Dear New Teacher,
Welcome to Canada! I hope that you find your exchange fulfilling. The question, “what every Canadian should know”, is highly subjective, although I hope to give you at least some insight from my own perspective. I welcome you to ask the other staff as well as they may have other perspectives you find interesting as well.
I think there are some basic skills that everyone has the right to, regardless of what country they live in. This includes being able to read, write and think critically. When we think critically, we can evaluate our lives and problems we are presented with and try to find the optimal solution for everyone involved. I realize that this sounds utopian, but I do believe that critical thinking can breed empathy.
I believe that every Canadian should know how our government is set up and works. As Canada is a democratic country, citizens have the ability of influencing important decisions that impact our everyday lives. We cannot do this effectively without knowing the system. Education and knowledge is proven to make people active participants, rather than passive ones. This will also deter corruption as more citizens demand accountability.
I also believe that every Canadian should learn the skills required to file their own taxes, calculate interest, job skills such as resume and cover letter building as well as interview skills, budgeting and calculating a tip. Although job skills is being increasingly added to the curriculum, math life skills still aren’t included. Learning how to manage money can help improve the economy and the individual lives of each child we teach. The inabilities to hold a job and to manage money are the two largest factors leading to divorce. I believe that we can help avoid this.
I also believe that our students should learn both self confidence and humility. I want my students to believe in themselves, but also realize that the human condition makes us all equals. This current mantra that everyone is unique and special is breeding a “me” generation; people are becoming increasingly self absorbed and losing their sense of community.
There will always be controversy over what should or should not be included in the curriculum. This makes for stimulating conversations and will continue to help the education system improve.
I am looking forward to your stay!