Together we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro
As part of ECMP 355, each of us was given two classes (at a minimum) to mentor. Some people are having amazing success with their mentorship project, others not so much. I fall into that latter category. From what I have been reading in her blog, Robin has been having a good experience. You can see Marcy’s experience here and here, Christa’s here, Dione’s tutorial for her mentorship class here. There are many more that I could share that are really connecting with their mentorship classes.
Unfortunately for me this connection has not happened for me, partly because of my own shortcomings. Living in my small town for the majority of the time over the last three weeks has meant that I only have access to slow dial-up internet. While I love spending time at home, not having access to the internet is a challenge that I am not sure I could deal with on a large scale…yes I know that may sound silly but when you have things that need to get done (papers, assignments, tech tasks, etc) not having the internet is a challenge. Throw in getting a new puppy, having to move three times over the next month (including from the home we lived in for 14 years), having to put my dog down, painting in my brother’s new house, and tyring to get ready for my competitive golf season and I have barely had time to sit and think over the last thee weeks. Okay enough of my rant, back to the mentorship thing.
I was at the Saskatchewan Business Teachers’ Association Annual Conference this past weekend and had a great time reconnecting with many of the teachers that I have met over the last four years of my education. Not only that I was able to get back to my old stomping grounds, A.E. Peacock in Moose Jaw where I completed my internship. While there I was talking to an instructor from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) about the job that I have taken for the fall teaching in Northern Saskatchewan. She teaches 100% Aboriginal students, I will be teaching probably very close to 100% Aboriginal students. We put our heads together and all of a sudden we are talking about how we can connect these two populations. I have heard many times how Aboriginal students do not see role models of their own cultural background in schools or in successful positions. While I may not be able to directly give that to them as a white female, maybe this connection with Aboriginal students at the post-secondary level would give them that opportunity. The SIIT instructor also thought that this would be an excellent experience for both groups of students and this might be able to happen through blogs. Each student could create their own blog and then be paired up to work on projects across the distances or they could just communicate through their blogs. There are nine SIIT locations across the province that I could make connections with for my students, possibly in different areas of interest for my students. Ideally if I end up teaching any Business Education classes there would be an awesome partnership as they focus on business and technology courses. Even if I don’t end up teaching Business Education classes I think there is a real possibility here to make an awesome connection for my students.
I also think that this will be an awesome experience for me, the SIIT instructor taught in Prince Albert for 5 years and has been at SIIT since leaving there. Her entire education career has been made up teaching mostly Aboriginal students. I am a new teacher that will be in a new world up North, in a setting that will be totally new. Not only will my students be engaged in a mentorship project but I will be too. I will be able to share my experiences with the SIIT isntructor and she can do the same for me. I can learn from the experiences that she has had teaching Aboriginal students. What a great resource for me to have in my first years of teaching, or throughout my career. Also connecting with her students maybe I can get some insight into what they found successful in their education careers, I can get some pointers on how to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives, how to approach elders, etc. The possibilities are endless! And these posisbilities have left me very excited about what next year will hold and the success that I can have in my first year of teaching.
I am sure that there are going to be growing pains, that there will be trials and tribulations, that there will be great successes as well. But that is part of being an educator, part of taking risks to be a better teacher and make learning more engaging for my students, part of wanting to make a difference. So it will start in the fall…I will keep you updated!
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