I begin each year of my teaching with one hope: to inspire my students with history. I want to help our students become the keepers of history in our community. I want them to not only learn the history, but to live it and work in it. Educators – and schools, communities, and parents –do many things to help our students become active learners of history. Among the things I’m trying this year is building a mini-museum inside my Grade 11 Genocide classroom at Waterdown District High School in Hamilton, Ontario.
As a teacher at an all-girls school, I cannot tell you how many times I've heard the word "drama" tossed around. It's troubling to me, really, to see how easily people connect this word to the conflicts that emerge between girls and women. Even in efforts to help girls and women build strong and healthy relationships, we’re reminded to "stop the drama!" or "just say no to the drama!"
Beacon Academy’s class of 2014 is off to an extraordinary start. The students come from incredibly diverse backgrounds, yet they have quickly developed a remarkable bond. It is obvious that they are joined together by their shared desire for the best education possible.
Although Northern Ireland is a much more peaceful place to live; the sinister fragments of the Troubles have left a terrible legacy. I despair at the countless number of students leaving school with pitiful knowledge and slanted interpretations of their country’s turbulent past. This problem is exacerbated when you consider that a new generation of children are growing up having their identity narrowly defined by the political and sectarian conditions that festered here during the Troubles.
Theatre and social studies are a natural marriage. At least, I’ve grown to feel that way by getting the opportunity to work with Christi Sargent, the theatre lead teacher at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School (Co-op) located in New Haven, CT. Through the collaboration we have done, we are working to build a blended model (not technological driven blended learning) of learning. Mostly, we are hoping that students can use principles of sociology and principles of theatre to understand that their voice matters.
In true teacher fashion right before a big trip with students, I could not sleep. I kept thinking about what I hope my students will get out of this service immersion trip. I truly hope they learn more about themselves, their country, and the struggles those who live on the margins of society face on a daily basis.