Julie Hockridge will be teaching Kindergarten in Lac Seul First Nation starting in September 2018. Julie completed her Bachelor of Education at Queen’s University. She is originally from Apsley, ON.
Relationships have been the foundation of my learning throughout the Summer Enrichment Program: connections with my fellow teachers, the Teach For Canada staff, as well as with the land and community. We’ve been together for only a few short weeks but the relationships we’ve formed here have deep roots, and I’m sure they will have far reaching branches. These relationships have allowed me to grow intellectually and spiritually. This is the kind of growth I want for my students. This program has shown us that we must invest in building connections with our students and their communities in order to allow them to flourish. As returning Teach For Canada teacher Nicole Pereira reminded us this week, “We are teaching children, not subjects”.
Breaking with the Past
For so hundreds of years, relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples have been characterized by paternalism and oppression. Teachers have historically acted as agents of colonization. Many Canadians don’t realize that schools are often places of fear and trauma for Indigenous peoples. Teach For Canada refuses to be complicit in this cycle. Although we were not the teachers who perpetrated the cruelty and trauma of residential schools, we have inherited the consequences. As teachers it is now our job to reconcile the wrongs of the past and recognize that these injustices are still occurring. We all strive to make schools safe places for our students. I hope to work towards this in the North through my relationships with my students. In order for our kids to love learning, we must first love our kids.
Reconciliation requires that we build healthy relationships with the communities we are serving. I have realized throughout the Summer Enrichment Program that my job is not to change the world or fix what’s broken. I just have to love my kids and follow the community’s direction. Good intentions are not enough. We must also have good actions.
A New Network of Support
The relationships I have formed at the Summer Enrichment Program will support my ability to form relationships within my new community. I am excited to grow even more than I already have. I will go to Lac Seul First Nation with an open heart and mind, and I know that I will learn even more than I teach.