Prof. Graham Giles
October 11 2018
Interview with a Child/Adolescent
On October 11 2018, I went back to my highschool that I have attended for the last four years. I went into the library to meet up with a student in grade 12. He will be referred to as John-Do. I was astonished to the fact my favourite English teacher told me to meet up with him. He looked like he did not have a care in the world, he was assertive and had a low voice. “ This guy? An outstanding student?” There must be something wrong. But I ignored my thoughts and went on ahead to start my Interview with this individual. We knew of each other and we were classmates so there was no need for an introduction. I told him about the interview that was about to take place. I first asked him about a typical day in his life.
“I wake up pretty late, do all basic necessities in the morning like taking a shower and brushing my teeth , before I leave I watch CP24 while petting and feeding my dog. My mom gets the rest of my siblings ready for school. Every morning I make sure I tell my mom a love her.” I then asked John to explain more about his mom since he spoke so passionately about her. “ She always been a stong independent woman , she is persistent, and my love for her is unmeasured. I dedicate my forearm to who she is as a person.” He then proceeded to show me his tattoo on his forearm.
“So tell me a little more about this tattoo on your forearm.” I said. “On the outside of my forearm, I got a tattoo of a Carnation flower and a Phoenix. The carnation flower symbolizes the undying love of a mother and the Phoenix represents my mother and her struggles. A Phoenix is a mythical creature that is known for being immortal. In a sense where I got the phoenix from was by a quote from a TV show called The Originals. It goes “ A Phoenix I rise from the ashes” instead of ashes my background is fire because currently my mom is still fighting her battles. She has multiple health conditions like alopecia, planter affecitise, energy deficiency, and stress. With those battles she been persistent she has not stopped the pursuit of supporting her kids. My mom had a very rough childhood, she was kicked out at the age of 13 essentially lived on her own. Any residency (partial) she could obtain partially was beneficial. Up until my great grandma took her in.” John said.
When John had explained what his tattoo meant, my mind trailed to the thought of my mother and her struggles. My mother was a refugee, and her mother was killed during The Somali Civil War. This affected her mental state,She had to flee to Sweden to have a better chance at life. She suffered from health conditions like arthritis, and scoliosis. She dealt with many traumas that affected the way she lived.
What is your goal in life after high school?
“I dont know I’ve been indecisive about my career path, I been deciding if I should take a year off but in terms of what i’m passionate about I would like to become a vet, not no ordinary vet that you see in corner stores or any facility in the local area. Instead I would rather practice on wildlife. What I mean by that is I don’t wanna work in a zoo, or african safari. I wanna work on wild sedated animals. I’ve watched plenty of wildlife conservations documentary. Honestly I can forsee myself doing something like that where animals are abandoned or extremely injured, Or if i’m with a team we would sedate that animal, and then provide the treatment that would be needed or that I think would be needed. Coming from the city, or being a city boy it seems the open grassland from africa is a thousand light years away. The contrast between city and open grassland makes my quest a lot more difficult and challenging which leads to me being very indecisive,” he explained with passion. What stood out to me was that as a kid from Jane and Finch he has such high hopes and big dreams. I could relate because I also want to travel overseas and help those in need.
What is essential topic/subject that school impart to student?
“I feel like an essential thing that should be taught or is currently on the uprise of being taught is a law course. I feel that is mandatory for someone to know their own rights to speak up against an oppressor or to know their place as a civilian. Many adolescents don’t know what right from wrong. They end up commit a wrong act before knowing what is right. At that point it could be too late,” he frowned.
What changes would you like to see in the school system?
“I feel like many schools within the Toronto district are neglected maintenance and fundamental repairs. But, the system does have amazing teachers dispersed within any school you enter, now usually you see more guidance counselors assigned to students . Teachers are now accommodating to students in classrooms to a certain extent but not spoon feeding them. I would say that solely the child's education relies on the learning environment their placed. If you had multiple classrooms where there is no air conditioning, no heat, and there was a large amount to students in a over populated class it would interfere with the way they participated and focused in class,” John-Do said. “Like Albert Einstein said “ Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it abilities to climb a tree, it’ll live it whole life believing it's stupid.” Now if you judge a kid in a small room thats overpopulated on their ability to learn, you won't be able to tell their capabilities.”
Based on what I found in my interview with an adolescents, was that John Doe believes that students could achieve their dreams with the essential learning and motivation from the teachers and parents. Therefore throughout this interview I gained knowledge that would greatly help me organize my questions for our upcoming interview with a teacher.
1. What is a typical school day in your life?
2. What aspects are your life is going well right now?
3. What is your goal in your life after high school?
4. Who is mainly responsible for a child's academic success? Teachers? Parents?
5. What is the essential learning that schools impart to students?
6. How do we ensure that those without privilege have equal access to quality education and opportunity?
7. What changes would you introduce to the school system?
8. What would you do if you were a teacher with a class filled with difficult students?