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Monday, February 28, 2011

Recess Mayhem

Its hard to fully describe what goes on in the minutes prior and post recess.  In order to get the full effects of what I may be experiencing- try to imagine 15 small children in a confide space, with all children scrambiling to be the first one out the door.  It's like the Walmart clothing department exploded.  No one can find a thing... hats 20 feet from where they should be, liners falling out of boots, two left handed mittens.  I'm talking total chaos. 

And then there is the fact that everyone is chatting all at once.  To me, to themselves, across the room to a friend.  I stopped today and took a thirty second observation of what was actually occuring and made a mental note.

Three children are all trying to tell me something- at once.  One child wants to show me their Scholastic order and proceeds to tell me about their favourite dinosaurs, and how when their grandma is like a fossil too.  From what I can make out from the other two, who are now talking over each other and its like verbal diarhhea for my ears. They are trying to tell me something about their DSI games, and how Mario is superior over Luigi.  All I am thinking is who the hell cares, "get ready to go outside", and in the same breath, damn I wish I had a DSI. 

Oh crisis, excuse me!!  I climb over three children as two children are fighting and one crying, through the " It wasn't me" and the " I already said sorry"  I get the just that one child spit on the other .  While trying to put out that fire, two more munchkins approach asking me to help them with zippers and mittens and finding their neck warmer.  As I multi-task like nobody's business I overhear a girl and a boy discussing their marriage plans.  I smile!  I'm soon distracted as I catch one child showing their karate moves in the corner.  I explain for the 100th time- karate is for the dojo!
Everyone is almost ready, then I look over to see one child is sitting in their cubby, having made no attempt to get ready, they are just sitting there picking their nose.  It was so gross, yet I couldnt stop staring- I'm sure if their was a Olympic medal to be won for digging for nuggets- he would sure to win.    Totally oblivious of the mayhem that surrounds him, I gently remind him to get ready, oh and wash your hands!!   I sigh!

 Finally we are all outside!  Two minutes in to recess time the dreaded  "I have to pee" is chanted.   ARGGG!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Parent Teacher Interviews

The dreaded parent teacher conferences.  You prepare, stress and re-think what you will say. Then before you know it- it's here....

Today when Sadies' mom arrived for her daughter's parent-teacher conference, I scrambled to get her report in order, and some samples of her work.   I began the conference as I always do, by telling her that her daughter is a joy to have in class.  Then I typically review the report card and move on to "sandwiching" a great attribute, a not so great, and another special quality Sadie has.  In this particular case, I started telling her that her little girl didn't always pay attention in class and, at times, need assistance with organization.  "For example, sometimes she'll do the wrong page in her workbook," I explained, "and I've even found her sitting at the wrong desk."

"I don't understand any of that," replied Sadie's mom defensively. "Where could she have gotten that?"
I went on to assure her that her daughter was still doing fine in school and was a sweet and likeable little girl. After pausing for a moment, I added, "By the way,  our appointment was for tomorrow."

Joke adapted from

Monday, February 14, 2011

One of those days...

Every teacher has had one.  A day that seems to drag on forever, nothing seems to go right.  Today, was one of those days...

8:00 You arrive at school to find there are four staff away and no substitute teachers. Great!!   You notice that the electric outlets in your classroom are not working and all the snack food in your fridge is gone bad.  A colleague comes by to notify you that the pipes are frozen and the children cannot use the washroom until they are fixed. What else could go wrong?!

8:30 The children start arriving with their smiling faces and enthusiasm, unsuspecting of your foul mood.  A parent approaches about their child not eating their full lunch the day before. Like, what am I suppose to do, force them to eat their macaroni and cheese leftovers they clearly do not like?!! 

9:00 Circle time is a disaster with about half the kids talking out of turn, and with no attention span.  Jane sat on Tom and now he is crying.  Frank stole George's sticker and is now pinching him.  The heck  with it, circle time is over.  Go and find some work. 

9:30 It's suppose to be French time but the teacher is away, so  I guess no pre time today.  Just as the children are settling into some work- the fire alarm goes off.  Okay... line up! 

11:30 Indoor recess.  Paints get spilled all over the floor.  Grace loses chess against Jackson and is upset.  Liz has a fever and needs to go home and Payton has a wiggly tooth and asks you every two minutes to pull it out. 

12:00 Lunch time and finally your first break.  Washroom, photocopies, clean up, check emails and oh yeah scarf down some lunch before heading back into the jungle.  Come back to find out that Ben has punched Sadie and Trent was throwing food.  Not to mention that Vince was giving a little show of his own and decided it would be a good idea to moon the class while they were enjoying their lunch.

1:00 Put out fires, Liz's goes home, write accident report of Sadie's mark on her arm. 

2:00 The rest of the afternoon is spent running around getting scissors, papers and glue  for each demand.  Prepare snack, Frank just sneezed on you- time for some sanitizer.  Frank pukes on the carpet.  Yuck! 

Finally 3:30- Home here I come, and bottle of wine for dinner.  Thank you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What I love about teaching....

It's hard to know where to begin.  I truly love what I do (most days).  Below is the list in no particular order about the best job I've ever had. 

1.  I love learning.  A few of the thing I have learned this year are ......
Where Uzbekistan is
Who Thich Nhat Hanh is
That an sand dollar is considered a Clypeasteroida.
All the parts of a flower
What a preposition is.
Where Van Gogh was born

2. I love to see the children learning.  When they come back from the Art Gallery and tell me they recognized a picture painted by Tom Thompson it makes me smile from ear to ear.  Or when they finally understand division and their eyes light up- it makes my day!

3. Integrating peace education is a crucial part of our curriculum at school.  When the children implement the values I have tried so hard to instill in them without prompting, it's remarkable.

4. Gift cards!  The families at my school are amazing and every so generous.  I typically recieve anywhere from $100- $300 in gift cards in a year!  Thank you.

5. Summer Break- March Break- Christmas Break

6. I love being creative!  I enjoy setting up bulletin boards, coming up with craft ideas

7. It's never the same.  Everyday is different.  Everyday is new.  Each year I have new students, new challenges, new themes and new curriculum. 

8. The students- they give me the opportunity to work on patience, share my enthusiasm and they inspire me.  They are full of energy, light and love. 

Kid's Say the Darnest...

Over the last ten years that I have worked with children I have undoubtedly heard the cutest things. Below are some quotes I wanted to share with you..

Teacher- "Why did you put those googly eyes in the French Teacher's coffee mug?"
Child- " I just couldn't resist!"

Teacher- "Wow, Jane you have a new baby brother!!!!"
Child- "Yes, and I got new barettes too"

Teacher-"How did you get so smart?"
Child- "You taught me everything I know!"

Teacher- " Well, your pretty cute!"
Child- "Of course I am God made me"

Child-" You are the best fort making teacher in the world"

Parent to Child- " What do you think the teacher's would like most for a present?"
Child- " They mostly like it when we learn stuff!!"

4 Year Old Child to Teacher- " I used to be a diva... but not anymore"

Teacher- " What are you going to be when you grow up?"
Child- " Well mostly I want to be a mom but if that doesn't work out an astronaut would be fine."

Child while showing me something on his finger- "What is this?|"
Teacher while examining between their fingers- " I am not sure, where did you find it?"
Child- " In my ear!"

What they didn't teach me in Teachers College

Oh, what they didn't teach me in Teacher's College?!!  I am in my fourth year of teaching and have taught every grade from Junior Kindergarten to Grade Eight.  Although I feel that my Teacher's College education was a valuable experience I feel there were certain things left out...

1. Do not purchase expensive clothes! 

 Joe Fresh is a wonderful choice! Not only will you save much needed time as you can pick great clothes up while shopping at your grocery store but you won't be devasted when a child accidently spills paint on your brand new white Lu Lu Lemon sweater... or cringe at the thought of your $100 Banana Republic pants being salt stained from yard duty responsiblities.  Although I certainly do love to shop for my back to school clothes  I save the bulk of my money for comfortable shoes; one pair of black and one brown.  The warmest, longest coat imaginable for those -25 winter recesses, and a large, yet fashionable book bag for those back and forth totes from home to school.   

2. You will have no life! 

Between grading, prep, reports, cutting, pasting,  laminating, emails, research and your mind constantly consumed by thoughts of the children- parents and new ideas you will be exhausted.  Remember to breathe, and make time for things you enjoy. 

3. Value Village can become your best friend! 

I was thankful to discover this gem early in my teaching career.  I could probably write a whole blog about  my many classroom treasures found at  the good old VV. 

Cultural-  Chinese Fans, African Masks, European Artifacts, Leather Native American Vest, Mexican Poncho, Indian Sari
Math- Easter Eggs for matching, Sea Shells for sorting,  Glass Hearts for counting. 
Books-  Variety of authors, affordable
Language- You can find all sorts of objects for phonetic matching. They also have a huge collection of puzzles, and games