Internship Seminar

The Internship Seminar at Kenosee Lake was beautiful! Not only was the location outstanding, but the food was good, the seminars were informative, and it was nice to take a breather after completing 1/4th of our internship placements. Aside from all of the fun, the most beneficial parts of the internship seminar were creating a contract with one of my cooperating teachers. It was nice to outline when and how I will take over classes for my three-week block. It was also great to go over the assessment of my work so that we are both clear about what is expected. I can now apply each criteria piece in at least one of my classes and let the criteria drive my professional development data collection sheets. It was also nice to see how being in a SST placement fits with the internship criteria, as it is a very different placement! Lastly, and most importantly, it was great to continue to build a relationship with Katie. Her philosophies and beliefs about teaching are inspiring and often we would get sidetracked and talk about these, only to come back with a quarter of the assignment completed but a lot of insight gained. I have a lot to learn from her and my other cooperating teacher, Leanne. I feel blessed to be in the placement that I am – with support and K to 12 experiences. I also get to learn from two very passionate teachers with different strengths. I couldn’t ask for an experience that fits me better and I cannot wait to see how much I grow, through both successes and mistakes and A LOT OF HARD WORK!

Working “hard” at Kenosee Lake:

Trauma, Brain and Relationship: Helping Children Heal

“Early childhood trauma changes the biology of the brain. Well, early childhood support also changes the biology of the brain!”

Curriculum encompasses more than just the written documents. We cannot ignore the social curriculum that our students bring to our classrooms. This is a large part of our jobs. As someone who has not experienced trauma, I often wonder how I will reach out to students who have or are currently experiencing trauma. I think it starts out with building relationships of trust and respect and creating that inclusive and safe classroom environment. This video gave me a lot more confidence in my abilities to help students. For instance, one of the individuals suggests that students only need one person to connect with and that person does not have to be knowledgeable about trauma or healing; they just have to be willing to help and listen. This video is worth the watch and a good reminder that we need to find ways to balance the written curriculum with the social, hidden, null, etc. in order for learning to take place. Our classrooms are not separate entities and our students are not empty vessels.

Campus For All

I have had the privilege to be part of the Campus for All program at the University of Regina for the last two years – my only regret is that I did not join earlier. Campus for All is an inclusive post-secondary education program for people with intellectual disabilities.  The program allows students to develop academic skills, participate in lifelong learning, explore their interests and interact with others. In my time with the program, I have been able to become a friend, a classmate and a peer. Campus for All has been one of the most valuable university experiences I have had to date.

I am very proud to be part of this inclusive program because it is a positive step towards a more inclusive society.  This experience has proven to be very beneficial, as I am studying to be an inclusive educator.  I feel that my own creativity and confidence towards differentiating assignments and presenting subject matter in unique ways has improved.  I learned how to teach the writing process, the reading process and be a guide on the side. My student has also shared her passion of history with me. Her various life experiences challenge my assumptions and perceptions on a daily basis. No matter how hectic my week is, she shows me the value of appreciating the small things in life and stopping to smell the roses. Furthermore, I leave every session with a smile on my face because of how much she has accomplished.

There are not too many things that are better than teaching someone to read and watching their eyes light up as they soar through the passages with ease, but building a relationship of upmost trust and understanding “takes the cake.” Over the last two years, my student and I have become very close. Sometimes I think we only work so hard so that we can celebrate over a spinach bowl at the Owl or a cup of coffee at “Timmies.” As I teach her how to write a research paper, she teaches me even more about working with individuals with varying needs and it is this support system and co-operation that makes being part of the Campus for All program a blessing.

I am proud to be a part of the Campus for All program, as I believe it will bridge the gap between our reality and the ideal. My student is gaining a positive self-image through the inclusive, caring atmosphere. After completing her first essay in 2012 she told me, “I never have written an essay before. I was never taught. But I’m pretty good!” and it is moments like this when I am proud of what I do and the opportunities that Campus for All provides all learners. There is an anonymous quote that says, “if you give people a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer;” Campus for All provides all learners a chance to be a friend, a classmate and a peer and most importantly, everyone involved is given the opportunity to shine. You too, will only regret that you did not join earlier!

Read: Campus for All Fosters Inclusive Post-Secondary Education