Category Archives: 1

Teachers are True Heroes

Currently the labour situation in BC is very challenging. My daughter, a middle school student, decided to write the newspapers to offer support for her teachers. A shortened version of her letter was published, but here is the full text of her letter:

To the Editor,

My first day of school. I remember letting go of my parents’ hands and walking into the colourful yet intimidating classroom. Immediately I was overwhelmed with emotions. When my parents had to leave, I remembered feeling so alone; so afraid. Little did I know I was about to embark upon the most incredible, exciting journey of my life.

As I began my journey through school, I quickly realized that I had no reason to be nervous. Whenever I needed help, a teacher was there for me. Whenever I needed someone to talk to, they would listen to me. They always respected me. They always listened. They always helped. They always cared.

It sickens me to see how teachers are so disrespected by the government. The current political situation is unacceptable. All teachers do is give, and this is what they get? It’s not fair. There needs to be a change, and it needs to happen now.

I would honestly be nowhere if teachers weren’t as supportive and generous as they are. Not only have I learned my academics, I have also developed great life skills. Our world would be a chaotic mess without teachers – can you imagine your life without an education? There’s no debate that teaching is one of the most important jobs ever.

I don’t know if I’ll ever truly understand how teachers can be so passionate about what they do. Every day they wake up eager and enthusiastic to educate young people. I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to get an education as exceptional as the one I’ve been receiving so far, and I’m only in Grade 9.

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

Teachers are true heroes. Is this any way to treat a hero? Let’s make a change.

Willa Holmwood
Kelowna, BC

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Test Anxiety: What do we teach?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by albertogp123

Recently the Fraser Institute released the results of the Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools: 2011 Edition. This report consists of ranking schools in comparison to each other based on standardized tests – the Foundation Skills Assessments Tests. In this type of report there are bound to be perceived winners and losers despite the suggestion that the results must be interpreted carefully. The reality is that most media, and in turn the public,  focus on the top and bottom schools. Further, it seems to suggest that the good schools obviously have ‘the answer’ while the schools that struggle need to pull up their socks. The reality of the situation is quite a bit different. Upon closer examination, beyond the narrow focus of what has been co-opted into a type of ‘high stakes’ test, a very different picture of the true quality of a school emerges.

I am the parent of a student who once attended Raymer Elementary – one of the lower ranking schools. I know that to judge a school using the FSA results is both unfair and demoralizing. A letter to the editor was published this past week in a local Kelowna newspaper explaining this unfairness, but I have yet to find it anywhere online. I’ve received permission from the author to post it here so a fuller picture can emerge. Here is the full text of the letter:

What do we teach at Raymer?

We teach empathy and understanding towards the 50% of the students in the class who don’t speak English at home, but are still willing to try their best on a government exam.

What do we teach at Raymer? We teach how to show tolerance and compassion towards the classmate who has not had enough to eat at home and is angry with the world!

What do we teach at Raymer? We teach by showing how love and safety still exist in a world that sometimes forgets that little eyes see all.

What do we teach at Raymer? We teach honesty and forgiveness towards inappropriate behaviours.

What do we teach at Raymer? We teach diversity since there is a big chance that your best friend may move away during the school year and you will have to find another best friend from the several that will join your class some time throughout the year.

What do we teach at Raymer? We teach that the values of life are worth more than the value of your bank account.

What do we teach at Raymer? We teach reading, writing, mathematics, science, language, socials, physical education, art, music, drama, problem solving, personal planning, computer, creative thinking, library, spelling, and nutrition.

What don’t we teach at Raymer?  We don’t teach the children how to judge a person by only one action, activity, or test!

Too bad the members of the Fraser Institute did not go to Raymer! What a wonderful school it is!

D. Zerr  (on behalf of the staff of Raymer Elementary School)

Adventures in eci831

This film was made as a summative reflection on my experiences in the University of Regina course eci831 (Social Media and Open Education) with Dr. Alec Couros. The music stings at the beginning and end are from Blind_Lemon_Jefferson_One_Dime_Blues (public domain from archive.org).