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.
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.
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.”