“Just don’t go gay”- a conversation with a child 

It’s been a very long time since I have taken the time to blog. My life this summer has become so busy and exhausting, which is how I imagine a teacher’s life feels. I have been working two jobs and one of them is at a day camp. This job is really testing my ability to interact with children and how to deal with difficult situations, which is essential for the field I’m going into.  I’m also gaining skills with collaborating with coworkers, whether that is coming up with an activity together or asking for advice on what works for individual children that they have worked with. I didn’t make this post to talk about what I have been doing for my job, however.

I wrote this blog post because I wanted to talk about a conversation that I had with a child the other day. It started out with the child asking me if I was married and I responded by saying no and that I was not in any rush to be married. The child responded by saying, “just don’t go gay”. I then asked the child why they thought this way and explained that we need to be kind to everyone, even if their beliefs are different. I’ve thought about this situation quite a bit over the past couple of days and I wonder if I should say more. In my past classes, we’ve talked about social justice and how we can spread awareness and encourage acceptance. I’ve been so confident that I could do it, also, but I felt awkward in that situation. I can’t just change this child’s beliefs that they have had throughout their life in their catholic household.

So I guess I’m making this post to ask others about what they would have done in this situation. How would you talk about social justice if it goes totally against their religious beliefs?

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Personal Identity and Teacher Identity

It’s the beginning of a new school year, which means I should probably start blogging again!

A topic we talked about in one of our classes this week is whether or not personal identity and teacher identity should be separated or combined.  On one hand, you can’t change who you are, and on the other, certain aspects like language, casual drinking, etc. need to be separate from school.  I remember thinking it was so strange to see a teacher outside of class when I was in elementary school and high school.  Why did I think this way?  Did I think that teachers did not leave their houses or leave the school?  I think this is because I mainly only got to see their teacher identities, opposed to their personal identities.  So when teachers go out in public, they have to be conscious about how they are acting and thinking.  I have a friend that was doing her internship last year and she was always worried about how she was acting because she saw her students everywhere.  So where do you draw the line when it comes to your personal identity intertwining with your teacher identity?

In an article called, “Sense of Self: Embracing your Teacher Identity” by Carrie Donavon, she mentions, “we employ many of the techniques of actors, but in order to be most effective, our teaching must not be artificial”.  I’m not sure if I agree with a comparison to actors because they are the masters of making people believe anything based on their ability to act out an imaginary situation.  In this way, it it seems that by being an actor, we have to be someone we’re not–someone artificial.  But, as the quote says, we also have to not be artificial.  The standards of how a teacher should look and act is definitely a bump in the discussion of if our two identities should mesh, based on this point.  Especially as a new teacher, educators are very conscious about how they are portraying themselves, and they may forget to bring in their own personal qualities into the classroom because they are trying to become the “perfect teacher” and they are trying to avoid conflict.

The activities outside of work are another thing.  Obviously, teachers should not be heavily drinking or swearing in public, but are there other things that we need to avoid doing? Based on the stories I’ve heard about teachers going out in public, they have to go to extreme measures to even have a casual drink.  Do we need to avoid going out in public in fear of our words becoming misconstrued or our decisions looked down upon?  If a teacher goes out with his/her child and a parent of one of his/her students disagrees with their parenting style, will that affect their professional image?  I feel like every personal glimpse into a teacher’s life seems like the end of the world and that is strange to me.  Obviously, teachers are humans, too.  They have personal lives and a life in the classroom.

What do you think about this issue about separating teacher identity and personal identity?  Do you think they should be completely separate or have a healthy balance of the two?

New Year, Improved Me

happy new year

Picture retrieved from Sally on Flickr

Since we are now into the year 2014, I thought that I should reflect on my progress with last year’s resolutions and the resolutions I’m setting up for myself this year!  If you are wondering why my title isn’t “New Year, New Me”, it’s because I don’t believe that statement to be realistic.  You will always be the same you!  New Year goals just make you an improved you!  Last year, I was getting to a point where negativity was ruling my life, which resulted in a negative view of myself. I made a goal to learn to love myself in 2013, which includes positivity and life changes.  This would be particularly difficult for me, since I’ve spent most of my life being self conscious and shy.  Here are some of the steps I took in order to lead a happier, more positive life:

  1. Accepting Compliments: Whenever someone would give me a compliment, I would say something like, “No, you’re way prettier” or “No, I gained weight”.  A thing that I needed to realize was that these people are just being kind, so you need to return the kindness by responding positively.  Once you accept these compliments, you start to believe that they are true, which leads to a way more positive outlook on your life.
  2. Smile at Yourself and Smile at Others: I noticed that people walking through the halls of the University are often grumpy looking and sad, including myself.  I now smile at people if they give me any kind of eye contact and, in turn, they usually smile back.  I always feel happier when I see others smiling!  Also, when you are meeting up with friends or classmates, greet them with a smile!  This may sound really weird, but smiling at yourself in the mirror does help.  It also sounds super vain, but it has proved to be the opposite.  Seeing myself smiling made myself happier throughout the day, especially on the days that I had morning classes.  I think I realized that I look more approachable to new friends if I look happy and confident!
  3. Surround Yourself with Positivity and Positive People: I feed off of the energy of the environments and people that I am around, so that is not particularly beneficial if I’m around negativity.  The friends I surround myself with now are mostly positive daily and that really helps with my own positivity!
  4. Stop caring about what others think: This was a big challenge for me.  I would often get very worked up over how I was portraying myself and how I was acting.  I wasn’t being myself, so I knew that had to change.  I realized that if someone doesn’t like the way that I am, then they don’t deserve to be in my life.  I’ll be eternally happy, just as long as I’m being true to myself and my beliefs.
  5. Cut out toxic people in your life that don’t fully appreciate you: This is a big one.  I think the word “cut” might be a little harsh, but it gets to the point.  I don’t fully cut people out of my life, I just become less concerned with communication if I’m not getting any recognition in return.  You need to cut out people in a positive way.  Completely ignoring these people will result in a negative and awkward interaction at one point.  Just because you aren’t the closest of friends anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t be civil with each other.

MY GOALS FOR 2014:

  1. Further my goal of learning to love myself
  2. Work out and eat healthier: Instead of thinking about being weight loss, I want to have a special focus on becoming a healthier me!
  3. Speaking out more in classroom settings
  4. Make more of an effort to visit family and friends

That’s all I can think of for now! If I think of more, I will add to the list!  What are your resolutions for 2014?

A Productive Start to my Spring/Summer!

I am truly amazed with myself because I have managed to check off two of the things I wanted to get done after finals.  The first thing was to clean my room.  That room has been a complete disaster for so long and I somehow gathered all this motivation to clean it.  Now it is getting painted and is getting new flooring and I’m so excited! I think I’m starting to realize more that genuine hard work will pay off in the end… My decision to clean up that mess is resulting in a new, pretty and improved space for me to enjoy!  Another thing on my list was to read more.  I have been trying to read The Hunger Games trilogy for almost a year now and I’m halfway through the last book currently!  I used to read a lot and I miss the joy that it brings me!  The only downside to the start of my Spring is that I sprained my ankle AGAIN.  My clumsiness is ridiculous and it’s preventing me from doing the other things on my list, like exercising.

Ever since I got my acceptance letter into the Faculty of Education, everything seems so much easier and rewarding!  I’m even cleaning around the house more and actually cooking food for my family!  I’m excited to see my other achievements and goals unravel and I just know more great things will happen!

The Moment of Truth

I haven’t posted in a while, but I have some very important news…  Yesterday, my mother called me and told me that I received a letter in the mail from the University of Regina… I can’t even explain how nervous and terrified I was.  My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing, and my mind was all over the place!  I couldn’t decide on if I wanted her to read the result to me or if I wanted her to wait for me to arrive back home.  I’m currently studying and preparing for finals, so rejection is the last thing I need right now.  My mother opened the letter anyways, without my permission I must add, and……

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I GOT IN!! You are now looking at a future PreK-5 teacher! I am so incredibly excited and happy!! I can’t even remember the last time I have been THIS happy!! The funny thing is, I expected my reaction to be a lot different than the way it was!  I expected to be screaming with joy and jumping up and down.  Instead, I bawled for about 5 minutes straight!  Apparently, I cry  when I’m really sad and I also cry when I’m really happy! This reminds me of Kristen Bell on Ellen.  I now can relate to her hilarious experience and I realized I also have an emotional scale haha.  If you haven’t seen the video, here it is: .  I’m so excited to start my journey and learn all sorts of new things!  I want to thank my family and friends for all the support they have provided me throughout the years and I also want to thank the people who have provided me with opportunities to gain experience with youth this summer!

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

We had a presenter in my class today, and something he said did not sit with me well.  He said something along the lines of, “If you want to get a lot of money and live a happy life, then become an engineer!”  His philosophy in life is completely different from my own and I was shocked to hear this in class, especially in a Fine Arts class since a lot of the students are studying in completely different fields than engineering.  He is completely entitled to his own opinion, so I wasn’t as angry about it when I actually thought about it.  He continued on to talk about how he is left-brained because he sees the world in a logical manner, while people like artists are more right-brained and see the world differently than he does.  This really explained why I was so opposed to his views today because I guess I see the world in a more artsy, creative way, rather than a logical and structural way.

I guess I have to realize that many other people have different goals in life and I should value their opinions.  Everyone comes from a different background and thinks in different ways.  Many people have the goal to earn a lot of money or some may be passionate about a career that just so happens to make good money.  My only concern with this is that a person may become so invested in getting a career that makes a lot of money, that they forget about their own happiness along the way.  Some of the richest people may become the most unhappy people because they may not enjoy what they do for a living.  A teacher’s salary is not as high as many other careers, but my goal in life is not to earn a lot of money, but to enrich the minds of children and make a difference in someone’s life.

I believe that happiness is not measured by the amount of money you make or the amount (or quality) of the education you received.  All I want to do with my life is to inspire, educate and bring happiness to others!  When I see the smiles and hear the laughter from others, I know that I’m doing something right and that is enough payment.  I really do believe that laughter is the best medicine!  Obviously, you need to earn enough money to survive, but I don’t think the pay cheques should become more important than your career or passions.

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Be a Tigger, Not an Eeyore!

I went to a presentation skills workshop offered here at the university the other day and one piece of advice the presenter mentioned really stuck with me.  She was explaining that everyone is either an Eeyore or a Tigger, Eeyore being the lazy and negative one, and Tigger being the upbeat and positive one.  She states that when you are presenting, you should channel your inner Tigger to captivate and deliver a fantastic presentation.  I believe that Tigger is in all of us and we should work to bring that side out a little more often.  Maybe not to the extreme of the highly excitable nature of this Winnie the Pooh character, but everyone’s interpretation of their personal Tigger will be different.

When I become a teacher one day, channeling this side of myself will prove to be very important on a daily basis.  If I want my students to be excited about a lesson, I need to reflect my optimism about it first.  My attitude and outlook need to be positive in order to create a great environment for my students.  If my attitude is negative, students won’t be motivated to learn and they will not have the best view of me as a person.  This bad image will make a person unapproachable and uncomfortable to converse with.

I absolutely loved the message my presenter sent because I can apply this to my future teaching and my daily life!  Imagine how wonderful and happy this world would be if we just thought positively and optimistically!  To be honest, I’m the happiest when I act like my usual, over-excitable self!  I also need to surround myself around positive energies.  Lucky for me, my two roommates are perky and positive, which keeps me going everyday!  So take the challenge! Be a Tigger, not an Eeyore!

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