On June 24, we hosted our first online Celebration of Learning.
The Celebration of Learning is an opportunity for our teacher candidates to share their significant learning to date and incite conversations about educational issues and concerns. Each year, the candidates present in groups of their peers and experienced educators who act as table hosts. This year presented a new challenge as the presentations were completed entirely online. Despite this challenge, the candidates rose to the occasion and showcased their resiliency and thoughtfulness as future educators.
“The teacher candidates [had] amazing presentations and displayed some deep thinking and passion for teaching. It truly was a privilege to hear and see their journeys,” says Carol McAndrew, one of the table hosts. “An area that was key to me was their understanding of the importance of building strong relationships with students, staff, parents and community. An area that they all recognized as one to work on is differentiating instruction.”
Table host, Bruce Weicker echoed McAndrew’s sentiments, “I thoroughly enjoyed the candidates who shared their learning – or moreso, shared from their hearts. I was truly impressed with each of them. I know each of them will be fantastic teachers as they have the interest and lives of kids front and center.”
“What an incredible experience this morning!” exclaimed Veronica Dumontet. “I felt so privileged to be part of the celebration of learning, to meet four amazing interns who each displayed compassion, empathy, curiosity, caring, sincerity, and a passion for learning. I was inspired by them and thank all who have guided their journey thus far.”
Doctoral student, Darlene Loland noted that “They were clearly passionate about teaching and were well prepared to share their learning. The values that they all articulated made me feel so hopeful for the future of the teaching profession.”
Following the presentations, our teacher candidates crossed off another milestone as they graduated from candidacy to interns. This event is marked by candidates switching from the blue lanyards used during their candidacy to yellow ones that will be used during their fall internships.
Below are a few presentations that our new interns allowed us to share.
Parker Palmer’s quote, “we teach who we are”, has resonated with me throughout the course of this BEd program. I hold a position of privilege as a teacher, and I aim to be a role model for my students in showing care and respect to everyone, developing an inquiry mindset, and building positive, healthy habits in my life. If I can demonstrate qualities like these every day, it will go a long way in building and developing these qualities in my students.
My favourite video we watched during the last 10 months was Rita Pierson’s Ted Talks “Every Kid Needs a Champion.” Rita is an inspiring teacher and the video made me laugh and cry all within eight minutes. The power of connections, caring, and relationships is central to teaching. My favorite quote from the TEd Talk is “Children don’t learn from people they don’t like.” This video inspires me to become the best I can possibly be so that I can be all of my students’ champion.
I sought to use this opportunity to share how my personal and professional virtues (wonder, working hard, standing up and having fun) have grown through blocks 1-5 and affect my teaching practice. In particular, I drove home the following points: 1.) We must take it upon ourselves to preserve the natural sense of wonder in kids. This is their greatest gift and our biggest responsibility., 2.) Working hard looks different for everyone and we must, as educators, provide ample opportunities for our kids to show their hard work in individualized ways; moreover, we need to model this ourselves through differentiated instruction. 3.) As educators, we must stand up for the under- and mis-represented populations in our personal and professional lives. One way to do this is by authentically living our truths; by doing so we give a voice to our kids.
The central focus is connection over content. I believe building positive relationships and teaching in a culturally responsive way, including Indigenous perspectives of knowing will be crucial for our internships and beyond. Teaching a growth mindset and providing children will SEL skills and strategies to be resilient in a continuously changing world is one of my main goals.
To summarize the learnings from the last 10 months in the program was an impossible task, as the experience really has been immeasurable. But overall I’ve learned more about who I am as a person, who I want to be as a teacher, and how I want to impact my students as learners and as global citizens. I look forward to continuing to explore my passion for education and my love for connecting with people.
Congratulations once again to all of our new interns! And thank you to our wonderful table hosts.