Archive for the ‘school’ Category

Valentine’s Protest

As with many elementary school classrooms, E’s requires students to either give valentines to everybody OR nobody.

The past two years, he’s given them to everybody, but never seemed to care too much about it.

This year, after I bought him some dollar store valentines, he said he’d rather not give them out. When DH asked him why, he said that there are a few kids who have been mean to him this year, and he doesn’t want to give them Valentines. So, he’d  rather just not give any given the choice.

I totally respect that, and am actually very impressed and proud of his decision.

I think the whole “you have to give Valentines to EVERYONE” rule is ridiculous and totally takes the meaning out of the tradition. Yes, I get that some kids would not get any, and that’s sad. So, since both these options suck, I wish the whole thing would just be abolished at this age.

6 year-olds don’t care about cards! Why not just have a Valentine’s party without the stupid cards and be done with it?

We got a message from C’s daycare about this topic. Since the kids don’t know how to write and no parent knows all the other kids, they suggest just sending in blank cards. WHY? Just GET RID OF THIS PART, for the love of God!

Based on this, you probably wouldn’t be surprised that DH and I basically ignore this holiday (unless me asking him to pick up 50% off chocolate the day after counts). His birthday is about a week after VD, and mine is in mid-March, so we’d much rather focus on celebrating those.

What do your kids end up doing for Valentine’s? 

The Dichotomy of School

I get asked often how school is going and, to be perfectly frank, it’s a pretty distinct dichotomy. I go between it being amazing and being defeating.

I LOVE that I’m doing what I need to become a teacher…something I’ve wanted to do for years. I get shots of joy and happiness even from just realizing that fact. The second placement is coming up in March and I’m really excited about that! I’ve met a handful of people who I know are “my people” and who I know I will keep in touch with after this whole thing is done. A few of the courses are really enjoyable, and I get a lot out of them – be it resources, or ideas for teaching methods/techniques, or even some “ah-hah” and navel-gazing moments about my own thoughts or opinions of things. Some of the classes aren’t that great, but I’m still able to get tidbits here and there that I know I’ll put to good use.

On the extreme other hand, I find this school is like a cesspool of negativity. It’s like walking into a pit of anger/fear/uncertainty/insecurity all balled into one. I can practically feel the toxicity seep into me slowly as I walk through the door and hallways. There is so much talk about job potential worries, the amount of work (which is really not that much), what’s to hate, what’s unfair, who’s too busy and who’s too tired. It can be hard to hear (or be involved) with the same negative conversations day after day and NOT let it rub off or affect me in some way.

Assignments

Maybe not surprisingly, there are a lot of assignments at teacher’s college. Many of them are relevant and practical (such as making lesson plans, unit guides, or rubrics), but the ones I really like are when we get to use new technologies or methods I’ve never seen.

For example, in our Math class we’ve had two full classes of student presentations about “cool math” – either math tricks, or neat math websites, online tools, or aps. A similar assignment in our computers class get groups of students to present cool, new-to-us teaching/education technologies.

That being said, one of the assignments I’m really looking forward to this semester is to create an education/teaching blog!

Needless to say, this is right up my alley since I’ve been writing on this blog since 2008 (6 years? really?!). I’ve also been thinking of creating a blog just for my teaching journey, and this gives me the perfect reason and opportunity to do just that.

I’ve started creating and, in all honesty, am probably spending way too much time on it, but I’m excited about it! Not only will I write about my journey as a new math and science teacher, I’ll also blog about cool tools, aps, lesson, methods, etc. I come across in hope that it will be a resource for other teachers (both new and experienced).

Once it’s up and running and I have some content, I’ll share it and link to it from this blog. Stay tuned!

Reflection of My Own

I finished my first practicum last Friday. I’ve had to write a couple reflection essays for my classes, but I wanted to write my own reflection here.

The practicum was 6 weeks in a high school, with a full-time teacher (associate teacher, or AT) and their classes. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a rocky start. I was given one placements, but I receive word a couple days later (the Thursday before I was supposed to start) that it needed to be changed. I received my second placement the Friday afternoon before I was supposed to start. Luckily, my AT checked their email and we were able to get in touch before I showed up Monday morning.

My AT was teaching one grade 9 academic science class and two grade 11 university level biology classes. My initial reaction was YAY for the first…WTH? for the second! The last time I took biology was in grade 10! Needless to say, I was worried, but I wasn’t about to complain (some other students didn’t receive their placements until the Wednesday/Thursday of the first week)!

My worries were for naught, because as soon as the teachers found out my astronomy background, they jumped on the chance for me to teacher the grade 9 space unit. So, I ended up developing and teaching an entire unit – start to finish- for two grade 9 classes with two different teachers!

It was an awesome experience! There was SO much about it that I loved…almost like this is what I was supposed to do, and I felt like I was “at home”. The staff were amazing, and I felt like I made great connections with the students. Like I found my calling!!

Working with two different teachers was a great and unique experience, especially since their teaching styles were on opposite sides of the spectrum! This pushed me out of my comfort zone in both directions, and I’m really thankful for that. It was also tough though, because sometimes I felt I was teaching more to the teaching style of each teacher, and not developing my own. But, that’s really part of the process, and I think it made me a stronger teacher.

There were definitely some ups and downs, especially in the last few days when I needed to deal with some unexpected behaviours and issues on assignments (like plagiarism). I found that I am definitely a hard-a$$ when it comes to such things – probably a little too much. I blame to many years in the”academy” 🙂

It was a very self-reflective experience…kind of like becoming a parent. You can talk all day long about what you THINK you would do in theory, but it’s a whole different ball game when you’re in the field. By the end, I started to think about what my teaching philosophy really is, and it will probably keep evolving for as long as I’m in this profession.

Being a student again  is tough, but it’s nice to have some context for all the information we’re learning (and honestly, it’s a lot easier and a lot less stressful). I’m excited to taken on an independent research project next semester, and to take tidbits here and there that will help me in my second practicum and beyond.

All I know for sure right now is I made the right decision to get my BEd!

Bad Blogger!

Wow…I’ve certainly let this blog fall to the bottom of my priority list. Not only does that mean I’m not writing much, but it also means I’ve basically had to stop reading all my favourites too. 😦 So, if you’ve noticed my absence on your blog, I truly apologize. I miss my blogger friends and all of my social life, really.

Unfortunately, I think it might stay that way while I’m in school. It’s incredibly busy. The work isn’t all that hard, but the volume of work is intense. It’s the kind of program that there’s no way you can actually do all the work/reading assigned. Instead, you have to prioritize what actually needs to get done.

This has caused a lot of anxiety for me. In fact, by the end of week 2 I was having anxiety/panic attacks and breaking out in tears multiple times a day. I was considering leaving the program. It wasn’t just the school work, but how it coupled with the stresses of home life (and how the kids were/are adjusting to their new routines – as well as mine).

I sought some help from my family doctor and counsellor, and felt better this week (compared to last week, anyway). I hope that as I continue to get into the swing of things at school and continue receiving positive feedback on my work, I will feel less and less anxious and maybe even be able to enjoy what I’m doing.

Regardless, I’m finding most of everything interesting and useful – even the more “boring” topics. One of the biggest issues I’m having right now is I wish I had more time to dedicate to the readings to really get into them. Right now, it’s all about skimming and getting the hot points out so I can get the most important work done.

It’s definitely a balancing act, and one that’s very different from any other school experience I’ve had. Apparently it’s good training for what life will be like as a teacher, when you’re being pulled in 100 different directions and having to put fires out all day.

How is your September going?

First Week Reflection

I have completed my first week of my BEd. program!

It was overwhelming, exciting, a bit boring at times, stressful, and fun!

I am really enjoying the majority of the courses. There are a couple that I’m not all that excited about, but I can see how they’ll be useful.

One thing I’ve been really impressed with – as a stark contrasts to my previous university experiences – is the quality of the teaching! I guess I should have expected as much in a Faculty of Education, but I guess I just associate status-quo university style teaching with university (no matter what Faculty).

The best part is our teaching subject courses are taught by actual K-12 teachers! So, not only can they teach us about new and different teaching techniques, but can also give us tips on suggestions with how to navigate the job market, how to deal with behaviour issues, etc. Basically, they can give us an “insider” and practical perspective on what it’s really like to teach K-12 students. Because it’s all well and good to know the theory, but it’s the practical stuff that truly makes a great teacher.

Going into my second week I still feel a bit overwhelmed, especially with the amount of reading that is assigned, but I feel more confident that I will be able to get through this, enjoy it, and come out at the end happy with what I was able to accomplish.

First Day of JK

Today is Evan’s first day of junior kindergarten! In Ontario, kids start full-day kindergarten in the year they turn 4! Seems young, but at least the cost is much lower than daycare 😀

He had been acting fairly nonchalant about the whole thing – unlike me, who has been crying randomly the last couple of week thinking my baby is GROWING UP way to fast!

The last few days though, he’s been getting excited about it! He was practically giddy this morning as we put his backpack together and got ready to head to school for the first time.

Both DH and I took him to school and when we got there, he didn’t want to hold my hand through the parking lot because he’s a BIG BOY!! (and then proceeded to bail right in front of the principal!)

We brought him into the classroom (where he’ll be before/after school too – bonus!). He was a bit shy at first, holding on my leg and giving DH big hugs.

But, then he found his cubby, put his backpack in there, and then promptly found a huge bag of dinosaurs. He took them to the play area, started talking to the other boy who was there, and went to town. After that, we were pretty much invisible to him.

When we said our goodbyes, we could barely get him to stop playing for 2 seconds! This was the only picture DH could get of me and him because he was so busy!

I drove by the school on my way to MY school* and he was in a line with about 30 other tiny kids with their huge backpacks heading inside. He looked happy as a clam.

I’m so proud of my big boy!!

*I will blog about this in the next few days I hope – things are CRAZY right now!

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