We know the importance of food access and how adequate and consistent access to healthy food helps provide energy – energy that children need to get them through the day. We also know that not all students have access to food. When you work at an inner city school, you see this reality every single day.
Lord Selkirk Park is home to the poorest neighbourhood in Winnipeg, with 68% of residents living below the poverty line. The unemployment rate is 18.7%; an average income is $15K, and rent averages under $500 a month (CBC Manitoba). Over 60,000 Winnipeggers access food banks each year; including access to food missions to ensure a hot meal every day. One in 3.5 Manitoban children are living in poverty – that’s an estimated 85,000+ children; 62% of children are in single-families. Manitoba has the highest Indigenous child-poverty rate in Canada – 76%, more than three-quarters (Winnipeg Free Press, 2016). Poverty goes beyond food here in Winnipeg – it includes housing, clothing, medical care (including access to medication), and extra-curricular activities that help promote health, fitness, and well-being.
R.B. Russell is located just steps from the Lord Selkirk Park community.
I am not quite sure how 2018 is already here, but it is here. My word for 2018 is change. I’m ready for personal changes and professional changes. Last year my word was, slay. I sure did slay… and it was quite the year.
In January, it was the start of a crazy whirlwind of final year. We went back to (ed) school early, and we were quickly thrown into presentations and preparing for graduation; and subsequently, applying for jobs and interviews. I had my first teacher interview in January, and was hired as a substitute by the time I completed education.
February was filled with more interviews for sub lists and I found myself on two more. March was crazy because it was the last month of ed classes and the beginning of my final student teaching block. April was spent student teaching and lesson planning; I swear I can’t remember everything because that is how fast it went.
Then finally, the two years of Education came to and end. In May I subbed, June I graduated and was hired for my first job.
One of our jobs (of many) as a teacher is to help our students become outstanding citizens within our community. It is a hard task, but we try our very best. We even report this on report cards! One way to teach our students to become outstanding citizens, and people, is to teach them how to fill the buckets of others.
What is Bucket Filling?
Everyone carries an imaginary bucket. This bucket makes us feel good as an individual. We can fill a bucket by making compliments and doing something good for that person; however, we can take away from the bucket by being mean and a bully. Bucket filling helps express kindness and appreciation. In a world that seems to be filled with hate, by what we witness on the news, teaching our students to fill buckets is extremely important.
Traditionally, we teach students to fill the buckets of their peers. Teachers will put mini buckets in the classroom, or envelopes on the wall with the names of the students, and the peers have the opportunity to put nice comments in the container. At the end of the week, the teacher will read what others have said about that student. I love this activity with students because you are able to see their confidence build as you read the positive comments out loud. Seeing them smile and feel good about themselves is absolutely incredible.
Bucket Filling outside the classroom
Friday marked the last day of my teaching term at a school that Winnipeggers deem “tough.” Let me tell you, while it may be a “tough” school to teach at… it is not a “tough” school. For years, stereotypes have plagued the school and my community. Kids that attend this school are labeled as “dropouts”, “hoodlums”, “gangsters”, and “nobodies”. I’m here to tell you, that they are so not that stereotype and that they are kids that want to graduate.
R.B. Russell Vocational School is a family. It is my family.
Why, hello friends! It sure has been a hot minute since I last blogged. There’s a very good reason for my absence – I have been teaching since the first day of school in September! Can you believe that October is almost over?! I’m teaching at a high school in my community, and I absolutely love every single minute of it. My students are teaching me how to be a better teacher for them. Isn’t it great when your students can teach you? That is how it should be!
I’m not going to say that there hasn’t been any struggles. There has been. Students are absent quite a lot, and they’re not handing in their work. Both have really eaten me up and have kept me up at night. What am I doing wrong? Am I a good teacher? Are they not enjoying my class? What can I do to make class easier for them? It’s been a never ending self-reflection these past few weeks. I have learned that things happen and we all need to be responsible.
My students are incredible human beings that make me happy. I am happy to see them every day, and when they’re gone. I miss them. When they return, I am so happy to see them – and I tell them that. Celebrate the little things.
Slowly but surely I will have content on this blog. It’s not going to be every day or every week – it will happen when it happens. Thanks for sticking around, I really do appreciate it. Let’s begin this thing we call teaching!