What is a cause that you are passionate about and why?
I feel like this comes as no surprise to anyone, but education. And this might actually take some heat, but I’m going to say it: Canadian education.
Yes I understand that there are other countries that we can build schools in and send lots of money to in order to help those children out, but also, like we need to take a hot minute and look at our own system and see how we can improve it.
First of all, the treatment of teachers. I will never work for the public board because of how teachers are treated. How they are never offered good contracts, and how they are seen as horrible people for demanding a fair treatment. And ya know, it’s usually not about their salaries. Teachers here have ok salaries and great pensions. Something I will never get working at a private school. BUT they have to fight for decent things like prep time, and having sick days. Do you get sick days at your work? Do you have to provide a doctor’s note for every single one of them? A friend of mine works for the Catholic board in Toronto and their new proposed contract will force them to provide a doctor’s note for every single day off. Oh, she takes a day to take her kids to the dentist? She needs a doctor’s note. She just is burnt out and needs a day of rest? Doctor’s note. It’s insulting.
Secondly, we need to have a more inclusive way of teaching about the THREE groups that make up Canada. We have lessons in English, we are forced to learn French, but our students learn basically nothing about the Aboriginal culture or way of life when they are the last third of our Canadian identity. It’s really sad and having one day to recognize this (Orange t-shirt Day) is not enough. And yes some of the older grades do learn about how Aboriginals have been mistreated in the past, but how they live and thrive and keep their culture alive today is sorely overlooked.
But mostly, I want to address how things are taught in schools. After starting at my new job in September, I have come to see just how incredibly biased and unrealistic the current education system is. Working with my little class of mostly neuro-divergent little darlings has taught me a LOT about how to teach and present information and how unfortunately a lot of them will not be able to rejoin a neuro-typical classroom just based on how their little brains work and what is best for them. Like it’s the goal for all my kiddos to be able to rejoin public school, but the harsh reality is that the public system is not set up to allow these kids to excel in class or in life and that makes me so angry. One student’s previous teacher told the parents that the student was incapable of learning. Full stop. And 5 months in my class shows that is a BOLD faced lie. All children are capable of learning and this pressure to conform to neuro-typical ways of learning is honestly a HUGE detriment to our society.
If I ever leave my current job (which right now seems very unlikely because I love it even though the struggles) I will be taking a lot of my newly acquired knowledge and pedagogy with me and implementing it within whatever classroom I move to. It is just the most amazing system which allows all learners to succeed.