Tag Archives: Ethics

Doing What’s Right vs. Getting My Way

18 Nov

Recently I had been faced with a problem: voice my opinion and be shut down, or not voice my opinion and be a part of an organization who did something wrong. For the last month I have been contemplating this issue, and I previously wrote a blog post about this.

This week we had yet another meeting, and the topic came up, and for the first time I truly voiced my opinion. I wanted to make everyone within the organization aware of the situation, and make sure that everyone felt the same way about what was going on. It was very difficult for me, as I felt like I was constantly butting heads with everyone else, and when I finally got to speak I found that people actually were listening. I asked questions, and got answers, and collectively we came to an agreement that an apology needed to be sent out.

This morning I received an apology email to my phone, an apology to the entire Faculty of Education students. The apology that I, with the help of one other ESS member, wrote.

I had a strong sense of pride, that something I continuously worked hard for finally had pay off. I had an opinion, and when I voiced it people listened and acted upon that. When the email finally came to my phone, I finally felt good about the situation.

Previous to this I felt completely awful.

I felt, and still do feel, that I was acting in a mean way, and bullied my way to get what I wanted. I say this because during our meeting I was told that it was me against the rest of the organization and I would constantly bring it up until I got my way. This is the case, but it also is not. If there was need to bring it up again, I would. The reason I brought it up this week was that there was another email from a concerned education student who was upset about the CFS vote no email. Obviously some form of action needed to be taken.

I feel that a lot of the people who voted to send out the apology only did so because they wanted this situation to go away. Although I do believe that now that the apology has been sent there will be no more concerns, but I also believe that it isn’t fair for people to vote in a way that they don’t agree with just to satisfy my wants. The biggest concern I have with this situation is that no one cares enough to form their own opinion. They don’t understand why it is offensive, and they don’t understand how it upset people.

“I should be happy I got my way” …

The worst statement I could ever hear, which reduces what I have done to be just as bad as the original email sent out. I feel absolutely horrible, although I do believe the right thing happened. I can’t tell if people are just upset that things didn’t go their way and are taking it out on me, or if what I wanted wasn’t really the right thing.

It’s a dilemma I think about often, but obviously something I must put behind me. Things like this happen all the time in life, and I’m glad that I had the courage to voice my opinions and got the apology sent out. I changed something, and I got the right thing to happen.

But who am I to say that my opinion is right?


Do You “Get It”?

4 Nov

I’m not exactly comfortable with blogging, yet lately it is something I feel like doing often. I have been realizing many things not only about myself but also about others that have been greatly affected me in ways both professionally and personally.

I am starting to realize that some people “get it”. I am not exactly sure what this “it” is, but it definitely shows through in certain people. The more education classes I have the more I realize that most people just do not get “it”. What is this “it”? It could maybe take on the word oppression. It could represent a greater understanding of people, and of life. It could represent this generation of teachers, and how we need to start acting differently and changing things before we can progressively move ahead. This “it” is something I see in my peers, and I would like to say I can see in myself. This “it” separates the teachers from the pre-service teachers. “It” is what I want to be reflected in every aspect of my life.

This is really confusing, and the reason it is so confusing is that I really don’t even understand it myself, I can just see it. Mostly what I see is that a lot of my peers do not have “it”. My first experience with this was over the course of my second year of University. I wrote a blog about my roommate and oppression, and for the first time I not only was starting to realize that some people don’t have “it” but also realized that I was starting to understand “it”.

It’s happening again. I obviously understand that racism is everywhere, as well as oppression, but the more I meet new people and get involved, especially within the education faculty, I am finding that oppression really takes on different roles. I am used to feeling oppressed for being Aboriginal. It’s not a good thing, but I am very used to the feeling. Writing a paper on oppression last year was the single most important assignment I have ever done in my life. By defining what I thought oppression was I really found a way to recognize it in my life.

Currently I am starting to understand different kinds of oppression. The voting that has taken place within the University has had a real impact on me, and has helped define numerous aspects in my life. I am finding that many of the people around me have taken a definite stance on this topic and by doing so they are affecting others around them. Today someone told me, “Did you see that girl right there? She did a presentation in our class about CFS, and ever since then I haven’t been able to have any respect for her, just knowing that she voted yes.” This has stuck with me all day. It is driving me nuts. I never said anything; it is another one of those situations where I couldn’t decide whether to say something or not. I chose not to say something because I knew that by expressing my opinion to this individual it would change our relationship, and I would have a difficult time in the future as I spend a lot of time with this person due to extra curricular activities. It took me a while to realize the feeling I had was so similar to when I don’t say something concerning an Aboriginal topic. It is very tough listening to comments like this, because people’s opinions are their own and I just don’t find it very fair to judge them on that. Knowing someone voted yes in the referendum should not change an opinion of anyone. I have a bunch of friends who felt strongly on this referendum and on both sides of the vote, and they have never once made me feel like if I didn’t agree with them our relationship would change.

It’s very frustrating.

What’s more frustrating is when I am in a situation where I feel uncomfortable like this; the person making me uncomfortable is usually a teacher.

Over the last two weeks a bunch of things just seem to be happening at once, and I have felt like I have been overwhelmed with frustrations. My thoughts have been extremely focused on the referendum, and really not so much with the referendum itself but the actions taken regarding the referendum. Another thing that has been brought to my attention is people’s thoughts on addiction. I am in a position where addiction’s haven’t really affected my life directly, but has affected people who are extremely close to me. Seeing addiction in a person, and how it has affected the lives of those around me has made me understand a lot of things about addiction. Saying that “getting rid of alcohol” would make the world a better place seems to be an empty statement filled with ignorance. Who are we to judge whether a person is “bad” or “good” based upon the addictions that have affected their lives.

Back to this concept of “it”. I find the people who really understand it are those that have been affected by some form of oppression. This first hand effect gives them a different understanding, and I really can see it in different people. Wanting to change things seems to be a huge factor. I constantly want to change things, make them better, and find ways to make things more efficient. I find things that are wrong very easily, and I would like to think its because I can put myself in the positions of others. I find the more I go along in education the more I cling to certain people, and the people I can really trust and tell things are these people who “get it”. My closest friends seem to “get it” and I feel like I can talk with them. I am fortunate enough to be very close with my best friend, who lets me vent to her my frustrations, but at the same time understands where I am coming from. I find her to be one of the biggest supports in my life, and by having her, as well as other friends who I trust completely, I feel like I don’t have to stand alone all the time.

I find myself drifting away from the people who “don’t get it”, I easily become frustrated with speaking with them and I don’t connect in the same way. This frustrates me greatly because I don’t think that is very fair of me. For the last two weeks I haven’t spoken very much with one of my closest friends because she didn’t understand why I have been upset. This hasn’t been fair of me, and I recognize it and am working on it… but at the same time I have also become closer with some people over the past couple of weeks. I connect better with people who are also in education; it makes sense because they have the same aspiration as me. I want to surround myself with these people because I want to learn as much from them as possible. Surrounding myself with these people who “get it” seem to make me understand people more in general.

I ramble on forever, and it probably doesn’t make any sense, but I feel the need to collect my thoughts into sentences. Typing it out seems to give my thought some substance and help me make more sense of it.

Reflecting is a big part of teaching right?

That’s all I have for now,

It’s An Ethics Issue

2 Nov

Recently I have been going through a struggle. It has been quite some two weeks for me, and I really just need to type this all out and get it off my chest so I can calm down.

I have been faced with a decision to speak my opinion or not, and the decision to express that opinion has ate away at me for the last, almost, two weeks. Recently our school has been in a state of division: vote yes? Vote no? It has caused much of our student body to divide, friendships to turn into fights, and me into a wreck. I have not enjoyed being a University of Regina student recently, and it makes me sad that the only thing our school can get motivated about is fighting over a referendum.

I digress. The point of me being a wreck doesn’t have anything to do with the referendum itself, although it is rather interesting and I am well versed on the issue, the issue I have is more teacher related. On October 20, 2010 an email was sent out on behalf of the Education Students Society, which I am an active member in, that has caused me to rethink my position in the society.

An email was sent out on behalf of the Education Students Society on the 20th of October. This email was in regard to the CFS referendum. This email included “facts” about the referendum and encouraged the faculty to vote, as well as google certain topics regarding the referendum. The intent of the email could have been good. I absolutely agree that our Faculty should be made aware of the referendum, and we should be able to present information to them in a way that helps them make an informed decision.

This however did not happen. Not only was the email incredibly biased, although the ESS did not officially take any stance, but the information itself wouldn’t even be beneficial for students anyways. In order for people to make an informed decision, would you not want to give them as much credible information as possible? I did not find this email to beneficial in my decision-making process, and I had the feeling that others could feel similarly.

On the 19th of October the ESS was given a presentation from the “Vote No” perspective, and from this presentation the email was drafted. If the ESS wanted to take a stance on the topic, then would be the time. This did not happen, yet the email was sent out. The email was on behalf of the ESS, and as a member of the ESS I did not find it fair that I would be included in this. There was no mention whatsoever to the “Vote Yes” side of the issue, and therefore the email was propaganda. Although we did have a presentation on the “Vote Yes” side, there was no email mentioning this, nor was there anything whatsoever included regarding the “Vote Yes” side.

There was also no apology.

I feel there needs to be an apology. Not an apology for offending people, that is a nice thought, but it isn’t exactly apologizing for what is done wrong. This is an issue of accepting that something has been done wrong, and working from that to make it better, not being embarrassed that it happened, but using it to show that we of the ESS could work from this.

Then there is STF. Although we can’t get in trouble from STF as a students union, should we not be considering the STF code of ethics in our day-to-day life? I think about it often, because in a few short years I am going to be a teacher. It scares me, but excited me at the same time. From my understanding, its our role to not take a stance such like we did, and to give people the information needed, and to not tell people how to think. I feel like we have came very close to some of these issues, and I keep asking myself: If this happened in a meeting in a school, would the conversation been allowed to continue in the way that ours had?

I decided to speak my opinion, and was shut down. I decided to write my opinion, and was yet again shut down. As only a member of the ESS, not a VP of the ESS I have no voting power, so maybe my opinion didn’t matter in the first place.

I have come to a wall. I have never unsuccessfully tried to get my opinion across. I am frustrated, and feel awful. I ask myself daily if I did the right thing. I ask myself if it was worth voicing my opinion.

My intentions with joining the ESS had nothing to do with any political issues, or getting people to think like me. I joined because I knew nothing about the ESS. Until this point I had no clue what the ESS was, or what it had to offer me. It makes me sad that I didn’t pursue it further. I want to change that. I want our faculty to be involved. “Teaching is Stealing” is a phrase said often in my EMTH class and I believe that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I want to be able to have a collective group whom I can ask for help, it makes me feel like I’m not alone.

I want to know that my opinion matters, everyone’s opinion matters. I feel like if my opinion doesn’t matter, then do any of my contributions matter? If there isn’t an apology made I had it in my head that I would resign, it just doesn’t feel right. The more I think about it the more I feel like that wouldn’t solve anything. Maybe if I couldn’t make a difference this time, I could in the future. I ask myself the question “should I resign” at least a hundred times a day.

The ESS can do great things; it just needs to take steps in the right direction.