|Before our journey to Canada, Dr. Hopper, our English education adviser told us to keep in mind this quote by Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” After seeing and finding out as much as possible in the short time we were in Calgary, I totally agree. Every day that we learned something new from visiting the Canadian schools that we visited, I felt like I had so much to say that there was not possibly enough time or writing space to explain everything that I learned. This is a good thing though! I was really a sponge like Dr. Hopper also said to be; I soaked up everything that I could!
In thinking back on the school aspects that I learned, I feel that there are definitely some things that the US could learn from Canada. However, there are also some things that I don't really agree with. In an attempt to make my opinions concise and to the point, here it goes. Yes, I love how teachers are revered in Canada. People don't look at you with that "I'm sorry" look when you tell someone you are majoring in education. Being a teacher is highly respected in Canada. No, I do not like the essentials packet in the Canadian schools. No, I do not like the no dress code thing because I believe there should be a limit to what kids should be allowed to wear to school especially to maintain professionalism. Yes, I do like the extra "Focus" and "Connect" time, but I do believe it should be used for its intended purpose: to allow students the extra time needed to get more help in a subject. It is easy for high schoolers to abuse this extra time as a social hour, and that was evident. No, I do not like the grading system. I do, however, like the fact that assignments are graded holistically versus analytically. Yes, I do like the motto: meet students where they are at because not every student you encounter is advanced and vice versa, and this is important to recognize.
These are just some of my opinions, but like previously mentioned, I learned so much that it is hard to get everything in writing.
One thing I do know, however, is that many times our higher ups in the College of Education talk about how proud they are of the METP program, but I am just as proud to be a part of something so amazing. We, METP scholars, are going to be some of the greatest teachers that Mississippi will ever produce because of all those who believe just as we do that teaching is one of the noblest professions and fund the multitude of opportunities that we are given. I have said it many times before, but I will always say just how blessed and thankful I am for METP. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be able to study abroad FOR FREE. Because of the METP scholarship, I owe so many "firsts," so many memories, and an amazing group of friends and faculty. There are truly not enough ways to say thank you for everything I have been afforded through this program, but I can continue to make those watching me, proud to have me in the program.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that allowed me to become so fully immersed in another culture's education, and for that I am forever grateful.
Thank you, METP!!