Monday, September 3, 2012

Mission: Organization

After finding out that I had secured my first teaching job in June, I was very excited to see my classroom for the first time! After spending two years working in other people's rooms, I was excited to put my own touch on the classroom. The first time I saw my room, I was a little overwhelmed! My classroom was left with tons of resources and supplies, but they were so disorganized. I like my things to be orderly and I hate wasting time looking for things, so I knew I had a big job ahead of me. I needed a system, and so my mission to find organization began.

It took me about two weeks to get everything how I wanted it. I was lucky that I had an extremely organized mother to help me out for a few days. She did all of the little jobs that take so much time to do by yourself, like sorting supplies, moving books, cleaning shelves, and throwing old stuff out. We threw out four bags of garbage and recycled at least six buckets of recyclable paper. I also moved my desk to the back of the room so I wouldn't be tempted to sit at it during class time. I wanted to have my own space that wouldn't get in the way of my instruction. I took down most of the posters so that the room wasn't so busy for kids that have trouble concentrating. I am so happy with how things turned out, and now I feel prepared to take on the new school year! Hopefully my hard work all adds up to a better learning experience for the kids. Check out my before and after pictures.

Good luck to all the new teachers out there! I know things are really going to get crazy starting tomorrow, so I hope you all had time to organize like I did!





Teacher's desk BEFORE

My desk AFTER

NEW station for supplies

Book shelf and table for handing in assignments AFTER

Monday, June 18, 2012

My new chapter

I am very excited to have secured a full time teaching job for the 2012/2013 school year! My placement is in a small town about a half hour from where we live. Half of my day will be spent co-teaching, and the other half is a permanent position. The classes are mostly split, so I have on average 14 or 15 students per class. I will be teaching 6/7 ELA, 6/7 Social Studies, 6/7 Health, 6/7 computers, 8/9 Social Studies, and 8/9 Computers. I will also be co-teaching in 4/5 ELA and Math and 8/9 Science. I am very excited to begin my new journey as a teacher!

I have visited the school a few times since I accepted the job, and I have a TON of work to do already! I am going to do my best this summer to prepare for my classes so that I don't burn out in the first month. I know that as a first year teacher, I will face many challenges so I want to be as prepared as possible. To top it all off, I am dealing with new curriculums since I have moved to a new province!

I cannot wait to start de-cluttering my classroom. I am lucky that I have my own room even though I will be co-teaching in someone else's room for half of the day. There are lots of old books, guides, projects, novels, anthologies, etc. to be thrown out and sorted through. I am also going to have to work hard to collect new resources for my students so that they can get excited about reading and learning! I cannot wait for September, although I am trying my best to enjoy the summer as well. I have excellent support groups at my new school, including an amazing resource teacher and some experienced staff who have offered to support me in any way that they can. As I was told today, everyone has to start somewhere, and the first year is all about surviving, so use every resource available to make your life easier! And so... my blog will now become about my experiences as a first year teacher. Enjoy!

 Let the journey begin...

Monday, May 7, 2012

And the student becomes the teacher...

Wow! The last eight weeks really flew by! I don't think I actually realized I was finished student teaching until this morning when I woke up and didn't need to be at the school. My last student teaching placement was the best one yet. I loved taking on more responsibility and testing out some of the lesson plan theories we developed in our final year of university. I learned so much, and somewhere along the way I began to feel like a real teacher. I gained so much confidence, and I can't wait to get my first job! Now I know that I can do this! I am currently applying for jobs. It has become a waiting game! I think I will spend the next month or two organizing my resources and doing lots of reading, something that I haven't had time to do while in school. I am also hoping to do some subbing for EA's. Because I have recently moved to Saskatchewan, I am not able to substitute for teachers until I have received my teacher's certificate.

I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life, and I can't wait to start my career! I have my fingers crossed for a job. In the meantime, I will keep updating my blog with resources and ideas that I am finding. I just can't seem to sit still now that I am inspired and read to take on my first job! Congrats to all of the other student teachers who have finished their placements! See you all at grad :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

A New Kind of Gym Class

I will admit, I was a little nervous when I found out that my final student teaching placement would include a grade 11 gym class! When I attended class on the first day, I wasn't sure what to expect. What I found out was that there are only four girls in a class of thirteen, and somewhere along the line, someone made them HATE gym class. They didn't want to run in front of the boys, they didn't pull their hair back, and there were frequent screams when a ball happened to come their way. I haven't totally reformed them, but I found a way to work with them instead of against them, and this is what we came up with! I hope that my experience will be helpful to other teachers who run into the same problem...

Tuesdays and Thursdays, the class had been going to the gym to lift weights and run on the treadmills. The first day that i went to the gym with them, the girls maybe spent ten minutes actually active during a one hour period. At first, I found this hard to understand, because I have always been an athletic girl, and I would have loved the opportunity to go the gym during school. Instead of getting frustrated, I started to talk to the girls and look at the situation from their point of view. They didn't like having to compete against the boys, and they did not enjoy participating in the rough physical activity. The solution that i came up with along with my co-operating teacher was to split the class up. We were able to do this because we are both in the classroom (because I am student teaching). So, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, i take the girls into a classroom and we play a dancing game on the WII. We close the door, we turn the lights off, and we dance! AND THEY LOVE IT! Now, they are active for at least 50 minutes in a one hour block. We are laughing, dancing, singing, and inviting other teacher's to participate with us. For those that haven't tried a dance game on the wii, you definitely should, because it is a great workout. Just today, the teacher that joined us for a few songs said that this is the way gym class should be! I know for myself, I am in a better mood all day after having danced in the morning.

I am pretty proud of my girls for taking a chance and trying something different with me. It was an unconventional idea, but it works and the students are active and engaged for the entire class. Thinking outside of the box is a good thing! Happy Dancing

Monday, April 23, 2012

Personal Growth Outside of the Classroom

I was lucky enough to participate in the Manitoba Provincials this past weekend with my hockey team the Souris Blue Ice. We finished the weekend with a 2-1 victory in the finals!!! I hadn't played hockey that competitive since high school. I had an absolutely amazing experience with some great women. It was a 4.5 hour drive for me, so I left right after school on Friday and did not get home until late Sunday night.

On my drive home, I got to thinking about a colleagues blog that I follow. One of her recent topics was about bringing outside experiences into the classroom (thanks Kat!). I will not lie, I had to do some major prep ahead of time so that I could go away for an entire weekend and not pick up a book, and Monday morning was a little rough in the classroom because I was so sore and tired from my weekend of playing hockey.

However, I also would not change a thing about my weekend. As a teacher, it can be difficult to find time to do things for ourselves, but we cannot forget the importance of taking care of ourselves!!! When our minds and bodies are healthy, we are better teachers! I came back to school today sore and tired, but I also felt energized from having been part of such an amazing team. Participating in extracurricular activities is important for our students, we all know that, so why do so many of us not take the time to participate in extracurriculars ourselves?!?! We need to take the time to make ourselves healthy too.

I think my weekend away gave me some new perspective on my place in the classroom. I had forgotten how much of a role model we are for our students. Today when I came to class, I proudly showed off my metal to the kids and told them about my experience. They were so excited for me! This is particularly important for the girls in our school, because somewhere along the way, they have lost the confidence to participate in sports. I want them to think that its cool to be sweaty and wear sweat pants in the name of competition. I also think its important for our students to know that we do wear other hats besides the "teacher" hat.

I am feeling very inspired, and I know that this feeling will last me for at least a couple of weeks. Competing in an event such as provincials made me remember all of the good reasons why we all need extracurriculars. Some of my best friends throughout the years I have met on my sports teams. A person's true character is shown on the ball diamond or in a hockey rink. I truly believe that my work ethic and drive to succeed comes from my struggles and triumphs through athletics. They made me the teacher that I am today, and I have made a new commitment to myself to continue to grow through sport.

So, I challenge my fellow teachers to get out there and take some time for yourself! You never know how your experience outside of the classroom might help you to grow inside the classroom.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Suicide Prevention and Anti-Bullying Websites My Students Found: