Teaching on the reserve : a non-native perspective

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Fox, David J
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2000
The purpose of this paper is to reflect back on my eleven years spent teaching in a native education setting. Over half of my teaching career has been spent in native elementary schools. I hope to provide some insight into the working conditions under which teachers labor in a First Nation's system. Personal experiences will be interwoven with incidents drawn from all the schools in which I worked. The paper looks at six different aspects of reserve education. Some deal with local school situations. Others deal with the school division as a whole and some present issues that affect the school as well as the division. The first section looks briefly at the history of Native Education, my teaching experiences before coming to Alberta, and my introduction to teaching on the Blood Reserve. The second section will look at the similarities and differences among three schools and school divisions. The third section looks at the contracts under which all teachers, new and returning, have to provide their services. It also deals with issues such as the negotiation process, length of contracts, and some of the terms of the collective agreement. The fourth section focuses on administration, the decision-making process as I have experienced it, and its effect on teachers, programs, and students. The fifth section looks at several of the problems and misconceptions that are associated with native education, and native teachers. Reference is made to student's assessment and achievement. Section six looks at possible solutions to the problems discussed in section five. In the final section of the paper I will try to bring together many divergent thoughts and viewpoints. Some of the situations described in this paper have affected individuals, whole staffs, programs, and students. They have had a direct bearing on the shape and direction of native education. It is my hope that by writing this paper I can give a little glimpse into what teaching is sometimes like on the reserve, so that the reader might have a better idea of the challenges and rewards that there are in teaching in a native education system. The situations discussed in this paper pertain only to the school systems in which I have taught.
vii, 46 leaves ; 28 cm. --
Indigenous peoples -- Education -- Canada