A Little About Me
It has been about three and a half years since my last blog post, so I think it’s high time for a quick life update! My name is Raquel Oberkirsch. I am a white settler living and working on Treaty 4 territory in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. My ancestors came to Canada from East Galicia (a region in Western Ukraine and Poland), Belgium, France, and Ireland, and I think of myself as an uninvited guest on this territory. In the past few years, I have also come to think of myself as a Treaty neighbour or relative with Treaty responsibilities, and I am doing my best to live into those responsibilities in a good way.
Teaching Experience & Current Role
This is my fifth year of teaching. I taught in Regina Public School Division for my first two years – Grade 6/7 for one year, Grade 7 for four months, and Grade 2/3 for six months. When my husband finished university, we moved back to Weyburn and I applied to South East Cornerstone Public School Division. I taught High School Math/Science in Fillmore for a year and then moved into my current role as a Curriculum Consultant for Indigenous Education and Treaty Education. Here are some of my responsibilities in this position:
Last year, I travelled to schools across our division to support teachers in their classrooms, but this year, I have been providing all my support online through Microsoft Teams due to COVID restrictions. This has been mostly synchronous, with me going into classrooms virtually to facilitate lessons and/or team teach with teachers. I am looking forward to exploring different tools and platforms for online learning and applying these ideas to my teaching this year.
I just started my Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Regina this fall, and my first class (EC&I 823: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Effective Teaching Practices for Indigenous Students) was a fantastic learning experience. I am considering transferring into the new Master of Education in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership program. Is anyone else thinking of switching programs? Comment below and we can discuss!
Rescuing My Blog from the Depths of the Interweb
I am very excited to have my blog/ePortfolio back up and running! I purchased my domain back in 2016 while taking ECMP 355, after being convinced that it matters to have “A Domain of One’s Own.” At some point, I forgot to pay the yearly fee for my domain and almost lost all my content. It was NOT a good feeling. Thankfully, the support team at Reclaim Hosting helped me track down a web archive, but it was just a static copy and not an actual WordPress site.
Finally, over the winter break, I made time to deal with the problem. I created a subdomain, installed WordPress, copied all my content over, and then cloned the subdomain back over to my main domain. Learning the new block editor on WordPress was slightly painful, but it was worth it. The support team at Reclaim Hosting was extremely helpful through this whole catastrophe.
Goals for EC&I 834
Here are three of my goals for this course:
1) Continue to build my PLN
I have been hovering around 800 followers on Twitter for a few years and would love to break this plateau and reach 1000 followers! I barely even wanted to type that goal into existence because it seems a bit daunting. My problem is that although I use Twitter daily, I sometimes fall into a habit of just reading/consuming but not contributing my own thoughts. To build my PLN, I want to tweet daily, engage with my classmates’ blog posts regularly, and contribute to conversations on our EC&I 834 classroom community on Discord. You can follow me on Twitter here!
2) Gain experience with blended and online learning practices
I am looking forward to designing an online course prototype that will be useful to the teachers and classes that I work with. Since most of my current instruction is provided synchronously, I want to gain experience designing purposeful, engaging asynchronous activities and think about what blended learning could look like in my role. Since I don’t have my own classroom, I am hoping one or two teachers that I work with regularly will have their class try it out and provide feedback on it!
3) Practice pedagogical strategies for being an anti-oppressive and culturally responsive educator while doing online/blended learning
My goal is to take what I learned about culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) in EC&I 823, as well as what I have learned about becoming an anti-oppressive educator and apply these philosophies to online/blended learning. How can we make our online/blended classrooms more equitable spaces? What strategies can we implement to develop a learning community where all students feel they belong; experience academic success; and start to understand power, privilege, and social inequities?