This past Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend my school’s Remembrance Day Assembly, I feel very privileged to be allowed to attend the event at the school and am very grateful that my FA, SA and the Program Coordinators in the TEO, arranged for and allowed me to miss class at UBC for me to attend. I am incredibly proud of my student’s presentation in the assembly. The dancers all moved beautifully and in time with each other! Which after 5 days of rehearsal is an amazing feat that many dancers I have worked with as an adult and that I still dance with could not pull off. The students of division 4 presented a beautiful image of peace, from the frozen tableaux to the spoken poem. I personally found the poem powerful, I adapted it from the book ” Peace” by Wendy Anderson Halperin, to make the poem flow with my SA and my vision of what we would like to see and how we wanted the sentiments expressed. This is a book that I would recommend to any teacher for its clear message that goes right to the core issue of peace, while Amazon recommend it for students 4-8 years of age I found that my 9-10 year students connected to it on a very deep level and we were able to have a deep discussion about peace that when I introduced this book last Monday lead to a them for the whole week, with my students really connecting to the idea of peace especially being at peace with in them selves, which the book suggests is the basis of all peace.
Some images of our class presentation are on the school’s weekly blog post, 5 Things to Roar About Nov. 14.
Yesterday was Anti-Bullying day at UBC, while it felt strange not to be on practicum on a Thursday I found the information very valuable! I was both empowered and horrified yesterday during the presentations. I found the resources and support available from Out In Schools an organization that helps schools dress and support students weather they are LGBTQ or not, helpful as it is an area I know almost nothing about, I liked the video resources they demonstrated for us during the presentation because with an older group of students ( not likely the group I am working with now, I feel that they are no where near ready for this type of discussion unless they bring it up) where some of the discussions had started to come up I would contact Out In Schools for support. I like knowing that this type of resource exists , because it allows me to present true and accurate information to the students in an approachable way and a way that they can connect to. I also found the ERASE bullying strategy to be useful knowing that there are protocols for extreme situations and that there is often a community team to support the teachers, admin and students in situations of all sorts. How ever I was horrified at some of the cyber bulling that was discussed because I had no idea that students could be that cruel to each other as it is so far beyond the scope of the bullying I observed as a student my self. I am still left wondering how to approach bullying of all sorts in my classroom in a preventative way. My personal view is that while bullying and conflicts between students will happen, it is more important to create a climate where the students feel , safe, cared for and valued with both the adults and their peers. I am hoping that creating positive caring relationships and teaching students how to work through conflict on their own and with adult help will limit the bullying that occurs. I am also looking forward to seeing how the restorative justice and peace circle activities that my practicum class is participating in will affect the way in which students handle conflict and how it impacts the incidences of bullying in the classroom.
I am finding it strange to be on campus most of the time again after being in the classroom for the last 2 weeks. I feel like I have begun to build real personal connections with my students in the past weeks and am nervous that I will lose those connections as I will be in the classroom less. I found the positive energy in my classroom contagious, I could come in , not in the best mood and by the time we were done our morning warm up was smiling and happy. I truly miss both my students and my SA while I am on campus and have thought about the words one of my young gentlemen said to me when I let him know that I would not be there the next day, ” Don’t you like us Miss Younger? I like you , what did we do wrong?” I was honest as I believe that we should always be honest with our students that I really want to be there but I have to go to UBC to take some more courses. I was truly touched by this young man’s words, it makes me feel like I have connected with at least one student, and am hopeful that maybe I have connected to other students in the class.