This case study response will discuss my group’s initial reaction about the situation, what assumptions we made and how curriculum can prepare our students. I will also discuss some of the main ideas of my group and why they are meaningful to me. I will continue to reflect and I will explain any other questions I may still have. I will describe what I believe my individual commitments would be and how I would make a difference in the school.
Our initial response for this case study was simply panic, upset and apprehension. One of our responses was panic because we felt this would be quite a difficult and complex situation to deal with. There would be many different aspects to take into consideration and we weren’t sure where to begin. We were upset because that would be an emotional time for teachers and students. The school would have been a safe place for students and the teachers would have devoted much of their time and life into making the school what it was today. We were apprehensive about the future, we were fearful of the unknown and we did not know where this merge would take us or how this would affect us as teachers as well as our students.
Although this situation was only a case study we became genuine characters in this case study. We were teachers at the Buffalo Ridge School and we were fearful for the future of our students. Some of the assumptions we had was that as teachers we wouldn’t feel comfortable at this new school and we assumed our students wouldn’t feel welcome and inclusion would not occur very easily. This was meaningful to me because throughout the years we have learned about teaching for social justice and understanding that privilege exists in our world. This is a great case study that has the potential to bring out the worst in people. In my mind, this merge created a major conflict between two groups of people. If I were to take on the perspective for a minute of the other school; this situation could look quite different. Imagine, a group of students larger than the student body already at your school coming in. Personally, regardless of who the new students were, I would feel threatened and feel the need to “protect” my school. As a group, we were fearful that the new school our students would be going to would have very stereotypical views on Aboriginal people and we would need to educate them and encourage them to deconstruct why we have these views.
As I reflected on this case study I wondered, if our children were taught about racism, privilege, stereotypes and our true history would we have so much bullying and prejudice in schools? Although we legally need to follow curriculum as well as include Treaty Education in our teaching, how much accountability for teachers actually exists? We know that all those topics are included in the curriculum but how can we ensure ALL teachers are teaching to the curriculum and their views are not getting in the way of educating our youth. I will have to have faith that as teachers, they are doing what is ethically just and teaching in the best interest of their students. I believe teaching students about all of these topics will be my job as a teacher and I will need to surround myself with other professionals who have similar views as I do. I believe teaching the students in this case study about those topics would make the merge much easier for the students and it would prepare them for the future. They would be able to deconstruct stereotypes and begin this merge with an open mind.
I plan to test my assumptions through experiential learning. By learning through my own experiences and the experiences of others I am able to reflect and also research issues that are meaningful and relevant to me. As a teacher at the Buffalo Ridge School, one of my main duties would be to building a school environment that is safe and inclusive for all students. I believe it will take collaboration of both groups of students and teachers. When we work together and have a common goal, we are able to learn about each other and also from each other. The first step would be meeting as a group of teachers and ensuring that both groups of teachers understand the fears and the hopes one another have. By doing this we would facilitate positive outcomes for our students and our students overall would have a better school experience.
Overall, one duty of all teachers would be to create a safe environment for all students. My assumption would be there would be conflict between groups of students and this would lead to school fights and bullying. Through both of those situations, students would deal with the consequences of that which would have a negative effect on their learning. As many at-risk youth have a high drop out rate, it would be the duty of the teachers to encourage all of the students to stay in school and make healthy decisions. As a school, we would need to get to the root of the problem and offer supports to students. These supports could be new school groups or clubs or even the opportunity to speak to a school guidance counsellor. The teachers involved would need to tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of all students. It would be beneficial for the students to be a part of this process and allow them to voice their opinion about what is important to them. As educators, we would hope for the best outcome from this situation. It would be our job to model what working together, respect and hard work look like. As a two groups of teaching staff coming together it is a great opportunity to be positive role models in this major change.
In conclusion, although this would be a very complex situation, it would be very manageable if everyone worked together. The school would need to change and adapt to meet the needs of the new students but ensure the needs of the other students are being met. Even though my group was very fearful and anxious about the situation, we all agreed that it has the potential to have a very positive outcome. Collaboration would be key to this case study and change would not happen overnight. It would take time to build relationships with one another and understand one another’s point of view. The school curriculum would need to be tailored and ensure that students are learning about racism. Educators would need to lead by example and demonstrate to the students that diversity is important and diversity is what makes a school special and unique. This case study has made me reflect on what is being taught in schools and how that has an effect on other aspects of a student’s life. It has been a useful experience to see through the lens of Buffalo Ridge School and understand their perspective of this merge.
****Reflection & Commentary****
Q Avenue: bullying, classroom management and student behaviour
Throughout my field experience this semester I have learned a lot about classroom management along with student behaviour. I have created several Professional Targets that are listed under Professional Development. All of those targets I believe will support my further development in those specific areas. I had a wonderful pre-internship experience and I am very proud of myself regarding my evaluation. One part that stands out to me and is linked with classroom management is regarding sternness. My partner and I believed we needed to have a strong confident presence in the classroom to be taken seriously by grade 9 students. We had interested and engaged learners however we had many classroom management challenges with these students such as side conversations. As my partner and I post-conferenced after teaching our Health 9 lessons we realized at times we may have been too demanding or uptight with our students. As a new teacher I am struggling to find balance. I believe one needs to receive respect in the classroom to give respect. I am very confident that when I have my own classroom I will be able to build stronger relationships with these students and therefore not always seem so “stern”.
Another challenge arose during our pre-internship that we knew we would encounter but we still remained a bit fearful of the situation. Bullying! One student began speaking poorly of one student, then a student became the mediator and went back and forth from bully to bullied. The “bully” said he would “fight him later”. We intervened and had a discussion with the student who was interested in fighting the other student. He was not angry we had a conversation about any issues and discussed what will happen in the future if this situation arises again. Although this student didn’t push anyone into the locker or anything stereotypical it was still bullying. Bullying is so prevalent in our schools and it frightens me that educators and teachers will not step up and make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated.