Friday Two Cents: It Takes A Village

‘What has changed is that people have stopped working together.’ Michael Bloomberg

‘Whatever life throws at us, our individual responses will be all the stronger for working together and sharing the load.’ Queen Elizabeth II

For the past month I have been taking additional qualifications in an online course for kindergarten.  The course was very informative and during my final independent project I made an important realization.  I be honest I had already come to this understanding serval years ago, yet I have never seen it inside government educational documents.  It has to deal with the education team within the kindergarten program.  

With schools in Ontario and most of North America reopening due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this insight could be invaluable to parents, educators/teachers and administrators.

I may have a unique perspective as I worked as both an early childhood educator (ECE) and teacher in the kindergarten program within a school board. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of both.  

I have felt the sting of being discriminated as an ECE and a as teacher. Yet when I worked as an ECE in a classroom I was treated as a support staff and told to do whatever the teacher told me to do. This continued in many classrooms with many teachers and parents.

In many government documents they refer to the the two people in the kindergarten program as ”educators”.  Both the teacher and ECE are equal in the learning process of the students.  Even though the education policy says that the teacher and ECE are seen as equals, many do not put this into practice. 

Once when I received my teaching licence I continued to work as an ECE while I applied for a teaching position. The treatment continued until the teachers found out that I was a licensed teacher.  I was seen as a second teacher in the room, asked for observation notes, documentation and/or to plan lessons.  

In my discussions with other teachers, whenever I mention the reference of educators towards the two people in kindergarten, they say they do not like it.  They prefer the title of teacher.  When I became a teacher I was told and I had to, give up the ECE title and go with Primary/Junior Teacher.   For some reason the “teacher” title is what people (teachers, administrations and parents) wanted.  I always thought that this was a bit petty.  

When I became a licensed teacher I made sure I would not see the ECEs as lesser, as many people I have witnessed have done.  The education of the students is done by both educators in the classroom.  A fact that many forget.  

Perhaps it has to do with human nature and how we measure people.  Do we measure them by their status in a society or by their actions?  All too often I have seen people measure others because they see them as inferior to themselves and they devalue them.

During this pandemic we as a society have learned that nature does not discriminate.  Anyone can get the Covid-19 virus.  When schools are reopened in September, we as educators (Administers, ECEs, teachers) and parents need to work together as a team for the betterment of the students.  

I learned a lot of different things during his course and how to implement them.  Yet I think the biggest realization is that educating students is not done in a bubble.  We as educators must look to the team (teacher & ECE), parents, all of the other staff in the school and the community at large to help “safely” educate the children.  An African proverb says it all. “It takes a village to raise a child.” 

   I would add; “… and keep everyone safe.”

Two Great Educators or One Great Education Team

The Green Army Men Adventures: Day 13

‘I think it’s great when stories are dark and strange and weirdly personal.’ Robin Williams

‘The more ways you can tell a story and paint a picture, the better it is.’ Ninja

Enjoy Days 13 in the continuing tale of …

The Green Army Men Adventures”.

The Green Army Men Adventures: Day 12

‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.’ Steve Jobs

Enjoy  Day 12 in the continuing tale, of 

The Green Army Men Adventures”.

The Green Army Men Adventures: Day 11

‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.’

Albert Einstein

Enjoy  the Day 11 in the continuing tale, of

The Green Army Men Adventures”.

The Green Army Men Adventures: Day 10

‘In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday Two Cents: It Came From A Dream

‘The interpretation of dreams is a great art.’ Paracelsus

 For most of the pandemic I have been quite busy trying to maintain a routine with my many activities and interests. However, this past week I had a most interesting dream.  It made me reflect on myself and how I am coping with the pandemic.  I for one look at dreams as a window into your subconscious mind; there, you think and imagine the endless possibilities of life.  

Well, in my dream I saw myself interacting with a woman I knew from my past at a party.  We were having a wonderful conversation and I had the feeling that we were attracted to one another.  I also saw people around us that we both knew looking at us.  I could see in their facial expressions that they looked happy at our interactions.  Our flirtations and conversation continued until I finally woke up.  

The surprising thing is that this woman and I knew each other for years, but never got together.  There was some mutual attraction between us but it never panned out and we stayed friends for many years after.  Yet the feelings I felt for her during the dream was very familiar; it was not a regret of not getting together, but a feeling of excitement when you get to know a new person.  It was as if I was meeting a new person on a first encounter.  You know that excitement of looking into the other person’s eyes and wanting to absorb every detail you see, concentrating on the words she is saying, taking in the smells of the environment around you, and even feeling the cold glass and tasting the liquid inside.  Every sense is active and alive as you enjoy the moment.  In fact, the entire dream was about me getting to know this person for the first time.  It was exciting and I could feel my energy levels increase.  In truth, I was very active the next couple of days following the dream.  

The experience was so real and that I thought about it for several days.  During that time I reflected on its deeper meaning and came up with an interesting realization: the fact that I felt no regret about not having or trying to initiate a relationship with this woman brings me to believe that this was not the dream’s intent.  The feelings of excitement when talking to her and the enhanced sensory inputs makes me believe that this has everything to do with human interaction, or in my present situation, the lack of it.  

I have always had an extroverted personality.  I do enjoy being alone and there are times when I seek solitude to help me focus on my art or some other endeavour.  But for the most part, I gain energy and joy when I interact with others, especially when I have the opportunity to get to know someone on a personal level, such as a first encounter.  I find it exhilarating, and all my senses are magnified and focused on that one thing or person.  

That is probably why I love being a teacher.  I get to interact with many adults and children and that interaction invigorates me.  I love being with people, yet due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have lost that connection.  I have been extremely fortunate to have my family and friends nearby.  I have talked and texted with them on many occasions.  I am grateful to them all and I count myself lucky to have them.  But not until I had this dream did I truly realize how much I miss teaching and interacting in person with my colleagues, parents, and students on a one-on-one basis.    

Being with people recharges my batteries, so to speak, even though the interactions may be taxing at times, I find that I have the strength to power through, and in the end, I enjoy our interactions.   

This pandemic has given me something that I needed but was lacking.  Time.  Time to work on my art, to do some self reflect and to focus on what is important in life.   I know now that being with people, or more importantly, interacting and helping others is what I am here to do.  A realization that came from a dream.  

It Came From A Dream

The Green Army Men Adventures: Day 8 & 9

‘Just keep taking chances and having fun.’ Garth Brooks

Enjoy  the next pages (Day 8 & 9) in the continuing tale, of “The Green Army Men Adventures”.

The Green Army Men Adventures: Day 7

‘Everything you can imagine is real’. Pablo Picasso

Please enjoy the next pages in the continuing tale, of “The Green Army Men Adventures”.

The Green Army Men Adventures: Day 6

Growing up I did not have much but I always had my Green Army Men; my army so to speak. So when the pandemic shutdown occurred I brought them out, organized them and then an idea came to me.  I would stage them in different situations around my home and post them to social media.  Something like ‘Elf on the Shelf’ for Christmas but in a protective capacity.  I put them into funny situations and themes to try and lift the mode of people and bring some joy during this difficult time.  The responses from people were positive and as the shutdown grew longer I began adding a story narrative.  

Eventually some suggested that I create a graphic novel out of all these photos.  I thought this a wonderful idea and so the “The Green Army Men Adventures” was born.  I did not want to simply use the photos and add speech bubbles, so I used photoshop, illustrator and indesign to alter the photos and create layouts similar to what you see in a comic book/graphic novel.  Adding text to bring the story to life was a whole new level of enjoyment.  I knew it would be a challenge but fun at the same time. 

Please enjoy the next pages, Day 6, in the continuing tale, of “The Green Army Men Adventures”.

Friday Two Cents: The Craziest Things: I Wonder

Being a supply teacher and an artist, I sometimes have the opportunity to combine my passions.  Creating my comic strip entitled The Craziest Things is one of them.  The genesis of this comic strip came from the situations I have observed from the students.  I thought it would be great to create a comic strip based on those situations and thus The Craziest Things was born.  

I use many different themes to inspire me to create the comic. Some include the difference in the generations or the use of technology in the classroom compared to their parents.  Yet, this month, I cannot ignore the situation that is enveloping the world at this moment: the Covid-19 pandemic.  

In many circles, I have been talking to teachers about how this isolation will affect the students, not only in the classroom setting, but as persons within society.  On many occasions, parents and teachers have discussed how the current generation of students show signs of entitlement and not being connected with life in general. I have often observed how the students take for granted the simple things, like going outside for recess.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard students say that they would rather be indoors for recess instead of going outside, even on beautiful, sunny days.  

This pandemic has basically given the students what they wanted.  They are at home.  They can play games, video games, read, draw, and do anything and everything they want to except go to school, which many have said that they dislike.  But, as parents are pulling out their hair trying to engage them in school work and other activities at home, the students are not happy.  

Why is that? They got what they wanted.  They are inside playing and not doing any work, and there is no school.  Some are even riding their bikes now with the nicer weather.  So what is it? 

This reminds me of that proverb …

“Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” 

Yes, they got what they wanted.  Now the only question is, “What will they learn from this experience?

I wonder. 

I hope you enjoy June’s comic, The Craziest Things: I Wonder.


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