I have a hard time believing its been six weeks since I began teaching at Mohawk College, and I honestly think I have learned as much during this time from my students as they have learned from me. I feel so fortunate to be teaching such an amazing group of individuals who all have so much to offer. I am constantly humbled by their perseverance, determination, and positive attitude about life. I have two of the nicest and happiest people I have ever had the good fortune to meet in my class, and it is incredible to see the effect they are having on the students in our class, the College as a whole, as well as all the Faculty - truly inspiring!
A week into teaching at Mohawk the Associate Dean offered me another course to teach in their 'School Within a College' (SWAC) Program on the Social Impact and Ethical Issues Technology is having on Society. This course is for at-risk high school students to provide them a College experience. This is such a fascinating course and a joy to teach. Beginning with some history of technology, we have also discussed Marshal McLuhan's theory about technologies 'extending' and 'amputating' skills, and his TETRAD model for theoretically assessing, analyzing, and predicting social effects on society. Although my students found these topics quite intriguing, it has been our more recent topics of applying ethical arguments to the use of technology, as well as discussing GMOs that has really peaked their interest. I myself have a very keen interest in these issues, and love sharing and discussing the positives and negatives of these issues because generally speaking most have not considered where their food comes from, and what goes into it. Just as teaching my other courses for students with special needs, I find this course just as inspiring and challenging in finding ways to reach these students who in most cases have never had someone there to fight for them, or to provide them assurance in life. They are doing so well, and I only hope I am able to continue to inspire them to believe that they can achieve anything if they put their minds to it.
Back in May I attended the 3-day TRIBES training course, and am a huge fan of the activities, the inclusion and community it creates. I have used these activities every week in each of my classes, and I really feel as though it has brought our group together to a level that without would have taken much longer. The camaraderie and respect amongst my students is amazing, and it really does make your heart twinge a bit when you see them helping each other out. One of the best examples of this was last week we attended the Tim Horton's Camp at Onondoga Farm with the Recreation and Therapy Students from Mohawk College who we partner with. One of my students has a walker, and for the camp we provided an all-terrain wheel chair. Everyone was so accommodating and helpful in pushing the student around and making them feel welcome - just amazing! The day at the Camp was fantastic, and it was great to see friendships continue to blossom. Not to mention the fantastic activities we got to participate in. I was fortunate enough to participate in the mountain biking, flying fox, and nature walk with some of my students. It was great to see the students really start to come out of their shell, and one student in particular I had never seen smile so much - and is still smiling!
Similar to my students, I feel I am really finding my groove teaching at the College. I continue to adapt and modify my lessons and teaching strategies for each student, and this very flexibility is the same skill I am teaching them in adapting to the curveballs life throws us. As I always remind them - "Every day in every way, life gets better and better!" - a quote my Mom told me.