I love to travel even if it’s not too far, it is still an escape from my hometown. In Canada I have travelled around interior and lower British Columbia, a little bit in Alberta and a little bit Quebec when I went to summer school there. In the United States I have been to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, California, Florida and briefly drove to Montana. I have also been to Mexico. I would love to teach abroad in the future even if it is just for a year. I am intrigued to learn about how other parts of the world teach and what their schools are like. In particular I would like to go to Europe as I have heard that their teaching is very different from ours in Canada.
EPHE 311 had a small focus on tracking our carbon footprint. From what I gathered using the carbon footprint calculator, I am doing a pretty good job. I put in my monthly km travelled and it told me that I need to plant one tree. I care a lot for the environment and have made several changes over the years that make a positive impact on the earth.
- I do not drive, only take the bus and walk to reduce carbon emissions.
- I do not buy plastic cups or bags I always bring my own.
- I have stopped buying ziplock bags and use reusable containers to pack food and I avoid buying items with plastic waste.
- I bring my own water bottle everywhere and fill it up at water fountains.
- I have not eaten meat for 12 years. I have learned through my own research that cattle farms are a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. I was the first one in my household to stop eating meat but since then my mother has reduced her meat consumption and my sister has also substantively cut back her consumption. My younger sister wants to grow up to be like me so I think I have the best chance at convincing her to stop eating meat altogether.
- Another recent change I have made is switching my hair and skincare products to more eco friendly options and to a company who is mindful of their impact on the environment and limits their waste.
I am always learning about new ways I can help the environment myself and activities that I can use in my future classroom. I have volunteered three times with the Greater Victoria Green Team (GVGT) over the past few years. The first time was in Sooke and we were covering periwinkle with cardboard to prevent it from spreading even more and taking over the forest floor. The other two times I volunteered with them was to pull invasive Ivy from Mystic Vale at the University of Victoria. The environment has always been something that I have cared for. In elementary school I was part of an environmentalist team in my school called the Destination Conservation Team (DC Team). We researched and attended workshops about recycling and started up a recycling and compost program at our school. Later in high school, I took an environmental studies course which is how I was first introduced to the GVGT. In that course we spent a lot of time outside and writing reflection journals about our outdoor adventures but we also did a lot of research about local communities and their impact on the environment and restoration of our ecosystems. Through these experiences I have learned a lot about how I can make a difference and do my part in helping the environment and I feel confident that I will be able to teach my students about what they can do as well.
Here is picture of my cohort and some other volunteers with the green team after a very wet and muddy couple of hours removing English Ivy from Mystic Vale.
In recent years, I have been independently motivated to improve my physical well being. I played lots of sports growing up but after graduating high school it was all up to me to keep up my fitness. I enjoy going for walks or runs to the beach and doing yoga in the mornings or before bed. I tried a kickboxing class and loved it and would consider trying other fitness classes when it is safe to do so again. I used to the gym regularly with friends before Covid, but now for safety reasons I stick to at home workouts or getting outside for exercise. In my EPHE 310 and 311 courses I learned about the importance of getting kids active in their Physical Education (PE) blocks at school. From what I know, most schools have a PE specialist in my area but if I were to teach PE, I would feel prepared and well equipped. Outside of the PE block time, I have also learned about the importance of brain breaks or movement breaks to increase engagement levels in the classroom during work periods. Kids are and need to be active as they have a lot of energy. I want my classroom to be a place of learning but I also want my students to have fun and work kinaesthetically as well. Something I observed in my Wednesday visits last year was little exercise breaks in the classroom as well as morning meditation or yoga. These are ways to regulate the energy in the room that I hope to put into practice as a teacher.
Something I learned in my EPHE 311 course was to do anonymous mental health checkins. I think this is a great idea to do with mature students. It gives the teacher a sense of how the group is feeling as a whole while also keeping responses anonymous. For my mental health I like to keep a journal. In my journal I track my moods, habits and organize my weekly schedule. I have not recently been using my journal to envision my goals and also to rant out any frustrations I am battling with. I make lots of lists and try to stay organized as it gives me a sense of comfort in my busy lifestyle. I like to spend quality time with family and friends learning about stories that have shaped them into who they are today. On my social media platforms I try to present myself as a mental health advocate. I post friendly uplifting quotes to brighten peoples days and encourage positive mindsets. This pandemic has been difficult for everyone and I want to come across to my family and friends as someone they can trust and talk to about their struggles if they need someone to listen.
In the classroom I want to bring this same positive energy. I plan to spend time on building a safe classroom community and developing the students’ social and emotional skills. Much like how I journal, I think for intermediate students writing can be a way to express their feelings. Often children want to tell you stories but there is not always time to hear them all. Perhaps I will suggest that they write me these stories or if they do not feel comfortable speaking to me about a certain topic maybe they will write me a letter or a note telling me what is going on. This would allow the students to explore their feelings and thoughts while also practising their writing skills. Some other ways to check in on students could be through anonymous google forms questions for intermediate students, a simple thumbs up or down for primary or during circle time and class meetings. By doing these things, my goal is to develop my students emotional literacy skills as well as building empathy in the classroom. This year I have really focused my research on the development of empathy in my classroom in order to create a safe and friendly classroom community.
As someone who first started struggling with anxiety in elementary school, I am committed to learning about anxiety in children and how to help them cope with it at school. I created a blog for my EDCI 336 class where I have posted some research I have done in my inquiry about anxiety in children. This link should lead you to the page with all my posts and updates on my research.