One of the reasons I haven’t been posting much on my blog is that I am trying to study. I’m studying Educational Issues and Social Change: Current Debates. It’s a course that many teachers get to do while at university, in fact I think it’s pretty much required. It’s also required for me in order to get my teaching certification. So I have been reading and writing essays. Topics which have included: Ideology and the Neoliberal Reforms, Professionalism and Proletarization in teaching, Equality of Opportunity and the Feminization of Poverty which are all done, leaving me with Multiculturalism to navigate. It’s a lot of reading, and I have to say that I’ve been a pretty good student managing to study, most days, three hours or so. As I head into my final unit I thought I would share a few of the interesting things I have discovered over the last ten weeks.
- Things have either gotten easier or I am smarter than I gave myself credit for. Paper 1: 94% Paper 2: 100%. It may not be that I am smarter but that I am putting some effort into a subject I do find really interesting. I’m also somewhat more focussed than the last time I was writing papers, when beer, women and finding out who I was kind of got in the way. It does go to show though that it’s never too late to improve your education or your mind.
- That having a three year old on your lap pretty much means an end to any meaningful studying – though it is good for giggles.
- If you come from a poor background you are a lot less likely to succeed than someone from a privileged background. I love this quotation.
To be born poor is to face a greater likelihood of ill-health in childhood and throughout your adult life. To be born poor is to face a lesser likelihood you will finish high school; lesser still that you will attend university. To be born poor is to face a greater likelihood that you will be judged delinquent in adolescence and, if so, a greater likelihood that you will be sent to a correctional institution. To be born poor is to have the deck stacked against you at birth, to find life an uphill struggle ever after. ( Poor kids: A report. (1975). Ottawa: National Council of Welfare.)
- The biggest indicator of how you will do in life is not your ability or your effort at school but what your parents do.
- More women live in poverty than do men. In Canada if you are a woman you are 50 percent more likely to be living in poverty.
- The neoliberal agenda in education is as pernicious as it has been successful in getting people to believe that their narrative is the only narrative.
- That 41% of children are born out of wedlock, 22% of which are in single parent households.
- That poverty is becoming generational and social mobility is pretty much a fiction. (There is some but not much – far less than you have been led to believe.)
Of course it’s not all gloom and doom but it does have to be said that teachers do an amazing job in-spite of governmental interference.
One of the promises I made myself as I got into education for a second time, is that I would concern myself with my classroom, my students and leave the big picture stuff alone. Of course having to think about these things this intensely for weeks on end does get to you, but the end is now in sight. After that I am off on a weeks road trip, with my family, before we all head SE to Alberta and Red Deer. I’m looking forward to that and my time at UofA.