Friday, February 17, 2012

Thank you Louis Riel and other great Manitobans

It's Friday and I am looking forward to the long weekend. Monday is Louis Riel Day in Manitoba. Riel has a long and interesting history for which most Manitobans should be proud. Which brings me to the point I am making - that I've lived in Manitoba for more than 41 years and up to last week, there was so very little of its history that I knew. I didn't know what I didn't know. And how did I come to the realization that I knew so little? That's a story by itself.

If you have been following my my journey in the last year, and most recently, in the last few months, you'll know that I am nearing my academic journey of my doctoral studies. I submitted my final chapter just before I left for Florida in December and by the middle of January, my supervisor made her comments and I did the necessary revisions. By January 21, I compiled all the chapters into a 503 page document and sent it off to my committee of three to read and comment. I expected that I would have to do some revisions and indeed I did. The committee agreed that the dissertation is ready to be examined but suggested that there were a couple of other points that I ought to pay attention to.

My dissertation is focused on preparing better vocational teachers by including the social dimensions of education and not to singularly focus on a scientific, positivist and technical view of vocational education as has historically been the case. As I was saying, my committee felt that I had presented a sensitive and nuanced understanding of the experience of vocational teachers based on my collective experiences as a hairstylist, teacher and teacher-educator but I did not acknowledge the dissenting voices of other groups such as unions, and other socially democratic movements. So I went to the library last week and checked out several books (14 to be exact) and started poring over them. I read about the politics of Winnipeg in the last 100 years and is that ever a proud history. There were many union and non-union people including communists who made great strides that have benefited the entire country. If you don't think that you have benefited individually, think again. Because of what happened in Winnipeg, we now have employment insurance, old age security, and universal health care. If you are a Canadian, it behooves you to read about the

I spent some time this week adding some material to my dissertation and sent the second draft totalling 523 pages to my supervisor earlier today. So guess what I am going to be doing this weekend? Beside going to the theatre tomorrow where the play this month is about the suffragists in Manitoba who fought for the right of women to vote and be considered persons under the British North America Act, I will be reading, reading, reading. And celebrating all those courageous Manitobans who came before me including Riel, and thanking them for making it possible to enjoy a good life in Canada because of their commitment to social justice and equality. I hope to do my small part in the continued struggle for equality for all. 

Have a great weekend. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012