My aunt called me yesterday. She knew it was the sixth anniversary of my mother’s death and she wanted to know how I was doing. I told her that while I still think of my mother every day, my grief over her death is gradually being replaced with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for her presence and influence in my life.
My aunt told me she was looking forward to attending her granddaughter’s university graduation this coming week. That reminded me of my own university graduation. After high school, I attended college for two years and then completed another year of studies to receive an education certificate so I could start teaching in 1974. But I still needed seven more courses to get my Bachelor of Arts degree.
I took all those classes by correspondence, or during summer school sessions or by enrolling in evening courses. While I did that I was teaching full time and also parenting my young son. I finally finished my last course in 1980 and was eligible to take part in commencement exercises at the University of Manitoba to receive my degree. I decided it would be too much trouble to attend.
But my mother insisted I go. “You’ve worked so hard for that degree MaryLou. You need to celebrate it. I’m going with you and you are going to walk across that stage and get your diploma.” And so that’s exactly what I did. I’ve kept this photo my Mom took of me that day. She was so proud of me. My Mom was my number one cheerleader. I am so grateful for her endless support, her pride in my accomplishments and her constant affirmation.
Crokinole and Ping Pong
International Day of the Girl
“Aren’t there any women’s cricket teams in India?” I did a blog post recently about an interesting installation in the Vision Exchange exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. You can read all about it here. The installation includes a marble cricket bat to illustrate that cricket was introduced to India by the British.
The Cartographer’s Mistake by Sarindar Dhaliwal
Last week I was showing the installation to a group of high school students and was talking to them about how India now excels at the game of cricket. They are champions who have been known to beat British teams.
A team from India wins the Under 19 World Cricket Championships in 2018
I showed the high school students the same photo I had included in my blog post of a young men’s championship cricket team from India. When I did that one of the young women on my tour asked, “Aren’t there any women’s cricket teams in India?”
I felt so embarrassed! “I can’t believe I did that,” I thought to myself. Here I am a proud feminist and I had neglected to include a picture of a women’s cricket team in my presentation! What was wrong with me? When I got home I quickly went online and sure enough, India has a strong national women’s cricket team that has been very successful on the international stage. I inserted their picture into my blog post and printed one up to show to tour groups at the art gallery in the future.
India’s national women’s cricket team
Although women do not have parity in salary, or media coverage in the field of sports as of yet, we are on the road to that kind of equality and I should be doing everything I can to promote it. The only thing that made me happy about the whole embarrassing incident was that there was a young woman bold enough and confident enough to call me out on my lack of inclusion. I told her how much I had appreciated her question when I apologized for my omission.
The incident was a great reminder that even those of us with the best of intentions can sometimes fail to be as inclusive as we should be.
Include Me Please
Inequality at the Wailing Wall
Why Are They Difficult Women?
I just made my rounds of all the elementary school classrooms where I have been a regular visitor over the last six weeks. I was getting the final reports for each of my student teachers signed and ready to hand into the university.
Mural on the wall of one of the schools I visit.
I caught up with one of my student teachers in the gym where she was running a noon hour skipping club for students. A grade five and six teacher showed me the dioramas her class is constructing illustrating the climate, geography and lifestyle of one of Canada’s indigenous nations. A grade one and two teacher let me read some of the letters her class had penned to their city councilor telling her about the changes they thought needed to happen in their community. I found another one of my teachers in the library where he and the students in the photography club he has been running at the school were setting up for a show displaying their work.
Sign on the window in one of the classrooms I visit
In another upper elementary class my student teacher showed me the crankie her class had made about the solar system. A crankie is an old storytelling art form. You start by creating a long illustrated scroll that is wound onto two spools. The spools are loaded into a box which has a viewing screen. Then the scroll is hand-cranked while the story is told. In another class the kids were redesigning Canada’s coat of arms to include symbols that would represent our indigenous communities. In a grade three and four class my student teacher was busy preparing for a fairy tale tea her class is hosting where they will read the fairy tales they have written and illustrated.
As Manitoba’s education minister Kelvin Goertzen introduced the review of the Manitoba education system his government is currently conducting he said our education system “is not working well.” I hope the people on the commission he has appointed will take the time to visit Manitoba school classrooms as I do on a regular basis, and see that there definitely are some exciting postive things going on in our schools, things that are “working well.”
Improving Education in Manitoba- Someone Thinks They Have All the Answers
Words To Live By
In a grade five and six class I have been visiting the last couple of weeks the kids and their teacher have worked out a kind of rap with actions to learn the names of all of Canada’s prime ministers.
For Sir John A. MacDonald they hold up one finger since he was Canada’s first prime minister. They make a sun over their heads for Wilfred Laurier because his catch phrase was ‘sunny ways’. They make the peace sign for Lester Pearson because he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
They make a curly French moustache for Pierre Trudeau because he was responsible for making French the official second language of Canada. While they say the names of the prime ministers and do the actions the kids look at a poster that pictures all the prime ministers. One day the student teacher I was supervising asked the students what questions they had about the prime ministers of our country. Here are some of the things they wanted to know.
- What makes a good prime minister?
- What makes a bad prime minister?
- Why are most of Canada’s prime minister’s old white men?
- Why was Kim Campbell only the prime minister for such a short time?
- How did Justin Trudeau get so popular?
- How old do you have to be to be a prime minister?
- What does a prime minister do anyway?
- Which prime minister made the first law?
- Do you have to be rich to be the prime minister?
- What does a prime minister do when they aren’t the prime minister anymore?
I thought these were great questions! I’d like some of them answered myself!
Other posts. ……
Who Should Be Prime Minister?
I Sat in the Speaker’s Chair
The Famous Five
On the window in one of the classrooms I visit for my work as a supervisor for university education students I saw all these reminders of the hallmarks of a good learner. Students had created each one with unique materials.
Running all along the front of the classroom there was a long wall banner that said………
THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE CURIOUS.
Each of the signs the students had made provided great suggestions for how learners can pique their curiosity and satisfy it. They are good suggestions for all of us if we want to be life long learners.
Words to Live By
Include Me Please
I was visiting a grade five and six class this week where the students were learning how to write persuasive essays. They had all come up with thesis statements and three reasons why their statement was true. Now they were gathering information and examples to support each reason. As I walked around the room I was fascinated by the variety of their thesis statements.
Solar panels are an excellent energy source.
My parents should buy me a cat.
Plenty of sleep is good for you.
They should serve snacks at school.
Good government is important.
Divorce is a bad thing for kids.
Shoes are too expensive.
My old school was better than this one.
I need a new computer.
Soccer is the best sport.
Immigrants are good for Canada.
My house needs to be more organized.
All schools should have sports teams.
I thought it was great that the students were being encouraged to have strong opinions and being taught to defend them in their writing. I loved talking to them about their opinions.
Helping Children Become Writers
Writers All Around
Recently Canadian Mennonite University published this photo on social media of students hanging out in a lounge playing video games together. My how times have changed I thought. But……… then I remembered the shared screen time and games that were popular when I was a student at the same university/college in the early 1970s.
CMU students watching Get Smart 1970s
Many of us would congregate in front of the television screen just before supper to watch reruns of the popular comedy Get Smart. In the show a bumbling detective named Maxwell Smart also known as Agent 99 and a smart savvy female investigator Agent 86 tried to protect the world from the evil KAOS organization.
Guys watching TV in CMU lounge 1973
My husband playing ping-pong with a CMU classmate in 1974
We didn’t play video games in the early 1970s but ping-pong and crokinole matches consumed endless hours of students’ time.
My husband’s most competitive crokinole opponent was one of his professors
By the way I noticed in this photo that current CMU students are sporting fairly long hair and that is something that was also popular in the early 1970s as my husband’s 1973 yearbook photo illustrates.
Maybe times haven’t changed that much.
And A Baby Cried
Meet You At the Folio
A Chat With My Old Professor