Unit 2

EDLM 525: Examining Self as an Educator
Grade 12 Grad…Finally!!

My father was a military educator. As a result of attending 14 schools in three provinces to graduate from Secondary School, I lost faith in the system. It took me 5 years, three provinces and five schools to complete grades 10, 11, and 12. I tried to drop out. My parents convinced me to go back to school.

Jocoby-Senghor, Sinclair & Shelton (2015) relate instructor’s implicit bias with poor student performance. In High School, I was obviously a minority. When my instructors heard that I was adopted and “Indian”, I got mixed messages from staff and students. I can think of two particular instances relating to teacher implicit and explicit bias, that had a direct effect on my learning and my teaching goals.

In grade 8, a teacher from a different country stated that “you girls will fail math and science”. He then stated that in Canada, he was forced to teach us, but did not belong in school. I failed math that year. He did not hide his bias (explicit).

In grade 11, while taking the mandatory English class, I was struggling to pass any assignments. I was known to be a strong English student, so this was frustrating. my friends started to notice this too and that if I had the same answer as one of my classmates, I was marked wrong, my classmate right. One friend of mine and I did something highly risky (please don’t do this), we switched papers. She put her name on mine and I put my name on hers. She was getting excellent marks at the time and I was failing. When we got our papers back, she passed and I failed. So we called our parents in, and my parents met with the Principal and the teacher. I was pulled from his class. It was too late in the year to change classes and I was behind in attaining my credits. The teacher’s implicit bias, directly affected my learning.

I became insecure and eventually dropped out. When we moved to northern Saskatchewan, I went back to school. I met Principal Mihalicz. As it turned out, his cousin was my principal in Quebec! He was able to advocate for my lost credits due to all the moves and I was able to finally graduate. This was one of my first instances with an in-school advocate for students. I had a few ‘good’ teachers before, but they didn’t rock the boat or stand up and advocate for a student.

These instances have shaped how and why I became an educator…to be an advocate for students, prevent the drop-out rates, welcome students back into the education system, and become an advocate for Change Leadership

Pre-Convocation Photo…a LONG time ago

Side note on Personal Bias

As I wrote about my experiences, I realized that I am wary of people who are biased or might be biased towards Indigenous people. I hadn’t realized that I am “on-guard” and keep a fair bit to myself in order to prevent a confrontation.

My goal was to become a School Counsellor, instead, I became a Program Coordinator, which helped shaped some fantastic teams and memories

Watching these women succeed as Practical nursing studentswas rewarding on so many levels. More Indigenous nurses for our Indigenous elders!!

Featured Works

Not all learning takes place in a classroom!
Training the next generation in traditional ways
I was in charge of the Continuing Care Assistants program
Sometimes teamwork involves networking with other agencies, the Automotive Mechanic/ABE program was run in conjunction with Northern Lights School Division #113

As a program Coordinator, it was my responsibility to hire instructors, select students for the program, set-up and organize the shops, ensure the curriculum was being followed, working with various funding agencies and handle any “crisis” situations that arose.

I didn’t think of myself as a “leader”, but, as I read the course material and listened to the instructors, I realized that my personal goal, “to help instructors be the best that they could be in order to help the students be the best that they could be” was in line with Michael Fullan’s (2014) work and that by working through these courses and the MAELM program, I can work on clearly defining my role as an “agent of change” and a “learning leader”.

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