Learning and Teaching with Passion

Learning and Teaching with Passion by: Heather Doraty
Posted on 09/30/2020
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I have worked as an elementary teacher for many years and the last 17 years were with Foundations For the Future Charter Academy. I have recently retired but my learning has not stopped, largely due to the Professional Growth Plans that I worked on during the last three years of my teaching, an encouraging Principal and some pretty fabulous team teachers.

When Professional Growth Plans (PGP) first came out I had the attitude that it was just another task to complete but as year after year rolled around I realized I was not always using my PGPs to their full advantage. When the opportunity to incorporate teaching about Indigenous peoples into the curriculum arose, I realized that here was something I could be passionate about! Why? Because it was not just an academic interest but a personal interest. What I found was something I never expected. Suddenly, learning about the Metis peoples, their history, their customs, their struggles and their triumphs became an exciting adventure rather than that PGP task that I struggled to complete each year!

This is my Metis Grandmother (Koohkoom)

Growing up, my Father would tell me stories of our Metis relatives and events around Batoche, Louis Riel, Gabriel Dumont and the Metis people. I was also curious about many of the Metis customs because we lived on a farm that was not close by any of the Metis settlements. Three years ago I decided to focus my PGP on the prairie Metis. But first I had to figure out if this would actually fit into the grade two curriculum that I was teaching at the time. With help from my principal, we discovered that the grade two curriculum called for study of a prairie community but it did not specifically identify which prairie community to study. I decided to use the Metis settlement at Batoche as my prairie community.