B.Ed. students welcomed to new year, new program
Orientation session includes both first year students in newly launched B.Ed. program; second-year students finishing old program
Bachelor of Education students were welcomed to the teaching profession and to the faculty at the faculty’s recent orientation session, which included some unique elements this year.
David Mandzuk, dean of the faculty of education, told students this was a different orientation than most because in 2015, the new B.Ed. program launches (for first-year students) and the old program (for second-year students) continues to run.
“Welcome to the brand new B.Ed. program,” he told the close to 450 students gathered in University Centre’s multi-purpose room on Monday.
The new B.Ed. program provides students with more opportunities to interact in cross-stream settings, helping teacher candidates acquire a more complete picture of teaching and learning from K-12; along with more opportunities to take the program part-time. The curriculum also offers more Aboriginal perspectives.
Mandzuk encouraged first-and-second year students to ask themselves, as beginning teachers, “What motivates you to be a teacher?”
And he asked second-year students to think about how they have changed, both personally and professionally, since last year.
He noted that as students get into the field, there will be both joyful times and difficult times.
“Prepare for the highs, but also know there will be some lows,” said Mandzuk.
Melanie Janzen, the faculty’s new associate dean, undergraduate, welcomed all students into the profession and asked them to work to become “skilled and effective teachers.”
She also spoke about the importance of really getting to know their students.
And she encouraged both first and second year students to take advantage of all of the activities that the U of M’s education faculty has to offer—from student council to the Education Convention to the SAGE Professional Development Day.
Scott Hardman, the Education Student Council’s senior stick, told students that education is one of the best faculties to be a part of at U of M.
“You are part of a smaller faculty, filled with like-minded individuals. There will be a lot of opportunities to create new memories,” he said. Professors are easy to talk to and make classes a “fun experience,” he added.
“Everyone in the building creates a warm environment.”
Professor Richard Hechter provided a motivational boost during the morning’s activities, talking about his start as a science teacher and the fact that every teacher must teach with passion—otherwise students will not be inspired.
Teachers need to “give every student a voice, and champion that voice” he said. He also said taking calculated risks is important. For example, Hechter used to take students to the amusement park at West Edmonton Mall so they could study physics in action. The result was students were much more engaged in the subject matter than they would have been in the classroom, he said.
Students also received information on volunteering with the CanU after-school program from professor Michelle Honeyford and on practicums from Martha Koch, the director of the School Experiences Office.
Year 1s were also treated to a mid-morning panel on the relevance of Indigenous education in primary and secondary education.
The panel included the faculty’s Director of Indigenous Initiatives, Frank Deer, April Waters (St. James-Assiniboia), Andrea Leach (Louis Riel School Division) and Kevin Lamoureux (U of M, U of W).
Waters said it’s paramount for teachers in 2015 to not only develop a background on Indigenous issues and ideas but to keep up with ongoing changes Indigenous education. It’s not enough to be vaguely familiar anymore, she emphasized.
Lamoureux said that teachers must first and foremost be a protective factor in the lives of kids.
“It’s an amazing responsibility,” he told the group in MPR. “There is nothing richer than creating a sense of belonging for the kids.”
No matter what their background, students deserve to be given chances and to be heard, he said.
“Every student deserves a teacher in their corner—fighting for them.”
Lastly, he told those assembled that teaching with joy is really one of the most important things they can bring to their new careers.
“Love what you teach. If you have joy in the classroom, you will have less behaviour problems in the classroom.”