Currere

Regression:

The year was 2007, I was a grade three student at St. Josaphat elementary school. The classroom was bright and airy, it was nearly summertime and students were restless. Decorated with posters, the room was filled with colour. We were discussing simple math, but it was encompassed with little explanation from the teacher. The students were not understanding this simple subtraction concept. After each question, the teacher responded with nearly the same descriptive answer. I raised my hand and the teacher assumed I was another student whom failed to understand the concept. “Yes Natalie?”, she spoke with frustration. I proceeded to explain the problem with a new view, one a child could understand, one I could understand. I simplified the mathematics and created a method for solving these subtraction problems. The entire room said “oh” with much more enthusiasm and understanding compared to minutes ago. My teacher was shocked, how was I able to so quickly switch this concept our class struggled on to something everyone in the room understood. “The Natalie Strategy”, she said, “we will call this the Natalie Strategy”. The next day, a poster with my explanation joined the many other colourful pieces in the room. Inside me brewed an interest for a subject I had previously been indifferent towards. My class continued to use this strategy for the remainder of the year, and it was carried into other years as well. I remember the smile which stretched ear to ear after my discovery. It was one I will always remember.

Although I do not love all math, my interest in all subjects significantly increased after this event. Confidence was instilled in me that day as I discovered I was fully capable to participate in math and science based activities, things deemed subjects for boys and men at the time. This also influenced and increased my passion for teaching as I was able and am continuously able to regurgitate knowledge with various strategies and explanation catered to each individual. This was a very positive experience in my life and is still remembered by my classmates and teachers. I am proud of myself for speaking up and thankful my teacher allowed my explanation to be expressed in the classroom.

Progressive:

The walls and floors are white, the room quite large. Tables fill the room with a long desk at the front. A whiteboard and smartboard line the front wall. Markers of all colours are placed in a cup-holder beside the board. On the other side of the room, windows shine into the room. Plants of all types line the window sills; cacti, succulents, herbs, small fruits and vegetables grow and flourish with the natural light. A skeleton at the front lays still, fish on the side benches glub and bubble. Glassware, specimens, and textbooks fill the upper shelves lining the sides of the room. Posters of all colors of the rainbow hang on the wall demonstrating cell cycles and systems, and bright three-dimensional animal and plant cell models sit on top of the shelves. My desk is meticulously organized, everything has its perfect place. The pencils, pens, and highlighters share a cup beside my laptop which I instruct off of using slideshows. The technology is intertwined, as I project all of my information onto the smartboard behind me. Hanging from the ceiling are many small, three-dimensional, plush microbe and cell models.

The room is vibrant, filled with energy and excitement. The task of the hour is a dissection, for most of the students this is their first. The fetal pigs smell of formaldehyde and preservatives. The scalpels are cold, silver, and sharp. I have given the students an outline of what to search for in the body, but most of it is exploration. I walk around the room; the nitrile gloves cause my hands to sweat at an abnormal rate. Some students are filled with disgust, yet fascinated to see the inner body of an organism for the first time. Overall, the tone is thrilled, nervous, and positive. I see small hearts, intestines, and lungs on the dissection trays at the tables. Roughly thirty students are in the room for this biology thirty course. It is fifth period and I am excited to go home to my family. I am beginning to wonder what my husband and I will cook for supper.

I am here, I am happy, and I am doing something I have always aspired to do. For I remember my first dissection and I am overjoyed to relive it through the lenses of an educator, parent, and wife. This time, more mature, more knowledgeable, but still willing to learn. I learn from the students each day and hope I inspire them as much as they inspire me.

Analytical and Synthetical:

At this moment, I am a young woman. I love to engage with youth and be involved. I believe in inspiring young individuals, especially in the areas of science and empowerment among girls. In my spare time, I play and coach ringette. I love animals of all varieties. Marine animals are extremely interesting to me, so are sloths. Science of all kinds has grasped my interest, and I cannot wait to teach it. I am roughly five feet, five inches tall with shoulder-length brown hair, blue eyes, and a slim build. I am wearing a plain, neutral shirt with jeans and sneakers. I try my best each and every day to keep a positive attitude and see the best in everyone. I carry myself with compassion, kindness, empathy, passion, and grit. I am highly organized, sometimes a bit too organized. I am humorous and love to laugh. I also love activity and health as I strive to be physically active and eat nutritionally each day. My family is a very important piece of my life, as is my relationship and friendships. I hope to have a family of my own one day where I can continue to be very family orientated.

My favourite weather is sunshine and clear skies. However, I do not like the forecast to be too warm. I feel best when the temperature is around the twenty-five degrees Celsius mark. I hope to travel the world and fill my entire passport with stamps from many countries. Wanderlust has taken over me; plane tickets are what I spend my earnings on. I love culture and diverse cuisine. I want to take an Italian cooking class in Rome, and eat pretzels in Germany. I want to see and do everything. I am quite adventurous and tend to take risks. I love zip-lining and rock climbing. My favourite place so far is the ocean and coastline. I love the breeze and warm air as well as the sound of the waves. There is so much to see in those vast, never-ending, deep blue waters and I want to leave no territory unexplored.

Science is a very important area of my life. I enjoy researching new topics and learning about various biological and chemical processes. I also enjoy art and expression. Colouring and painting are therapeutic to me. I tend to steer clear of literature but have recently began reading again if it involves science. I also dislike some species of insects, especially when they invade my house. Maple bugs seem to crawl through the smallest cracks into my space, often they overstay their welcome. I do not appreciate their attendance. I do enjoy insects in nature, as well as birds, small rodents, large animals, plants, and all living things. I have a large heart for animals and their habitats. I also enjoy watching reality television, and I currently have one show to watch for each weeknight. I often find solace driving my car and listening to soft music of the alternative or R&B variety. A hot shower gives me the same comfort. I appreciate evenings where I can get to rest early, hoping to sleep upwards of nine hours each night. I would consider myself neither a night owl nor an early bird. I am perhaps what one may call a sleepy head.

I believe in the goodness of all, I believe in a world without violence, and I believe in honouring diversity as well as inclusion. I have always appreciated the school environment and have always enjoyed school. From a young age, I was encouraged to become a teacher. Teachers have instilled confidence in me from an early age and I hope to do the same to my future students. I love the inspiration and motivation children give me to be my best self. I hope I can spread those feelings as my life continues.

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Placement Reflection

I recently completed my first placement at W. F. Ready School. What a fantastic experience!! This was my first time teaching in a classroom setting, aside from delivering workshops during EYES camp. I was assigned the role of a Learning Resource Teacher where I was instructed in aspects of inclusion and diversity. I worked primarily with grade four to eight students who had cognitive exceptions. This was such a rewarding task as I not only learned valuable information about the learning resource role and teaching, but also about inclusive education and it’s presence in classrooms.

The most rewarding piece of my placement was certainly seeing these students accomplish their goals. I helped students with literacy, science, math, and speech preparation all of which had excellent outcomes.  I was pleased to see them succeed after all of the hard work they put into the task. Often, I would scribe or write down their thoughts on paper so they can get their thoughts onto paper, I would break down their assignment into shorter aspects or smaller sections, or would simply help them stay focused. I discovered many strategies during this time which I will apply to my future classroom to incorporate inclusion.

Of course working with students who require accommodations or modifications of any kind can be difficult, but I was fortunate enough to work solely with students who’s needs were high functioning. This means they could be incorporated into a traditional classroom setting but required just a bit of extra help. I did not personally experience any issues but I did witness a few outbursts of anger and frustration. These were handled by an educational assistant but it was an upsetting time. Peers and teachers at the school are very good at recognizing the needs of these students but sometimes these outbursts are out of anyones control. It is important everyone has the knowledge of how to calm these students if a situation arises.

Overall, this experience has given me great experience, knowledge, and understanding. I gained skills in classroom management and social skills when interacting with children and coworkers, became more inclusive in my education practices, and had the privilege of working in a terrific school setting. I will always remember my placement at W.F. Ready and my cooperating teacher, who was amazing nonetheless. I am grateful for such a positive experience and am thankful for how it has shaped me into a better educator.