Who Am I
My name is Rochelle (she/her),
I am grateful for the difficult, yet courageous journey my ancestors ventured on: from North India; through immigration to the Fiji Pacific Islands; and now to be welcomed as a settler onto the Unceded and Traditional Territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, where I am honoured to be a first generation citizen. I acknowledge and thank the Coast Salish Peoples, who have allowed me to live out the gifts which my ancestors and God have given me - teaching and empowering the next generation through education, on this Unceded land that I call home today.
So who am I? I am currently a social entrepreneur, author, global educator, and soon to be classroom educator!
I have been so honoured to work in communities and classrooms across the world including in: Fiji, Kenya, Australia, New Zeland, USA and of course Canada! Throughout my experiences, I’ve learnt that age doesn’t matter when it comes to making a difference, and try my best to live by that as well.
Some fun facts: I am a foodie and love all things food, love traveling and exploring museums, and I have a large breed dog named Bear.
Feel free to take a look around, and ask any questions that you'd like. I cannot wait for you to explore my portfolio below!
Themes in Education 400 That Stood Out to Me/ What I Discovered
1. My Social Identity before Education 400
2. How my social identity has impacted the way I learn
3. Meaningful Land Acknowledgments
4. My role as a global educator
5. My responsibility to the community
6. My responsibility to the classroom
7. Being a champion for my students and SOGIE principles
8. My responsibility to the land and to Indigenous communities
9. Cultural appropriation and racism
10. International Education
11. Shaping my classroom mindset
My Role As A Global Educator
My Responsibility To Communities
I believe that building a diverse and inclusive space is crucial for learners, and for their growth. In saying this, this is were the community comes in. I believe that my responsibility to my community is to build, and inspire student change makers that want to build sustainable, and diverse communities.
In addition, I've been reflecting on the SOGIE principles and have been pondering ideas on how I can foster/create a diverse and inclusive learning space for my future students. A quote that stood out to me while reflecting on the SOGIE principles: "If there are no out transgender students at your school, it doesn’t mean they are not there. Rather, it means that they cannot come out and live who they are at school." (Airton, L. (2019). The gender-friendly classroom: Practical advice for teachers on welcoming gender diversity every dayEducation Canada 59(2), 24-29.) Reflecting on this during my time here in Education 400, this to me means to be authentically accepting and open to all students in my classroom; this will result in a vibrant and hopefully warm classroom environment.
Here are some posters/flyers/words of encouragement I am planning on using in my classroom.I believe that words hold power, specially if they are put into action, and this is exactly what I hope to accomplish by posting and sharing these in my classroom. I hope to create changemakers, and positive movers and world shakers. By building a sustainable inclusive classroom, I know I will be able to make a difference and create a postive learning environment for the next generation.
My responsibility to my community is also to be true to who I am, as an individual and as an educator. In saying this, I have also been reflecting on our conversations with Omar, the Identity wheel and the following quote "We teach who we are" (Parker Palmer). This made me further reflect on my family, the hardships they faced as indentured labours to Fiji, then leaving Fiji because of a coup to settle into Surrey, BC for the benifit of their children and the generations to come. This poem is about those hardships, and an exploration of my culteral identity. In previous times, I never felt like I could call the countries mentioned in the poem home. I have now realized I do belong, any where I would like to be. And that my idenitiy has the ability to evolve overtime. I am looking forward to bringing in my cultural identity into my teaching, and to showcase that lens.
My Responsibility To Learners/Classroom
I believe that my responsibility to learners and to my classroom comes in three folds - to help shape guidelines in creating a safe space to learn, to be a mentor/leader/support when students need it, and to lead not only through the written curriculum, but also through hidden curriculum as well.
Through my time during Education 400, I have learnt that my responsibility as an educator, in addition to the above, is also to be true in my teaching. What does this mean? This means to be authentic in the way I deliver material, to the way I interact with my students.
My responsibility is to make sure every individual who enters my classroom feels inspired to learn a little more, either about themselves, or about the course work.
My responsibility from the classroom to international education, is to make sure all voices are being respected, heard, and held accountable.
In saying this, I cannot wait to put this piece to work. This is a poster I am planning to use in my classroom to help create a classroom contract/ guideline; in hopes of creating a place where everyone feels belonged.
The act and art of mindfulness is a powerful tool to utilize, in my own life as an educator, and in my classroom.
I wanted to reflect upon a quote that was shared during our breakout session: "That’s life: starting over, one breath at a time." by: Sharon Salzberg. Through this quote and from the learnings of this class, I was reminded how important it is to be in the moment, in the present, and to expect the unexpected.
In saying this, I also wanted to create a resource & point of reference for myself, and my future class to use when practicing mindfulness.
I hope to use these activities in my classroom, as a routine of mindfulness for all that would like to participate. As I truly do believe that one of my responsibilities as an educator is to be a role model in the space of mental and physical well being.
Through learnings from Omar, and my International classroom experience, I now know I want to be a champion, and advocate for quality education - both in my classroom and in the community.
My Responsibility To Myself /Professional Learning Community
When first entering the PLC environment, I immediately noticed the diverse backgrounds and experience's everyone had brought forward in our PLC space. In saying this, with this in mind it made me think of the quote stated here on our left, and made me further reflect upon how this can be a clear statement in a classroom setting as well.
I believe that it is my responsibility within our PLC group to share the diverse experiences I bring, and to also be open to learning the stories, and life adventures of others.
It is also my responsibility to be adaptable in our PLC environment, and to be ok in comfortably, uncomfortable situations; as these are the times when great growth occurs.
My hope is that as I continue to learn with and alongside my fellow PLC members, that I am able to support them in their careers, as they will support me going forward.
My Responsibility To The Land
This poem serves as a reflection into my deepened appreciation for the land that I stand on, because of this course.
Before Education 400, I was aware of the different protocols set in place for Indigenous ways of being, but was not able to connect the dots; in a way that was able to impact my daily life.
During Education 400, I have been able to deepen that connection to my land, and to the Indigenous communities around me. Now I am able to give: meaningful land acknowledgments that tie into my social Identity, and my appreciation for the land, I am able to address that I am a settler and respect/ want to learn more about Indigenous communities whenever I can, and I am now able to teach others what and why I am uncomfortable with the term settler, as a first generation "Canadian" citizen.
This poem was a result in my learning over the semester, and truly speaks to the importance of involving Indigenous communities in decision making process's.
Furthermore, the poem above is in regards to the logging actions that take place in Surrey, BC. Currently, according to Mayor and Council, Indigenous communities are not being consulted on this, and or are not being invited to speak about their land and the process's of the City.
I find this to be saddening, as the land that we stand on belongs to the ancestors that made this a home for all of us; and most of these ancestors include Indigenous Communities.
Going forward, I will be advocating for more spaces in Municipal and Provincial Government, to help provide a space for Indigenous communities to lead the way.
"Cultural appropriation is an emotional issue for Indigenous peoples. We forever live in its shadow and feel its effects. The absence of our voices has made it easy for inequality to persist..." - Unreconciled The Power to Tell Our Stories
1. Cultural appropriation takes many forms
2. It is avoidable and serves as a teaching moment
3. Cultural appropriation is not ok
International Education Insights
Before joining Education 400, and the PDP program, I had some experience in International education and teaching, but I learned a lot teaching/observing via Zoom this semester virtually in Tibet.
My greatest take aways from our Zoom/ virtual teaching moments in Tibet:
1. Time zones are tricky, always triple check your schedule
2. English is not everyone's strong suit, tailor lesson plans to meet the needs of the students
3. Smile even brighter via Zoom, body language will be harder to convey
4. A many thank you's are better than none
5. Be kind to yourself, take breaks when needed
Overall, I am looking forward to teaching in classrooms all over the world, and getting the opportunity to meet a lot of new students that are as eager to learn as I am.
Enjoy some photos of my time teaching and observing either in classroom sessions ( in person from previous experiences, or online via Zoom) - virtually in Tibet India.
Shaping My Classroom Mindset
In my classroom I will create a safe, diverse, and inclusive place for everyone to create dialogue, and form community.
In my classroom, I will support and empower students to think critically and create innovative solutions/ideas for the communities around them.
In my classroom and in the community, I will continue to make a difference, and inspire my students to fight for justice.