In all of yesterday’s sorting and tossing and organizing and recycling and re-piling and filing, I came across my collection of Art Lessons. They were shouting, “Share! SHARE!” and since 1 of my 327 incomplete projects is to actually scan and archive my Art…
Here’s one inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe, a maverick woman artist at a time when women were quite less than welcome in the World of Professional (male) artists…
This lesson was done with a class of third-graders. First, we read a biography about Ms. Okeeffe so we could learn a little about the time she lived in and about the art she made, as well as a little bit about her philosophy as an artist. Then, the students tried blending their pastels on a practice paper. Next, they got to pick from a variety of close-up photos of flowers. Their goal was to emulate Georgia O’Keeffe’s style.
VARIATION… CUT INTO ENOUGH PIECES FOR THE CLASS A LARGE PHOTO OF A CLOSE-UP FLOWER (OR, USE SEVERAL PHOTOS). GIVE EACH CHILD A PIECE… AT THE END, REASSEMBLE THE ARTWORK AND PHOTOS.The lesson (as I see it) of this lesson, besides the artistic curriculum expectations met (see Ontario Curriculum documents, if you so desire), is this:
Take time to notice and tend to the little things in life… Maybe they aren’t so little? And, more than likely, each little thing is part of a bigger thing and its importance is often overlooked until the little thing is gone or broken. And, then, the big thing doesn’t work as it should. I am intentionally speaking in such broad things because it can be applied in most situations.
And, once we accept this, then we may see the importance of every little thing we do, from completing our part of a group project to doing our part to ensure a happy classroom environment; from noticing flowers to friends…
“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
- Georgia O’Keeffe from Goodreads
Take time to tend to a friend and chat to a flower,
or is it, chat to a friend and smell a flower.
I am usually too over-whelmed on Twitter. I mainly use it professionally, so my connections are either Educators or Local News & Events. Still – I usually find it all too much all at once. And by too much, I mean too much relevant information that has the potential to make me a better educator, and a better person, in general. So, I mark some of it for for later, share some on Facebook, or save inSpringpad… and then loose it… forever.
Not this time! This time, I will share my Exploration into Twitter Chat Land. I have pulled out some examples of Top Tweets (as determined by myself for myself, but also for others in a similar situation). As well as some of the links to Blogs and other resources. In a follow-up blog, I may include these to create The Compilation of Mega-Advice for Successful Job Interviews. Of course, then…
I WILL LAND MY PERFECT FIT TEACHING JOB!I am a Twitter Newbie…. kind of. I’ve been on it for over a year, but I am more of a passive user – for now – I think I might try a chat one of these days, like the New Teacher Chat (#ntchat), moderated by Lisa Dabbs @teachingwthsoul. You can check out the Wiki here.
Also note that I did not notice this wonderful and extremely relevant chat until the end. I scrolled through and was impressed by the succinct, yet helpful comments and links to informative blogs.
So, for all you other Twitter Chat Newbies out there, here’s what seems to happen…
The moderator will tweet the topic details, like this:
Lisa Dabbs Join me in 15min for New Teacher Chat #ntchat Today, Wed. 7/11 8et/5pt Topic:Tips for Performing Your Best at Your Next Interview#edchat.
Next, she introduces herself and the chat (just like if it were a f2f convo!):
Welcome, All!! I’m the founder and moderator of #ntchat Join me for this time of learning and collaboration!! To join the chat you may want to use Tweetdeck, tweetchat or other client that allows columns. Use the hashtag #ntchat to join the convo! We are a small, but mighty chat…dedicated to being practitioner focused and supportive to new teachers! Before we get started…Let’s take a minute to introduce yourselves. Share who you are and where you’re from! Thanks… To be supportive we do a “structured chat” for first 20 min: Q1, Q2, Q3 with A1, A2, A3 to have everyone participate!
And, the chat begins:
QUESTION 1: WHAT’S THE FIRST THING (A NEW TEACHER) SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR AN INTERVIEW? LET’S SHARE IDEAS!Participants contribute to Q1:
A Teacher’s Life Have a clear educational philosophy that you can discuss in a few minutes & a prospective discipline plan for your classroom.
Jerry Blumengarten Prepare a portfolio preferably Digital http://tinyurl.com/4btmvrg Have an ed philosophy, Practice answering questions…Must show how you would differentiate learning but also they look for classroom management skills which are very important …
Karl LS Research the school they are interviewing with-the more specifics you can reference about the school the better.
Blanca E. Duarte Read about the community, visit and observe children at the library, the stores, the park. Know your community and it’s children.
Dave Burgess I think it is very important to be able to speak from a place of passion about why you want to be a teacher. Also important to show you are a learner.Talk about what you have recently done to grow and a recent relevant book you have read. One way I got my job (revealed to me later) is because they asked what I had read recently and I knocked it out of the park.
José Popoff The focus needs to be on what you can do for the school not other way around
QUESTION 2: HOW DO YOU PRACTICE FOR THE INTERVIEW TO BE SURE YOU SHARE WHAT’S IMPORTANT?Lisa Dabbs Schedule a day of introspection. Think about your career, your goals, and your past experiences. Organize your work samples!
RT @PrincipalDunlop: RT @cybraryman1: A2 Video your practice sessions and you will see/hear things you can work on.
RT @guster4lovers: #ntchat I’d say make yourself a website with as much work/info as possible. it’s how I got my last job
RT PrincipalDunlop: A1: ask a mentor about possible interview questions. Do a mock interview. Painful but so helpful!
Two Teacherz Make Top 5 List of key words that represent most important items; at end of ALL interviews you get floor. Use them! Be able to express how you can reach, teach ALL learners (differentiated instruction).
QUESTION 3: HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS TO MEMORIZE THE THINGS YOU WANT TO SAY, BUT STAY CONVERSATIONAL? COULD BE TRICKY?Sue Dunlop instead, organized experiences into themes: literacy, numeracy, assessment, classroom management, PLC’s etc Have a framework to organize your thouhgts, especially if you tend to ramble or if you get paralysed… had an art teacher bring in art pieces done by students. Fantastic!
Lisa Dabbs I think it’s important to have some strong talking points prepared. Then feel confident to go with the flow and SMILE! Know what you want to emphasize but don’t memorize – you’ll have enough on you mind that day! Stay focused on the interview question. Do not ramble. And it’s okay if you do not know the answer. Be honest!
Melissa Edwards Practice speaking slowly and distinctly without saying “ummm”. Know a few things you want to emphasize but don’t sound rehearsed.
Cheryl Morris Try to give a general principle followed by specific example: “I believe in x. In my classroom it looks like y.” Bring water so u can pause to think/drink. ALWAYS ask on the phone beforehand. then bring what they tell you to. if they say nothing, then listen to that.
QUESTION 4: WHAT KINDS OF PRESENTATION ITEMS DO YOU THINK ARE IMPORTANT TO BRING TO THE INTERVIEW?(WE MAY HAVE SHARED THIS, BUT…)RT @Miss_Doig: An iPad if you can so that you can refer to examples quickly. Make sure your digital portfolio is well organised. (I KNEW I was right in proclaiming, “I need one!“
Lisa Dabbs I loved it when new teachers brought in actual artifacts of lessons worked on. Really impressive. I also had a prospective interviewee, bring in a video she had done of herself teaching a class! It was great to see.
Billy Spicer My experiences on interview committees is that you have to embed your portfolio INTO your responses. I’ve interviewed candidates that created websites, infographic resumes (cool!), & @prezi to use in interviews. You MUST stand out.
Jimmy Casas If I were interviewing for job today I would ask permission 2 teach a class so they could see my skill set in the classroom w/kids.
QUESTION 5: HOW DO YOU DRESS FOR THE INTERVIEW?William Gabriel Suit and Tie. I try to wear a tie that matches the color of the school. Subliminal message. It was what my g-father taught in.
RT @dalehancock: Be confident with humility. Most of all, be yourself. That is who you’ll be your first day on the job.
Lastly, the moderator will close the chat with suggestions on “where to go from here” for follow-up:
Wow! Where did the time go!! A HUGH heart felt Thank You to all of you for stopping by tonight! Be sure to follow some of the new friends you met here, tonight at New Teacher Chat #ntchat to continue the convo! Archives of New Teacher Chat will be on the wiki soon http://goo.gl/yLYf See you next week for our chat w/@KleinErin on Pinterest. OK friends…remember we are here for you. If you need a mentor…you need to check out our group! (http://tinyurl.com/8ylavvm) Be sure to check out & LIKE our New Teacher Chat Facebook page!http://goo.gl/kZCPv Share it with your FB buddies! I also have a list of interview questions that I will post to the wiki as soon as @evernote comes back on line!!
There it is, in a nutshell… Do check out the archives because there were many more super contributors. Always remember:
Faige Meller Be true to yourself. Don’t try to impress. Share who you are and why you want to teach.
The clincher testimonial to convince one of Twitter’s potential…
Mary Bertram Hi! Cant stay for the chat today but just wanted to drop by & say all the weekly #ntchat convos helped me get my first job!
SUPER BONUS LINKS THAT I WILL BE DELVING DEEPER INTO:…and this is why teachers should have blogs - George Couros
10 Tips to Help You Break to the Front of the Interview Pack! - Randee Kallison
#MentoringMonday An Article a Day…Might Just Save Your Teaching Life – Lisa Dabbs
10 Mistakes to Avoid In Your “Hire Me” E-mail – Carrie Jackson
http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/ed416/Task4.html – This is an Educational Philosophy Task that is good for Newbie & Not-So-Newbie teachers alike!)
I know a great and innovative teacher who is transforming education. Her name is Heidi Siwak. (check her out if you are not already familiar with who she is and what she does… http://heidisiwak.blogspot.com/)
The other day, I had the opportunity to work in her classroom. I had her Core Language/Social Studies class for the morning. They were in the middle of a self-directed inquiry project about Canada and its trading partners. I knew this because I read her blogs and teach in the school she works at quite often. So, I thought, “Great!” I told the students at the beginning of the day that I had been reading Mrs. Siwak’s blogs and I was here to help should they become stuck or unsure, as well as doing my rounds while they worked in the computer lab. We were disrupted when another class had there computer time period 2, and had to relocate. Unfortunately, the students were not as productive as I, and their teacher, had hoped they would be. I saw the usual things from students when they have a guest teacher: sitting around, chatting about things not project-related, goofing around, playing games and focussing too much on YouTube music videos.
The problem: when the teacher’s away, productivity decreased, or, to put it another way… the students will play.
Why? I know that in itself is not a foreign concept, but I really thought that this sort of project would work well no matter what teacher was in the room. Especially because, Heidi had conferenced with the students to help them set up “next steps” and work through problems. I know this. I read the blogs!
Despite my constant reminders, checking in and offers to help, only 2 students came to me to voice concern. I was able to help them and they were able to work. I was becoming concerned.
I didn’t want to disappoint Heidi and I didn’t want the students to, either. I figured many of them had already wasted two periods, and we needed to make it better. I thought, “What would Heidi do?”
Aha! I know, she would have a discussion with the students; she would share her concerns, let them voice theirs, and together fix the problem.
I shared my concerns that they were not working to the best of their ability and that the next time Mrs. Siwak was absent they may not get the freedom to do this kind of work. They would likely have the more traditional ‘read the text book and answer the questions’ type of work.
Thinking that maybe they were a little out of sorts simply because their teacher was not there, I asked them. Some said that was a problem; others were just goofing off. We talked about what we should do instead.
I made an anchor chart (there’s always an anchor chart!) to guide in their reflection/next steps…
The whole process proved beneficial as the students spent all of the next work period on task, and the trend continued at the end of the day in French class.
I saw Heidi the next day, who said, “that was great. Thanks for doing that. It was great that you texted me in the day. I knew exactly what to expect when I came in to school.”
…. And, no!, it is not because they do all the work and I get to sit at the desk with my feet up, reading a magazine. It has been my experience that I have never actually found myself able to do any of that in all my days of guest teaching – even when some other wonderful person is doing the actual teaching! Usually 5 minutes to sit (and sometimes that is at the same time as having a wee) – Priceless.
The reason why I love teacher candidates is because of the learning opportunities that they provide, like little refresher courses. Think about it; they are coming straight from teachers college where they are learning all sorts of new strategies for keeping students engaged and motivated, for classroom management, as well as fun and informative lesson plans. Further, they come into schools armed with all the current educational jargon that guest teachers often have trouble keeping up with as we are often not privy to on account that we are the ones covering classes when the teachers have PD.
Further learning opportunities – Priceless.
And, I’m not being greedy, here. I share my neat ideas and resources with the teacher candidates, and offer advice to them. Plus, I know when I was the teacher candidate (way back in the day) I enjoyed the odd day with a guest teacher because it felt like some of the pressure was off – they are not the ones evaluating; it was sort of more unofficial. And, as I further remember, any little break helps in those busy and stressful times! An encouraging teacher who is not evaluating – Priceless.
Here’s the bonus… Guess who benefits the most?
The students, whom all of this education business is about anyway! Indeed, whenever there is an extra body in the room, extra help (in the form of a certified teacher) is available to the students who could do with more than what can be provided for them on a daily basis. I am often able to work one-to-one with students who could do with an E.A. in a perfect world but do not have one, or with small groups of students. I have found that with some of these students, it means the world to actually be able to finish their work and to actually earn free time. Let’s face it – a lot of students are never able to do this and they couldn’t even do it if their lives depended on it. So, to be able to help a student succeed, even if just for one day…
In summary, the reason why I love teacher candidates is that they are Awesome!
When a guest teacher enters the classroom to find a teacher candidate preparing for the day – Priceless.
As I whittle away at my paper piles, I have come across many forgotten lesson ideas… Here’s one that is both quick & easy: “A HAIKU for Every Theme”… It covers some Literacy and whatever other subject you or the students wish.
I did these in a Grade 5 classroom. The teacher wanted me to complete the lesson on writing Haiku, plus she also wished for us to discuss Earth Day and combine the two…
The students enjoyed putting their finished poems up for all to see, plus it gave them motivation to do a great job. After I showed them the pattern, and we made a couple all together, they were off, some of them creating 2 or 3 in the short time we actually had to work. They worked on the pictures during their own nutrition break time.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any of their poems or our whole-class creations, but here are some of my attempts…
We care about Earth
We will write poems for HOPE
Others will care, too. S. O. S.
Planet near to death
but (Maybe) it’s not too late.
As ONE, we rally.
And then we want seven more
And five once again
** Alternatively, as an introduction to Haiku (for a class that is not familiar), I think I would show them about three Haiku Poems and have the students working in small groups to figure out the Rules for Haiku.
I urge everyone & anyone to check out MeYou Health and participate in the Daily Challenge. Each day comes with a simple challenge to improve well-being, one small and manageable step at a time. For example,
DAILY CHALLENGE – THURSDAY JUN. 16, 2011, FROM MEYOU HEALTH has an Emotional Health focuses on daily experiences related to happiness, enjoyment, sadness, and stress in evaluating overall well-being....
Make funny faces in the mirror until you laugh!
HOW TO DO IT: LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND STICK OUT YOUR TONGUE, CROSS YOUR EYES, FLARE YOUR NOSTRILS – MAKE ANY RIDICULOUS FACES UNTIL YOU START TO LAUGH.
WHY IT MATTERS: LAUGHTER IS GOOD FOR YOUR BODY AND MIND. IT INCREASES ENDORPHINS, THE BRAIN’S FEEL-GOOD CHEMICALS, AND IT ALSO STIMULATES YOUR HEART, LUNGS, AND MUSCLES. A GOOD, LONG GIGGLE ALSO RELIEVES STRESS AND HELPS YOU RELAX. MAKING FUNNY FACES IN THE MIRROR WILL TAKE YOUR MIND OFF ANY WORRIES YOU MIGHT HAVE, AT LEAST FOR A FEW MINUTES.
FUN FACT: THERE ARE 357 MIRRORS IN THE HALL OF MIRRORS AT THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES IN PARIS, FRANCE.
(Taken directly from: https://challenge.meyouhealth.com/2011/6/16/make-funny-faces-in-the-mirror-until-you-laugh#)
Eek… that is a lot of Mirrors in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in Paris, France! Hopefully they are the kind they have in dressing rooms… that make you look thinner – positive Self Esteem mirrors!!!
I know I make funny faces because every time I get my picture taken, I seem to make one of them… and that’s why digital cameras are great… I can delete the ones I don’t approve of, i.e., where I don’t look my cutest!
I also make funny faces getting ready for the day… putting my contacts in, moisturizing, mascara (if I wore it)!
Trouble is, I can’t seem to make a really good ‘n’ Funny face on purpose:( But, I will ask a bunch of 7 year olds and some 11 year olds today, while I am working. Maybe we will even have a funny face contest… Thanks for the idea DC! Except it will not be called ‘Funny Face Contest’ because that promotes competition and silliness, soo… I shall call it a Social Health & Wellbeing Break, yeah!
It actually has great potential to be a learning opportunity. It could teach that sometimes it is ok if someone laughs at you… as opposed to most of the time when the kids make fun of other people and treat them poorly and then come a’tattling the second someone does it back… I really try to get them to understand the Golden Rule and Empathy (they all get it in theory but not its application). And Name-calling… yikes… young ones think anything other than their names is bad… they just can’t seem to shrug it off when someone calls them ridiculous things that aren’t even insulting, like “Salami”… it would be in the tone and how the person says it… so, I always give my “Name Lecture”: We all have a name and if you are calling anyone ANYTHING else other than the name they use, and they tell you to stop, and you do not, then you are bullying them!
… OR, A TECHNOLOGY-FREE MORNING…
Early in the morning of June 8th, we had a magnificent storm. The eerily comforting glow and hum of digital/technical life was replaced by the repeated shine and crackle of lightening, the angry booming of thunder, the teeming rain and the assault of hail on the window panes. As suddenly as it came, the storm passed and the house grew abnormally silent and dark.
Shortly after 5 am (boo!), My Hubby and I were (quite rudely) awakened to the sound of the phone ringing, as the alarm clock no longer worked (Note to self: Replace battery in Alarm Clock). It was my Hubby’s father and Boss calling to see if we had power…
“Huh?! What? No! What time is it?! Yikes!” Within a couple seconds, we had him out the door in time to leave with his ride for work.
So, after that excitement, I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was thinking back to the Great Power Outage of 2003; it lasted more than one day! And, I had just gone to great lengths to procure Radiohead tickets for the sold-out Toronto show, only to have it be cancelled and postponed to a date I absolutely could not attend. Anyway…
As the years pass, more and more people are replacing newspapers with online news and listening to radio online or on satellite. But what happens when we have no access? What happens when the power goes out?
The mobile phone is good for awhile, until the battery is used up, and it is my only lifeline to other people. The iTouch is also rendered powerless when the battery is spent, and without a Wifi connection, it is not so useful anyway.
I was lying in bed trying not to think about all the food that we couldn’t afford to replace that could have gone bad. And then, the most disturbing and distressful thought of all, “HOW WILL I STRAIGHTEN MY HAIR?” (You see, I had my shower the night before so my hair is a disaster area until I run my trusty ELECTRICAL straightener through it.) I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be straightening my hair, and then, “I am working at a school in town, where we have no power. Will there even be school today?” Normally, I would check the Board’s Website, but I couldn’t – No Power. I may have had to actually go outside and talk to real live people for some information – just like the good ol’ days (so I hear!).
Ironically, this forced a Technology Detox from my frighteningly techno-dependent life. I had just started reading “The Digital Diet” by Daniel Sieberg. Regaining balance in our lives and breaking our technology addictions are the main themes in the book, and one of the first steps is a Detox, and there’s the irony!
So, I’m not sleeping, and I’m thinking all these things and I find some paper and a pen (wow, old-school!) and I get out of bed to sit by the window. It was turning into a hot, sunny morning. The effect of no power was quite evident, allowing a reflection on how I depend on it and the part it has in my life. With the noises of life silenced, I could clearly hear the birds, singing their morning songs, quite clearly unaffected by the turmoil their human neighbours were experiencing. Here is what I didn’t hear:
No constant hums of the fans, the refrigerator, or the computer powering up. No YouTube videos or songs playing on iTunes that accompany my morning routine. Not even an alarm clock going off! Just the shrill ring of the cell phone (a temporary tie to our technological life).
As I was sitting there, in a state of fleeting peacefulness at 6 am, I made a list of how this lack of power has affected me:
- No coffee (in a power outage, coffee makers and electric kettles are rendered useless.)
- No smoothie (ditto with the Blender)
- No light to help me find clothes (Note to self: Find flashlights and make sure there are batteries)
- No computer/Internet to see if I missed anything during my slumber (Facebook withdrawal is setting in…) And, I can’t help but feel slightly unsettled without the muted glow of Computer, which, admittedly, is the first thing that gets turned on upon arisal and arrival.
- No status updates, no Tweets, no checking the weather on-line (oh, wait… My cat’s fur had gone sort of crimpy. That meant it wass humid out… )
- No air conditioning, no fans
- I’ve already mentioned that my hair straightener was cruelly unavailable (Note to self: get a mini-generator for next time – I must be able to straighten my hair at all times!)
- Heck, I can’t even charge my tooth brush (Note to self: Get backup non-electrical one)
“Oh, dear! WHAT DO I DO? WHAT DO I DO? WHAT DO I DO? WHAT DO IDO?”
to check out this fun & easy program for creating short animations!”]Made using GoAnimate! Check out... goanimate.com to create Fun & Easy Aanimations!
Things to do with No Power:
- Eat all the food (Romantic-Style Candle Lit Dinner, not in front of the Telly or Computer)
- visit someone with a BBQ
- read (by sunlight)
- write (My. gosh! I still remember how!)
- Art (on paper, with a pencil or crayons!)
- play cards/boardgames (how they were originally meant to be played)
- Make a List of things needed to be done before the next power outage
- Take a walk and notice your surroundings… and, if it gets to be night and still no power – gasp, oh the horror! – then marvel at the world without power
- Reflect on how technology (and lack thereof) affects you
- Exercise (most likely does not require electricity)
- Talk to actual people!
So, I got ready for work, the best I could in the dark with no power and I walked to work. No power means no school. I walked home from work and found that…… the power had returned. I thought to myself, “Ah but why not use this as an opportunity to stick with a power-free day, to step away from my monitor and my gadgets. Take the time to appreciate REAL LIFE. Why don’t I exercise? Why don’t I…….” Excuse me, computer has booted up;)
1. We are screwed if the apocalypse or some other worldly disaster were to occur!
2. Perhaps, I should follow through with the Notes to self!
3. Maybe, we should try to do some of those things that don’t require power a little more often!
Technology has great potential to “level the playing field”. It also has great potential to divide it even more.
Unfortunately, it may be the latter statement that is true in many cases. I am speaking from the point of view of an occasional teacher who goes into different schools across a large city. I am not a consultant or an expert, and thus, this blog is simply my humble opinion.
There are a lot of great teachers doing great things with technology in their classrooms. That is Truth. I’ve seen it; they share it; the students love it and they are engaged. These are all facts. And, this is all very Awesome.
But, what about all of those teachers who would love to get in on all of this only to find that the school they teach at does not have the technological resources available to do so? What about the students who do not get to build an application for an iPad because their school does not have even one iPad? What about the schools with no Smart Boards, or classrooms without one computer, never mind a pod? What about the school without digital cameras or the means to create a Podcast, or to Skype professionals around the world? What about those schools where the main concern is the Food Programs because the students are not coming to school with enough food?
Sure, you don’t NEED technology to teach. We’ve been doing it without forever, but wouldn’t these students benefit from the experience gained and the engagement that technology can provide?
I am not at all suggesting that any teachers stop what they are doing with technology in their classrooms, but something needs to be done. It seems that education is all about, “No Child Left Behind” and “Every Child Matters” and similar such Sentiments. It is being said by Boards and Provinces, but is it really being reflected? Not all the time. It comes down to money. It always comes down to money. Technology seems to be furthering the divide between the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots”, perpetuating the cycle. Some of our young people will be fluent in Digital Literacies and others will not be. I wonder who will have a better chance at getting into higher education, and then better-paid careers? Who will be more likely to remain engaged in their learning and stay in school?
(*Just something I’ve been pondering this week.)
BUMP IT UP – Do Better to Be Better!
Everybody likes to know that they’ve done good work and what they do is appreciated. I’m not saying we need banners and sky-writers after every wonderful thing we do, but an acknowledgement is appreciated. Today was one of those days for me, and I only worked for the morning!
“You know what, Mrs Schneider? You’re my favourite supply teacher!” (boy, 4th grade)
“It’s Mrs Schneider, What a great day!” (Grade 8 boy, and I’m just going to pretend it wasn’t because he perceived it to mean he could slack off!)
“Mrs Schneider is awesome!” (overheard 2 grade 6 girls in conversation in the hallway)
“You know, the kids really enjoy having you in the classroom!” (A teacher whose room I was recently in for the day)
Knowing the staff and students is definitely a benefit to working in a school on a regular basis. Sometimes as an occasional teacher, we do not have the opportunity to build such a rapport. While it is great to work in many schools to gain experience in many different settings, there are some definite advantages to having a “main” school. These benefits are evident to everyone:
Students get to know me and I get to know them. I am able to greet most of them by name as they exit the bus, or enter the classroom, or as I pass them in the hallways. I tend to know more of them by name than some of the staff, as I teach in across all the grades and subjects.
Teachers and other staff also come to know me, and I them. This means I learn about the teaching styles of many teachers and become familiar with their classroom routines and expectations. Teachers also do not mind leaving less-detailed lesson plans. Sometimes we can connect, previous to an assignment, to go over the day in person. Or, if they were not expecting to be away and know I will be in, they are comforted by the fact that I know the routines and where supplies are and the students’ names, personalities and quirks.
I become familiar with the school’s procedures, rules, routines and expectations. This makes everybody’s lives easier.
Even parents come to know me. Knowing their child’s anxiety is less than when they have to meet a stranger is helpful, in some cases more than others. Who are we kidding, in some cases, it may ease parents’ anxiety more than their childrens’.
When I go to those familiar schools, I believe it is often a more productive and comfortable day for a lot of the people involved in the school.
And, when everyone is happy, we can get on with happily learning.
We can BUMP IT UP – DO BETTER TO BE BETTER!
Nicola Schneider, Occasional Teacher, 13 years