One Toronto school recently has banned the holy trinity of confections: candy, chocolate and pop. From a child's perspective, it can feel like snack-shaming. It almost seems as though the principal is leading a group of lithe bullies, chastising the embarrassed student for unknowingly smuggling a contraband item.
We are fooling ourselves if we think that full-day kindergarten is anything more than a glorified babysitting service. A four- or five-year-old child may benefit from a few hours of schooling each day, but six hours straight? Is this really for the benefit of the child, or the parents and well-paid teaching staff?
I have come to realize that my initial understandings about inclusive education and what it entails were wrong in that they were off-course as to the desired intent of inclusionary teaching. My initial belief was that inclusive education was okay, so long as it was equal. I now realize that inclusion doesn't need to mean pure equality.
To teach is to forever be a part of something bigger. Is to forever be a piece of that sacred puzzle which creates something profound from that which is very small. That is the beauty of the life of a child. To teach is to touch lives. To listen. To lift. To motivate. To compel. To inspire. To encourage. To enrich. And above all, to teach is to use one's life to make a difference.
Since all the blogging world is in a tailspin over Miley Cyrus and her antics on MTV's VMAs, it might be a great time to shift the focus away from Miley and the like. What kids need are adults who are invested in helping them grow their character along with their brain. Am I saying that Miley's family failed her? Not really. But I know this to be true: teachers can reach students and inspire them in ways that celebrity cannot.
Heading back to school after summer vacation can be stressful for kids. A lot can happen to a young person's body over summer vacation. Some kids will experience a growth spurt, while others will need a little time to catch up. Here are a few things you can do to help your kids start the school year off with confidence.
Daily updates of the scandals washing over politicians from Montreal to Ottawa to Toronto have some officials looking more like Clay Davis of The Wire's Baltimore than much else. Where have all the leaders gone? Part of the problem, surely, is who we deify. We are guilty of perpetuating a celebrity-obsessed culture, whether those figures drop rhymes, dimes, or guidelines.
I am listening to the rants of irresponsible media outlets. I am listening to the more insightful and sophisticated comments of more reputable news sources. I watch in horror with the rest of the world at seemingly frequent terrorist threats, and actualizations. And then I sit in my classroom and listen to my increasingly divergent student body speak their minds. I have no response. I am conflicted by my own personal, cultural, religious, and even gender bias. I can't figure out if the female student who lived in Afghanistan is speaking truth or speaking from the heart of terror.
Fact is, Alberta's red-ink budgets have much more to do with real per-capita program spending being near historic highs. This also explains why so many Albertans "hiss" at the notion of a sales tax. To understand why the spending side of the government ledger deserves more attention, consider some statistics about Alberta's program spending, ones that take into account Alberta's population growth and inflation rate.
Contrary to what a variety of columnists and MPPs would have you believe, the public sector is not the enemy. You are the public, and your servants want to serve you in exchange for appropriate compensation and benefits. So to the Government and Opposition I say this: language matters. We are not terrorists. And you're either with us or against us.
No one goes to teacher's college because he or she wants to hide with children in a dark closet, or step into the path of an armed madman. But we don't choose the society we live in, and sadly, this comes with the job. So teachers do so rightly (I feel obliged to say) armed not with guns, but with the kindness, compassion, and sense of duty that can only be found in one's heart.
We sit, huddled tightly together in the cramped space of a corner. The blinds are darkly drawn, the door is shut. Locked. Little bodies press in close together to the wall. I place my body as a barrier along the tips of their tiny feet, all the while smiling into anxious children's eyes and modelling breathing.