Throughout the course of this semester, I‘ve been exposed to countless new perspectives and ideas in relation to education, students, pedagogy, assessment, and society at large. As is often the case with post-secondary education, it’s been a whirlwind of information, which I’m still digesting as courses enter their final days. Unsurprisingly, it’s been an eye-opening experience and one that will help set the course for the rest of my life, both professionally and personally. My personal standpoint has evolved quickly as my professors have taught me about the diversity of people and students I can expect to encounter as a teacher. Thanks to discussions with my peers, I was able to consider aspects of my life that have further affected my standpoint, many of which I hadn’t consciously acknowledged previously.
Regarding our classroom discussions, I’ve had to come to terms with the reality that I had been previously underappreciating our connection in Canada to Indigenous people and their history. Having grown up in the Greater Toronto Area, my exposure to Indigenous culture was very limited, and I had felt that they had very little impact on my identity as a Canadian. This program however has caused me to take a much deeper look into the history of our country and what it means to be Canadian. I have a better understanding of our country’s true history, and a better grasp of the varying standpoints others living here have.
Meanwhile, my peers encouraged me explore more deeply the aspects of my life that might be affecting my standpoint. My original standpoint was perhaps too surface level, dealing with my immediate family, hobbies, past education, and work experiences. My classmates however pointed out that there’s a variety of culture and spirituality very close to me that’s impacting me daily. Thanks to those discussions I was able to explore my standpoint more deeply and update my product accordingly.
Our lesson on privilege helped expose me to a broader definition of the word. I learned that beyond white privilege there are also many others to consider, including heterosexual privilege, gender privilege, religious privilege, and socio-economic privilege. I’ve always known that we must look to acknowledge and understand how privilege affects us and the people around us, but only through a greater understanding of privilege can one hope to do so.
Another major lesson from this semester has been the focus on the impact and value of having a growth mindset. I've already seen at home how our conversations have affected the ways in which I interact with my children. I notice when they hold back because they're worried about making mistakes, and can react by assuring them that mistakes are opportunities to learn, and that I will be here to help them when they encounter difficulties.
Perhaps one of the most important takeaways is that I’ve learned is that one must always be striving to grow and broaden their outlook. It’s important to remind ourselves that no matter how much we have experienced, learned, and done, that our perspective can always widen. Not only will I endeavour to never take my standpoint for granted, more importantly, I will continually strive to understand and embrace the standpoints of others.