bodies and minds, I ready my own mind. Clean out the cobwebs, so to speak. I need my head to be in the game, need my thoughts to be organized. Need my mind to be clear. For when all is said and done, it's not the classroom that houses the potential and possibility to make this year the best one ever for my incoming class: it's me.