I am pleased and excited to welcome you to our school in Canada! I am certain you will be a wonderful addition to the science department here and cannot wait to collaborate with you. I know that you must be busy preparing for your departure so I will try to answer your question concisely and to the best of my abilities. After reading your question, “what does every Canadian need to know today,” I had to sit back and think. I hope what I have come up with is helpful for you as you prepare.
First things first, a group of science teachers has worked together and come up with a very well laid out curriculum for Science 8, Science 9, Science 10, biology 11/12, chemistry 11/12, physics 11/12, and earth science 11. For each Integrated Resource Package (IRP) there are prescribed learning outcomes to help guide you through the concepts. For the lower level sciences the textbook is a wonderful resource that was written based on the IRP for British Columbia. I have attached the website for all of these packages and if there are any questions or confusion I am more than willing to help. In this aspect the subject based knowledge has been provided for us and we are always looking for ways to keep the concepts interesting for the students so any ideas as you go through the IRPs would be greatly appreciated!
Subject knowledge is very important as I am sure you will understand from the previous paragraph, but there are other things that students in Canada need to learn to help them be successful adults. Students should learn respect for their peers, surroundings, teachers, administration, etc. They should learn responsibility, for example when they have an assignment due date, it is understandable that things happen in life, but they are still responsible for that assignment and so a conversation with the teacher should occur. One of the most important pieces of knowledge is care. As I was scrolling through a social media site the other day I saw a quote by Denis Leary that put it simply, “Racism isn’t born, folks. It’s taught. I have a 2 year-old son. Know what he hates? Naps. End of list.” I also see this as something students can see the opposite of, if you can learn to hate something or someone, you can also learn to love and care for that someone or something. In the article I have also attached Dias mentions that cultural literacy as knowledge ought to be defined as a gradually evolving network of relationships… relationships that involve personal ownership, that is, the reader actively involved in the making of meaning rather than passive recipient, and texts as dynamic and unstable entities rather than texts as museum pieces in glass cases, unchanging and unchangeable (p.15). If we can incorporate these ideas into our classrooms through environment as well as schoolwork then as a teacher we are working hard to ensure our students are learning what Canadians need to know today.
If there is anything you need I will try my best to help or find someone that will be able to. I am hoping to get a chance to have you participate or view my class and provide any feedback that will help me improve as a teacher as well!
Dias, P. (1992). Cultural literacy, national curriculum: What (and how) does every Canadian student really need to know? English Quarterly, 24(3-4), 10-19.