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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Living and reliving the tension in one teacher’s life Ediger, Krista Gayle

Abstract

Whenever I’m in the classroom interacting with students, teaching and learning, I’m content. I’m also energised by planning, beginning with curriculum mapping, all the way through to the formatting of project guidelines/invitations. And yet, when I think about teaching as my career, I have a physical reaction, similar to the one I had in grade six when I lied to my parents so that I could go to a mixed party. I don’t feel noxious, but my stomach does tighten. There are reasons for this that I wanted to explore, so I decided to write to learn more about why I might feel the way I do. This in itself proved daunting given my insecurities and doubts about any knowledge I may have as a result of eight years teaching. I rail against the data-driven dialogue that is accorded so much value these days, and yearn for more stories, but am unsatisfied by my own. One of the themes that emerged during the writing of this paper was the importance of process. I’ve worked to make my classroom more process-oriented over the past two years. I place more emphasis on formative assessment and look for ways to move the focus away from the seemingly magnetic pull of tests, final projects and ultimately, report cards. I begin the process here of recognising that the tensions I feel with regard to evaluation (I worry that my having to assign grades negates any gains that may come from narrative feedback) and time (there’s not enough to teach the way I know I could with fewer demands) will never be resolved. I need to change in order to be more at peace with teaching. I also need to continue to search for ways out and through and around and in between the concerns I have because without some real work I believe that public education in British Columbia is going to become less vibrant and viable. I began looking for answers, but now reaiise that they’re much more valuable if they spawn more questions.

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