Saturday, 3 September 2016

Teaching in Diverse Classrooms + Where I'll be in 5 Years

It's amazing how I'm taking this PIDP 3260 class on the edge of my last few months in Canada. I mean, I was born and raised here, but I'll be moving with my wife to Ireland (her homeland) near the end of the year.

We have connections to some instructors there, where I may be able to work with two main age groups: youth who have had poor life experiences, and older adults and seniors. I specialize in teaching computer literacy, and instilling confidence in people's public speaking.

Brookfield's 2nd edition book has a chapter called "Teaching in Diverse Classrooms". What better chapter to pick for a blog post? Diversity is discussed from "self-directed" to "highly teacher-dependent" learners in this chapter. There is diversity in "personalities ranging from extrovert to introvert", also in identity which can stem from sexual orientation, religion, and ideologies.

Being born and raised in the greater Vancouver area, I've worked with racially, sexually, and religiously diverse colleagues, students, and teachers through my life. I've been throughout Canada, and feel that I'm able to manage the soft skills involved with making everyone feel accepted and comfortable in the classroom. I'm very open and understanding, and work well with those who often would feel uncomfortable in many situations.

Students will come from varying backgrounds. There will be no "best-fit" formula for all students. It's important to understand that learners are all individuals, and will interpret learning individually. Brookfield states that the "Critical Incident Questionnaire" (CIQ) will be helpful in attaining feedback to better shape the classroom and provide the best quality of learning.

"Only by conducting some form of continuous classroom research such as the CIQ will you be able to know how diversity is manifesting itself and how successful are your efforts to address it."

That said, I believe I'll bring the right attitude towards a new challenge in Ireland. Whether I end up teaching youth who have had to deal with difficult situations, or older adults and seniors, each will provide their own diversity. Their role as stakeholders in the education they want to acheive may vary, but my responsibility will remain the same. My approach and how I conduct myself will make the most impact.

My other options include moving into Instructional Design or Technical Writing. I've had experience in both, and there are major companies with their EU headquarters situated in Ireland at the moment. I could save some money by working at these companies, and move towards a Masters degree in Education in the future. I could also move into corporate training, or acquire my Microsoft certificates specializing in teaching Microsoft-related software. These avenues may provide more monetary reward, but I'm less motivated by money and more by how I feel and what experience teaches me.

All that said: I have Crohn's Disease and my wife is a Type 1 Diabetic. We've got more on our plates than many people, jobs and education aside. My number one goal is to maintain her health, and mine. Outside of that, enough money to cover expenses such as medication, food, shelter is all we need as long as we have each other. I mean, sure, I'd love to have a car, travel a bit and all, but teaching others and helping them do things that I'll never be able to do makes me happier than a new toy ever would.

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