Growing up, I have had my fair share of really good teachers and really bad teachers. I remember going home, and many times I would cry because school had been ‘awful’ that day. I just didn’t get it or I had too much work to do. I felt like I had been through it all. I had to fail to learn. I had to stress to learn how to manage time. I had to step out of comfort zone to expand my knowledge. I pushed through the “Brittany, you’re not sick, you’re going to school.” I pushed through my grades being 60, then 70, then 80, then 90. I got through it because I had my family, but also because in high school you have multiple teachers. If there was one I didn’t like, it usually worked out to having two or three that I loved (shout out to Mrs. Arsenault, Mrs. Steeves, Mr. Dominie, Mrs. Doucet). I started taking things I liked and was interested in and my whole opinion on education and the education system completely changed. School became important.
I went on to college and excelled. I loved every minute of it and “Brittany, you’re not sick, you’re going to school.” turned into “Brittany, you’re too sick, go home.” I wanted to know more, I wanted to be the best I could be in my field. I managed my time, I studied (which was never something I did in high school), I read the given texts, and I learned how to stay focused. That year at college, taking a program I was completely interested in, was my best schooling experience. Another shout out to Mrs. A and Miss Flynn who always made the program interesting and helped us through everything. I graduated with a 92 average and honestly have never felt so proud. I honestly believed in myself after 14 years of education.
As many as you know, time went on and I have moved and experienced a lot. One of which was Fleming College. Many ask why I attended because I already had a diploma in ECE, had many child care jobs, and at the time of attending school was working at a daycare. The simple answer is: I needed an Ontario ECE diploma to get the official ECE title here. I was not offended or felt like my previous education was a waste of time. I was excited to go back to school.
My first semester was great. Everything was okay and I had academic excellence. In my second semester, I really entered the ECE portion of the program (my GenEds were over) and met the teachers for the ECE program. Long story short, I quickly had a great hatred for the education system at Fleming. It’s hard to listen to a teacher who walks in and says “I have never gone over the material for this course so we’ll all have to learn as we go.” The whole semester was like this. I never knew what I was doing, even if I was prepared and had done what they asked me to do. Two out of three teachers weren’t totally unbearable. I had to take the saying “know your teacher” quite literal. I often found myself dumbing down my work for them to understand what I was saying. But the little girl who would do anything to miss school came back as I met my third teacher. She was awful. There is no other way to say it other than her classes were awful, her teaching style was horrendous, and she was the least understanding person I know.
She wouldn’t let me have my phone in class even after I explained my job situation.
All five people in my nanny family expect me to be there when there is a serious problem. I am the emergency contact for four of them. I need and want to be there if any single one of them gets hurt (which is a big probability with a mother who has ALS and one extremely accident prone little girl). But having my phone out, even though I was never on it, hurt my grade big time.
My work was ‘sloppy and unprofessional’.
This one hurt me because I have learned and perfected three different formats for writing papers. My high school English teacher, my college teacher, my university professor, and my comm teacher at Fleming told me I had nothing to worry about when it came to writing papers. But because I didn’t include pictures or a boarder on my title page, I included page numbers, and talked in the third person, my marks were awful on my papers. Who cares about the actual content of the paper though? Not my teacher.
Studying was actually pointless.
I stopped studying because it was a waste of my time and it never led to better marks or an understanding of my class. She would give us reviews to do (which took roughly 4 hours to complete) and, if we were lucky, one of those questions would be on the test. So I started using my own form of studying and studied everything. I went through PowerPoints and the textbook and made notes and studied. I finally felt confident going into a test. I came out with a 60 and never felt more deflated in my life. Studying was stressful because there was so much to go through and in the end gave me worse marks.
I spent thousands of dollars for nothing.
I understand that when you go to school you’re going to lose money. Paying for my tuition wasn’t a problem. It was going out and spending loads of money on craft supplies to make projects really nice to try and prove to this teacher that I cared about my education. After handing in these projects I would still get’feedback’ that ripped my heart out and made me go home and cry. And I would do it all over again the next week. After the Christmas break, I left my job at a daycare because they stated we “wouldn’t be able to work and go to school if we really wanted to succeed in this program”. I tried my hardest after the first couple weeks to really excell in placement (working at a daycare two days a week) so they could see that I am great for this position. I’ll admit, at first I am shy and I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes at a daycare. The daycare I was at at the beginning of the school year took me a long time to get comfortable in. It wasn’t the staff or the system because they were all great, but it was the first daycare I worked at in Ontario and I was a little uneasy about it. I didn’t quite feel confident and that’s why I chose not to return. So I decided to step out of my comfort zone in placement. I observed the first day, and jumped right in the next day. I was singing songs to the kids, planning activities off of what they were interested, and almost immediately was put on the supply list. But again, the marks my host educator (the ECE teacher I was working with) gave me, and I’m not kidding when I say this, “must have just given me good marks because they didn’t care enough to mark me correctly. I [my ‘teacher’] have looked at these activities and in no way are they original or helping children learn.” After dealing with all this, I found out I didn’t even need to go to school like they told me I had to. Most provinces are united in their ECE materials and eduction. If I had gone to UNB, I would have been able to work as a RECE (Registered Early Childhood Educator) in a matter of weeks. But the lady I was in contact with, stated because I went to a private college back home, all I have to do is go into the College of ECE’s and write a test. If I pass, I’m a RECE in Ontario. Which I will do if I decide to leave my nanny job and stay in Ontario.
I can’t express the anger I have for Fleming. The whole school is completely unorganized, I constantly owed them money for whatever reason they could come up for, and they really broke my self-esteem after building it up for 14 years. Thankfully, my amazing support system said let it go, you’re better than this. So the one thing I learned from Fleming was:
I refuse to settle for an education system that is beating their students down, rather than helping them up and watching them succeed.