how do i make a change?

I have a hard time finding the words to type about this topic. Something has taken over social media over the past 4 days – the Gerald Stanley case. There are a lot of opinions about this topic and that’s just it, they are opinions. Some of the opinions in the media are very disappointing to see, but among all of that, I just try to think about what on earth I can do to show my support. At this point, it’s not about what I will teach in my classroom when I have my own, even though that is important too, but at this moment it is about what I can do RIGHT NOW.

I can think of a few things off the top of my head – participating in rallies, participating in any ceremonies, having a voice in my community. We grow up taught to not question authority and people in power – but at this point, questioning the justice is all I am doing. I think about having tough conversations with people who are close to me who have a different mindset than I do. Thinking about that scares me but it’s time to do it.

I am a white settler. I do not experience what some Indigenous peoples have experienced from the outcome of this trial. It is not fair. Something needs to change but that doesn’t happen by just saying things. Action needs to happen and I want to be a part of that action.

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miskâsowin | missing & murdered Indigenous women | cultural appropriation

I learned about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Cultural Appropriation last class. Both of these are extremely important topics.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is a topic that is hard to get into without feeling emotional and vulnerable. I cannot even begin to imagine how these families feel knowing their mothers, daughters, nieces and granddaughters won’t be coming home because they are either missing or murdered. There needs to be a step towards finding these women and bringing them back to their lives, or trying to find a way to stop this monstrosity from happening to these women and families.

Cultural Appropriation is a topic that is very important as well. We need to know what things to say/to not say, what things to wear/to not wear so that we are not offending a culture or group of people. It happens a lot with famous people and they do these things without even realizing it is actually wrong to do.

Both of these topics make me think about my identity and the process of finding out who I am as a person. Those women who are missing or murdered lost their whole identity, and for what? These kinds of things should not be happening and that is where I struggle because I just think, why does this happen? Cultural appropriation relates to your identity as well because it represents the identity of many different cultural groups. I like to think I know what my identity is but to have that taken away from me for any reason would be terrifying so I can’t even begin to imagine how these people feel when they have to go through it.

There needs to be a change and I want to try and be a part of that change.

kihci-asotamâtowin & miyo-wîcêhtowin

kihci-asotamâtowin- Sacred Promises to One Another, the Treaty Sovereign’s Sacred Undertakings

miyo-wîcêhtowin– Getting along well with others; good relations; expanding the circle

These two words perfectly represent my life as a future teacher. Being a teacher is all about those sacred relationships, working with others, getting along with others and opening up to more people. I know that I will remember these two words forever because I will take them with me when I am teaching.

A treaty is an agreement between a group of individuals. I want to continue to teach the spirit and intent of treaties as something that is normal and real. It is almost a pact between both parties where they are agreeing on certain terms and guidelines together as one. It is not meant to be broken or turned back on. This is like my relationship with my students and faculty. This is like my dedication to teach important content that some people maybe don’t teach. This is my effort to keep a promise to be someone who is always honest and hardworking and to build and get along with many people along the way.

It is interesting when I start thinking about these two words. I think about how I can take these two words with me and for them to never lose their importance. I can keep them alive in my teaching and I hope to do that.

 

kihci-asotamâtowin

kihci-asotamâtowin – Sacred Promises to One Another, the Treaty Sovereign’s Sacred Undertakings

I just learned what this word meant last week. I participated in a pipe ceremony and it had me thinking a lot. I have never been involved in a pipe ceremony before so I did not know what to expect or what I thought it was going to be. After the pipe ceremony, we started talking about this word kihci-asotamâtowin and I started to think about how during the pipe ceremony, it felt that we were all together in this circle and it felt like it was a sacred time. The atmosphere around us was calm and felt sacred the whole time. I thought it was neat that a ceremony like that made us feel so connected to one another. I am grateful to have been a part of that.

I considered myself as a whole during that experience. I was thinking about my identity, what I believe in, what I was feeling and what my body was experiencing. It was nothing that I have ever done before and it really had me thinking about all aspects of myself and who I am. I hope to be able to participate in another pipe ceremony one day, it was an eye opening experience and a very special time with everyone.

miskâsowin #2

My name is Kate Paidel. I identify as a white, able-bodied, heterosexual female. I could probably identify as more traits as well but I have not practiced saying that so I have not mastered it yet. I think this is important to practice. If I keep saying what I identify as, it will become comfortable and easy to me (and right now, it isn’t). In Chelsea Vowel’s book Indigenous Writes, she has a very blunt and real attitude, which I really like. She talks about how names are complex and every name means something to a certain group of people or individuals (Chapters 1 and 2). She is real about how sometimes you just might offend someone with what you say, but it’s important to quickly change your mindset and learn the appropriate language and names to use when referring to anyone.

miskâsowin means Finding one’s sense of origin & belonging; Finding ‘one’s self’ or Finding ‘one’s center’. When I participated in a blanket exercise last class, it really made me think hard about my miskâsowin process and who I truly am as a person. I felt a lot of different emotions while participating in the blanket exercise, but mostly I felt like I had no words that could come out. I felt that there was nothing I could say because it can’t change what happened in history and what is still happening today. The important thing that I try to remember is that I can start now and while finding myself, I can open up my mind to other cultures, religions, backgrounds and make the effort to learn and gain knowledge about them.

tâpwêwin means speaking the truth with precision and accuracy. By learning about the blanket exercise experiencing it, it gives me hope that one day I can confidently speak the truth to my own classroom and to make sure that everything I teach is correct. That is what I fear the most while teaching; I would never want to teach something that is not accurate. I know I can continue learning more about Indigenous peoples, blanket exercises, pipe ceremonies, smudging and all of history so that my classroom can gain that knowledge from me one day.

Knowledge is key. Learning is key. I want to keep learning and applying my knowledge wherever I can and I know this is what can lead to being a successful teacher one day.

miskâsowin

I have just recently learned the word miskâsowin and I try to think about my identity and my true self when I hear or see it, after all, that is what the meaning of the word is. I think about how I don’t want to say this word out loud in fear that I may say it wrong and offend others. I think about how this word is so important. In the book ‘Indigenous Writes’ by Chelsea Vowel, she talks about how it is important to learn the name of someone or a group (pages 7-11). She gives some examples about words that should never be used when referring to Indigenous peoples. Reading this got me thinking about how important it is to get to know all of someone, their name, culture, history, background, interests, dislikes, etc. All of these things make up who a person is and if we can’t figure out a proper and respectful way to call someone by their name as a start, we are not making an effort to get to know who they are and finding their inner self. Miskâsowin means to find your sense of belonging and who you are but also others around you.

I would like to find out more about who I fully am and where I come from. But I also want to make an effort to learn the appropriate language when referring to people of different cultures and backgrounds and finding out who they are and what their history is.

Digital Storytelling

Here is my final digital storytelling that shows a summary of what I’ve learned in ESCI 302.

Below is my script as well.

During the first class of ESCI 302, I didn’t even know what ESCI meant honestly. It wasn’t until Audrey told us that it was all about Environmental Education. At first, I didn’t think that I would like this class because I just had no idea what to expect. I thought ‘How am I going to teach Kindergarten to grade five about Environmental Education’ and I immediately started judging it. I definitely see now why everyone should be taught Environmental Education and here is a little summary of my learning in ESCI 302.

Before this class, I had never blogged and I didn’t even know how to do it. I caught on pretty quickly and found that it was a place for me to write my thoughts about particular subjects and I enjoyed that. The first blog post, we were asked ‘What is the environment?’. This was hard to answer at first because all I could think about was grass, trees, birds, and every other thing in nature. I have learned throughout the class that the environment is huge and it has a lot of history to it and I feel like I’ve always taken for granted the environment that I’m able to live in.

Then we got into the topic about what Eco literacy is to us. At first, I honestly had no idea what to say because I had never really thought about Eco literacy. I learned that Eco literacy is knowing about the environment you live in and about ecosystems that help the environment to survive. David Orr is a name I will remember because one of his quotes stood out to me at the beginning of the semester. The quote is ‘Education is not widely regarded as a problem, although the lack of it is’. In my experience, my lack of environmental education was a problem because I just thought since it was something that I wasn’t really interested in, that I didn’t have to learn and become educated about it.

This land is something we should always appreciate and we also have to be sensitive to the way in which we acquired this land because there is a lot of history to it. We are able to share this land and that is something we should never take for granted; that being said I definitely took it for granted before this class. Practicing stillness in this class really helped me appreciate the land and environment more and to really just think about where I live, why I live here and how I live here. This was a way for me to reflect and see how beautiful nature really is and that is something that I never would’ve done on my own.

Another one of David Orr’s quotes that will stick with me is ‘All education is environmental education’. I learned that this quote is actually very true. Any subject in school can be related to environmental education and we found this out when we made our 5 micro-unit lesson plans in this class. It gave us a chance to take different subjects and relate them to environmental education even when we thought it wasn’t possible.

I have learned some things about being a future teacher. I have learned that there are 5 E’s that relate to learning. Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. These 5 E’s can be used with K-5 and it would give students a chance to take a topic that interests them and use these 5 E’s to help themselves learn more about it and go more in depth with it.

I have also learned that having a garden in your classroom is a GREAT idea and that is definitely something that I never would’ve thought about. Having a garden allows children to see the processes of the plants growing and what they have to do to take care of the plants and it can even give children a sense of pride knowing their plants are alive every day.

I definitely changed my opinion of environmental education from the beginning of the semester to the end of the semester. I have learned so much about myself and how I want to be as a future teacher. I absolutely know that I will teach environmental education in my classes because it is more than just learning about the environment; it involves learning about yourself too and that is equally as important.

I just want to thank Audrey for being passionate about this subject because that made it enjoyable to learn from. I was faced with being uncomfortable at first but then as the semester went on, Audrey challenged us to counteract some things we’ve said in our blogs and that gave us a chance to look at our writing in a different way. I hope to be as passionate about environmental education as you are one day, so thank you.

And thanks for listening.

 

Teaching Environmental Education

I can honestly say that before this class, I didn’t think much about Environmental Education and incorporating it in my future classroom. I just didn’t feel like it was something I was really interested in but this class has taught me that it is an interesting topic and can be beneficial to students.

As a future teacher, I feel that Environmental Education can get students involved with the environment and make them aware of the environment. If I am teaching a class that can relate to being outside, I would incorporate that in any way I can. I know that as a teacher, I want my students to have that free time to explore with different activities in the classroom and even outside. In Orr’s reading, he says that all education is environmental education and I can see now that anything can be put into Environmental Education.

I have seen some teachers’ blogs about some ideas for the classroom and I have seen some posts that I would definitely use in my classroom. Putting a garden in my classroom is a great way for the students to take on a responsibility of maintaining it and also it gives them something to look forward to every day and to go home and talk about it with their family. I will be looking for more ideas like this to put in my classroom because that is something students would enjoy especially because I want to teach Elementary students.

Reflection of Action Learning

The Action Learning Project was a way to work with groups and try and come up with an idea that is of interest to you and your classmates because they are the ones who listen when we present. At the beginning of this project, it was difficult to just start. We had no idea where or how to begin because we just didn’t have that main idea yet. Once things got going, it was easier to put our ideas into words and figure out exactly what we wanted to teach the class about that was passionate to all of us.

In the reading by Sobel, ‘Beyond Ecophobia’, it says how we need to give children time to connect with nature and love the Earth before we can ask them to save it if we want to see them flourish later on. This is something that stuck out to me because our action learning topic was water usage and water sheds. It’s not easy to just ask someone to stop using so much water because it could be a habit that has been going on for a long time. Before we can ask anyone to stop using a lot of water, we have to make them aware of why they should stop and how it would benefit them and the Earth. It’s just like asking children to love the Earth because they have to do that before they can just do anything to save it.

With the micro-unit assignment coming up, our group’s main goal is to make it student-led because not every school gives students that kind of opportunity. Even in my experiences, school was mostly just teachers teaching and we listened and learned. We want to make our micro-units exciting for the students and for them to do mostly on their own. Although this is one of our goals, not everything always works out how we would like it to so we will just have to wait and see how it goes.

The Action Learning Project was a good start to working with a group because that’s what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my university years. While it was a good way to work with a group and become passionate about a topic, I also learned a lot during the process. I became more aware of water usage and have even made other people more aware about it and that makes me feel good.

The Most Important Things

As a future teacher, I have learned a lot of helpful information throughout this course. I have learned about what common sense is, what some opinions are of the ‘good’ student, and what the importance is of teaching Treaty Education. Before I wanted to be a teacher and started learning more about it, I never would have thought about topics like these but now that this is the career I am going towards, I have to approach these topics and think about them.

While there are many things that are important to know, I believe the most important topic to always take with me is the importance of teaching Treaty Ed. So many teachers in schools brush over this topic because they ‘don’t feel like they are qualified to teach it’ or they ‘don’t want to teach it wrong’. These are valid arguments but I have learned that as teachers, we will make mistakes and teach things wrong but that’s okay. We don’t know everything about Treaty Ed and we definitely do not want to offend anyone while we teach it, but it’s probably going to happen and that just makes us human. Teachers don’t know everything about how to teach, or what exactly to teach and we will never know that.

While teaching may seem simple to some people, teachers are constantly learning new things every day from their students while also teaching them. I will teach things that will make me and my students uncomfortable but I will try to do it as best as I can and that is good enough. The most important piece of advice that I have learned is that it’s okay to make mistakes, and I am going to make a lot of them. That’s what being a teacher is and I am ready for it.