Ghosts of Education Yet to Come

I love to bake and share my baking, so naturally on the picket line people are savouring my cookies, cinnamon buns and oven fresh donuts. On Friday I made donuts and was sharing them with teachers and any passer byes. Two homeless men, one pushing a grocery cart full of his possessions, stopped to chat and eat my wares.

Right away they turned the conversation to their own schooling. Both had dropped out of school; one in grade five and the other in grade eight. One told me he was illiterate and said that he always had learning problems. When he was a child they separated students like him. He said they put him in a room with others sharing similar problems and nothing much happened. As a result: he never learned to read. He said he really wished they had teachers like me in the sixties (probably the donuts).

It’s true things are different from back in the sixties. Children with special needs are now in the regular classroom most of the time. They are given extra help but are fully integrated into school society. When we talk of classroom composition this is what we are talking about: a class composed of every type of student not just those physically or cognitively able to function without extra help. It is a mirror of what we are striving for in Canada in general: full integration and equal rights for all. In order to maintain quality education there needs to be a limit to the number of children with special needs in each class.

I’m hoping these homeless men are ghosts of education past. I’m not so sure though. The two programs I worked in this year that supported younger versions of these men were eliminated due to budget constraints. I fear my homeless friends may be the ghosts of education yet to come.

* Submitted byVivian Morris

1 thought on “Ghosts of Education Yet to Come”

  1. Thank you Vivian for creating this and thanks Tim for sharing it. The piece is very well written and useful. On another matter, yet perhaps related, I have noticed they some pictures on my iphone include the tag “HDR”. Curiously, I also realized that they were often paired with some other almost identical shot that looked like crap. When I researched this, I learned that the phone has some software that detects a photo with extreme contrasts, and then, the phone actually takes three shots and then melds them together to make the final inclusive yet balanced image . Not too dark or bright and perhaps pragmatically focused to include and promote all elements in their better light. In a weird way, I associate this attention to details with teachers. Seeking balance . Clarifying perspectives. Working to brighten and include some of the darker spaces or dimmer lights. Seeking to include and balance to yield a better outcome. Yes, the process does take more “resources” such as time and effort, but the outcome seems more inclusive or appealing. I commend all the official and unofficial teachers that seek to make this a habit and that make a big difference. … And perhaps, I too am humbled or pleased when I get the pair if of a snapshot versus an HDR image, and I can see the difference. It reminds me of what I likely would have missed or overlooked and it makes me appreciate some algorithms and knowledge that made it possible (no doubt inspired or shared by some teachers). If a phone camera can do this in a split second, imagine what an engaged, alert and properly supported teacher can do over the course of a year! As I consider the contrasts , I am grateful for the investment that many kind professionals made in me , and I would hope that the government has the brains and class not to irresponsibly devour the intellectual seed corn required to enable future crops and harvests. Too abstract I know but be well anyway.

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