Monday, January 6, 2014

That Eleven Facts and Questions Everyone is Doing

Hi folks. Playing along, not sure why but @starleigh_grass sent this to me so I thought "well, I've got nothing better to do..." It has been flying around the PLN and I've been seeing it everywhere. So here for your entertainment and edification:

11 random facts about me:

1. Growing up, I wanted to be an archaeologist, not a First Nations archaeologist but a "Classical" one, Roman, Greek and Egyptian, perhaps Aztec and Mayan. I want to learn how they lived through their material culture. I found it all fascinating. Barring that, I was interested in paleontology because dinosaurs are awesome.

2. I love reading and it is one of my favourite ways to pass the time, even though I haven’t been able to in a long time. I read it all: The Hardy Boys, Alfred Hitchcock presents The Three Detectives, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Michael Connelly, and Jim Butcher. I devoured books as a kid.  I devoured books on archaeology particularly and there was a time when I would be visiting the library every day.

3. I’m sort of tired of the whole superhero comic book movies playing right now. I wouldn’t mind the film world exploring some other comic or graphic novel stories, something other than a superhero story would be nice.  Also tired of zombie movies and found footage stuff. Why do I say this? Why not.

4. I’ve been disillusioned of the whole education system for some time now. I find it talks a good game on Aboriginal Education but I have a hard time seeing anything real and concrete happening. While there are things that are being done and they are great, the real necessary change at the institutional level is not happening and I don’t believe that any real transformational change is going to happen any time soon.

5. I wanted to be an actor when I was growing up and my undergraduate degree is in Drama and History. I never took the risk of going to the city to try to get work, either Edmonton (near where I went to school) or Vancouver. I live with regret on that particularly because it is something I continue not to do. One of my professors in my final year said something to me that caused it all to crash down: “Bob, you’re a good actor, but you’re uncastable.” After that, the plan to move to the city and get an agent or start the theatre company didn’t have the same urgency.

6. I consider August 29th to be a second birthday right now. On this day in 2013, I signed my resignation letter and left my school district. I am unsure whether I will be continuing as a teacher as yet, but that decision is one that I am happy with because it was not just a letting go of an unhealthy work relationship but it was a stepping out of my comfort zone on many levels, including a small attempt to be more social, some attempts to move forward with some film ideas, the taking of a holiday that threw me into some new experiences that I will always cherish. So, while I am currently unemployed (although I can argue self-employed with the film company) and poor, I am happier than I have been in a long time. Going to need to look for work soon though ;)

7. My favourite movie is Ghostbusters.

8. I often wonder if I am missing something but since it isn’t in my life I also wonder if I am just overthinking it.

9. I have always watched Doctor Who in some way, with my Mom and with my Grandpa.  Of the Classic Series, the Fifth Doctor was always my Doctor, controversial I know, but not all of us were enamoured of Tom Baker.  He was good, yes, but Peter Davison was the Doctor I remember.  I've never seen the 1996 movie, I'd like to but it just hasn't ever been around for me to see.  I never watched the new show when it debuted seven years ago with the Ninth Doctor, just wasn't interested, I was too busy with my balancing act, two disparate "careers" and graduate school in the evenings.  I never gave it a second thought and, from what I hear, that was a good thing: at the time it aired on CBC here in Canada and they were allegedly brutal with their edits. A couple of years ago, I took a leave of absence from my job and stopped trying to run my small business. I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. One of the things that I did in my “recovery year” was to start watching the new series of Doctor Who and I do believe that it is important because it made me feel better.  I have always tried to look at the world with wonder and I had lost that.  Watching the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctor save the Earth, get in trouble, get out of it, deal with their past and always look at the universe with a sense of wonder... well it helped.

10. I am not a strong practitioner of any of the traditional activities or ceremony events of either of the Indigenous cultures that I am a part of. This is not because I am “colonised” or “inauthentic.” I am happy with my current level of participation, I have been active trying to create a better tomorrow for our youth through the education system and through the television projects I have carried out. I buy into Thomas King’s pronouncement at the end of The Inconvenient Indian that Native people want the right to live their lives in the way that they choose and I am trying to do that, so the fact that I don’t smudge, or sweat or fish or whatever does not make me less Indian. I have made choices on where I want to focus my energy. Please respect that as I am respectful of your choices.

11. I love Las Vegas, but I want to go to the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon.

11 questions from Starleigh:

1.       What element of your personal background most influences your teaching?

I was very unhappy with my high school education (drama class notwithstanding), particularly the lack of representation of First Nations’ experience and what felt like a bias against it in my learning. I think I take that forward with me in my teaching experience.

2.       What's the most memorable classroom activity you experienced as a K-12 learner?

When I was in grade 4 in CFB Kingston, Ontario (Dad was a soldier), I was sitting in class waiting to learn about the Native peoples of British Columbia and the teacher was excited and talking about how we had a special guest coming in to talk about his tribe and culture. In walks my Grandpa.

3.       Who is your educational change role model?

Sorry Starleigh, it’s you. It was your encouragement to try out the blogosphere and your willingness to share your work and experience has been inspirational.

4.       Which professional learning event/organization has made the biggest difference in your practice?

None really. I want to be able to say FNESC or BCTF, the Ministry, something, anything but I haven’t found anything that has inspired me in my practice. I’m very interested in the Aboriginal focus schools in Prince George and Vancouver but I haven’t heard anything recently about them and I haven’t been so affected as to have it make a difference in my practice. Silencing plays a huge part in that, I suspect.

5.       What actions do you take to combat racism?

I try to explain its effect on the victim and to teach the historical oppression behind the racism as expressed. I am not strong at calling it out when I hear it from a student as it has been generally directed at me when I have heard it.

6.       Why do you blog?

Peer Pressure.

Well, no, it’s an attempt to share my understanding of Aboriginal Education, why it matters and some ideas on how to change the system.

7.       Who's traditional territory do you currently live and/or work on?

I live in the community of the Peters First Nation, my home community. We are an independent Band of Sto:lo people. I am unemployed currently, except for the film company (which is unpaid) and I do that stuff on my reserve.

8.       How would you describe your interactions with the first peoples on whose territory you currently live and/or work on?

Complicated and tiresome.

9.       What is one thing that you started in 2013 that you hope to complete in 2014?

My redefinition of my life.

10.   What is one thing that you hope to do differently and/or better in 2014?

Oh, so many things. Pursue some of my dreams as opposed to ignoring them all the time.

11.   What were you doing ten minutes before you got onto your computer?

Rearranging furniture.

I am breaking the chain because I see much of you educator types have done this already and I am tired and don’t want to think of any questions. Sorry.

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