In my grade 10 Canadian history class, I often used excerpts from Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road to explore what life was like for soldiers during WWI. In this novel, protagonist Xavier Bird returns to Northern Ontario in 1919 after fighting in France and Belgium. He is met by his aunt Niska, an Oji-Cree woman, and the two travel back to their village. On this journey, the two recount traumatic experiences from their past - Xavier as a soldier returning from the front and Niska as a survivor of residential schools.
Topics: Canada, Canadian History, Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous History, Book, Indigenous, English Classroom, big paper, English, Grade 10 History, CHC, difficult conversations, trc, stolen lives, settler educators
I’m not sure if it’s fate, or the fact that I’m a news junkie, but it seems as though I can always find a connection between what I’m studying in my classes and the news. This past term was no different.
When I landed my first job as an English teacher at an inner-city high school, I knew I wanted to use the power of stories to allow my students to explore the problems that face our world. Working with students who were at-risk academically, socially, and emotionally, I had my work cut out for me. But I really was not prepared for the preconceptions that my students held, and how difficult it would be to work through them.