Confused by my title? You shouldn’t be. It is referring to the epic rocker “Meat Loaf” whose songs build up slowly and then BOOM! Your speakers sound tissue-like from his majestic climax of ragtime piano. I will parallel this song format with my introduction, also known as “Tech Task Part I” for my ECMP 355 class.
I grew up on the prairie landscape in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. I lived two blocks away from my elementary school, Columbia, but still managed to make my parents drive me in the -40°C weather. During this time, my academic life was not so good. Turns out, I couldn’t read very well and was reading at a grade 2 level when I was in grade 7 (no wonder it took me so long to read Harry Potter like the cool kids). I skipped over words when I read which was evident by my lack of exam skills. My parents thought something was up when they noticed I would get over 90% for half of a test and bomb the rest of it.
One day my dad was commuting to work and listening to the radio. He heard of a lovely lady, Jackie (not her real name), who talked about my exact reading problem and how she could help. Viewing this as an incredible sign, my parents decided to enroll me in this program that took place In Moose Jaw, SK. As you can imagine, I was not happy to be labelled a stupid kid who, “couldn’t read and needed to be sent away to improve her reading abilities;” this added to my more-than-average stubborn tendencies. In retrospect, I can’t imagine where my life would be had they not bribed me with trips to Winners in order to receive this training. Within a year, I was reading at a grade 11 level– BOO YEAH!
Okay, I think we are finished the slow introduction to my Meat Loaf song now.
Yorkton Regional High School
Ahhhh, the Yorkton Regional High School. I always thought that high school should be one word, highschool… doesn’t it look nice as one word? Anyway… I absolutely LOVED high school. I really started to know who I was and where I wanted to go. Let me set the scene for you:
Grade 9: Awkward; elementary school friends who started to drift apart; straightened my curly hair every day; made strange webcam videos with friends that WERE NOT posted to YouTube… Imagine Lindsay Lohan’s “Ultimate”, with clown suits and hair brush microphones. Thank you, lack of technology.
Involved in: band, marching band, choir.
Grade 10: Less awkward; 2 or 3 friends from elementary school remain; embraced my curly hair out of laziness; wore a dark green husky sweater and jeans e’rrday; still made strange webcam videos with friends; first boyfriend; began to embrace who I was.
Involved in: band, marching band, choir, debate, European Jazz Band Tour.
Grade 11: I made a lot of new friends this year; curly hair; very few strange videos; acquired cell phone; acquired bangs; realized I was terrible at science; started using make up (not well).
Involved in: band, marching band, choir, “The Wizard of Oz” musical, vocal jazz, music festival, Orlando tour.
Grade 12 AKA BOOM!: Finally, my strange videos paid off and were posted to YouTube which elected me Vice President of the Student Representative Council (SRC). I was able to attend the Canadian Student Leadership Conference (CSLC) in London, Ontario. This was by far one of the greatest experiences in my life and also one of the reasons I decided to become a teacher. Stepping into a room with people who, without the shame of being looked down upon, wanted to lead fellow students and showing amazing pride for Canada was an unreal experience. The energy in that room was booming because people did not have to belittle themselves and others in order to fit in; in fact, they had to do the exact opposite. What a wonderful world it would be if we were pressured to become good leaders and proud of where we came from rather than hide our achievements and worldviews in order to fit in (I also became quite philosophical, apparently).
Involved in: band, choir, vocal jazz, Students Against Drunk Driving, SRC, music festival, mock trial, National Child’s Day, Talent Show.
Took a year off school and worked — hated it. Read a lot of books which improved my literacy.
University of Regina
I entered the music program at the University of Regina and quickly realized it was not for me. I had a profound realization. *Warning 3rd person narrative: Just because you can sing “Give Me One Reason,” does not mean you know theory or technical skills like properly reading music, Katherine.* As a result, I took mostly History and English classes during my first year in Music and absolutely loved them. My marks increased by about 10-15%, as I was encouraged to critically think and analyze; skills that were not always rewarded in my past.
You know when you listen to “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and you think you know where the song is going, but suddenly you get M. Night Syamalan’d and a crazy twist that you weren’t expecting happens?
M. Night Syamalan
I never had this huge desire or “calling” to become a teacher. I knew that I would probably be good at it because I love to critically think and continuously learn. I seriously love learning… I wish there was a job where you could stay in university forever and learn all the knowledge it has to offer. I often hear stories where people say “I always knew that I wanted to do this because [enter reason here].” I think that it is great when people get that feeling. However, I think there is a lot of pressure to have that feeling and if it doesn’t happen, you question whether or not you should be in the profession. This is something I have contemplated for a really long time… do I really want to do this? All I see are people being so sure of their path, but I can’t ignore the forks in the road. I have the choice to move in a different direction and seek a new journey.
Here is the thing though: I have chosen to be a teacher which doesn’t make my path any less valid than those who are sure of it. I have always critically thought about decisions in my life so why should I expect to know exactly what I want to do with my life? Peers, mentors, some of my teachers, and especially media all contribute to the pressure people feel to “just know.” Well, I don’t know. I am choosing. I love building relationships with kids. I am choosing it because I want to see students succeed and I feel like I can help them do it; students can become active citizens of the world and realize that success looks differently for everyone. As I said before, I love learning… and I can’t think of a better way to do it than from students who have new ideas and experiences that I can grow from.
Melville Comprehensive School
I had the opportunity to do my internship at Melville Comprehensive School. I grew so much as a teacher, professional, colleague, learner, and person during these four months. I honestly can’t think of another profession that encourages you to critically reflect on your abilities and learn from your weaknesses more than being a teacher. The students I met in that school changed my entire outlook on life and I know they are going to do some wonderful things in the future. #cobrapride
I’ll get into more of my internship later…
Click here for Part II of my Tech Task — Technology in the Classroom