Here Come the Tears

This post is going to look a little bit different than most. I have so much to say about this past week and I do not want to leave anything out. Here it goes…

Some of the things I focused on this week were positive reinforcement, observing other teachers, utilizing technology in the classroom, including students in the planing process, providing opportunities for self-reflection, and being creative in my lesson planning.

Some of my favourite activities this week included:

-having students act out a story as I read it aloud

-trying new body break ideas

-setting up a ‘readers’ theatre’ in a safe way

-observing teachers in other grades and subject areas to gain insight and inspiration

-integrating student-led learning in several lessons

-practicing spelling words using the snow outside

Overall, it was a really fun week and I was able to provide more feedback and guidance to individual students than in previous weeks.

Now, here is the sad part… this may or may not have been my last week in the school. I know… it’s crazy to think it could already be over!

On one hand, I am rejoicing. I am so thankful for this experience and am so hopeful for all that the future has in store. I have many cherished memories and helpful tools to carry with me as I go from here.

On the other hand, I am heartbroken because I do not like goodbyes and I love this school, the staff, and the students. I know that I will likely see them again, but the everyday scheduled time there has come to a close. I will miss everyone so much.

So, on Friday, as that dismissal bell came closer and closer; I held it together long enough to say a very quick, very hesitant goodbye to the kids. They surprised me with a very special gift that I will absolutely treasure for the rest of my life. There were some tears for the letting go, but the memories I have with these students will stay with me forever.

This internship has been monumental in my life, both professionally and personally. I came out of a season of trauma and into this experience. It has exceeded my expectations tremendously and has been significant in my healing journey. I do not have the words to express how grateful I am for the staff and students of my coop school.

For now, I will leave it at that. I will talk to you in my next post!

December, Where did you Come From?

Can you believe it is already the last month of 2020? Where did the time go?!

This week, I tried to focus on authentic assessment; which is an area that I feel needs to be a focus in my professional development. I have difficulty, at times, planning assessments for specific activities. Although I have improved a lot over the last few months, I will continue to seek opportunities for growth in this area specifically as I move forward. I was intentional about my assessments this week and it really helped me to gain ideas for the future.

As December rolled in, so did the very beating end of my time in this school. The emotions of leaving really started to hit me this week as I prepared for the ends of my remaining units. I don’t think I will ever be ready to say goodbye to these kids, but the reality of that goodbye is looking over my head as the countdown to Christmas break begins.

Overall, it was a fantastic week and I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful group of students this year.

Reaching the Home Stretch

I will start by saying that I am behind in transferring these reflections from paper to my blog, so this post is actually referring to the week of November 23rd to the 27th. I apologize for any confusion this may cause.

This week wrapped up my three week block of full time teaching. This means that I will now need to start letting go of subjects as my coop teacher takes them back. This is, in short, bittersweet.

The last week consisted of wrapping up units, intentionally addressing unmet teaching goals, and focusing on PGP areas that will continue into the next few weeks.

One of my favourite parts of this week was planning and utilizing cross-curricular lessons to creatively meet the intended goals of our poetry unit with limited time. It was really fun to see the kids use their poetry skills to explore topics in Science and Health. I tried to really focus on cross-curricular content this fall and my experience this week was the most significant part of that goal.

Overall, I feel good about my three week block and, although I am sad about lessening my teaching load, I am excited to have time for observation in other grades and subject areas.

Bye for now! Stay tuned for deeper reflective posts as I wrap up my internship in the next couple weeks.

When Things Get a Little Rocky

Don’t worry… my internship experience is still going really well and my gratitude for it has not been shaken.

That being said, my anxiety with our current situation in the world has increased over the last week and I am noticing an uneasiness in myself that is most unwelcome.

I am two weeks into my three week block of full time teaching, meaning I have just one week left before I begin to give classes back to my co-op teacher. This is the part of my internship I was most excited about… my time to shine. The three week block means license to be as creative as I can be; face classroom challenges head on without the security of another adult in the room at all times; and, above all else, opportunity to really grow in all areas of teaching. However, this wonderful point in my life has not come absent of worry. I am more anxious right now than I have been thus far. Almost all of that anxiety is due to two things: upcoming trials personally that distract me from my classroom work and current world events that concern me.

I have learned throughout my life that I am an eternal optimist. I will hold onto each and every positive element of my life without ceasing. Lately though, the very things I have been holding onto seem to be decreasing in effectiveness and importance. The thoughts that are prominent in my day to day reflections are those that seem to bring me fear and worry.

The good news? I won’t sit it this state. I refuse to let anxieties of this life tear me apart. Although I will remain informed and take action as needed in all situations, I will not be consumed by worry. My students are so important to me, and I want to give them the best week ahead that I can. In order to do that, I need to take the necessary steps to ensure that my head and my heart are both in it all the way through.

So here’s to a new week… another brand new chance to reach my potential and then keep pushing. This week, I want to focus on technology integration, FNMI content incorporation, parent engagement, and cross-curricular lesson creation.

This road may be a little bumpy this year, but I will hold on tight and take it one day at a time!

On that note… let me just leave you with the encouragement in this video. I hope it inspires you as much as it has me since I first saw it a couple of years ago.

https://youtu.be/SFnMTHhKdkw

The Last of the First Weeks

Imagine with me for a moment that you are on a roller coaster…. you are creeping uphill slowly as you anticipate that final moment before the downward spiral. You can see the top now and your stomach starts to get fluttery as you determine that you are too far into this experience to go down. Even if you do not want to, you will surely come flying downward toward the ground before you arrive at your final destination. Now, the downward spiral is approaching quickly and you know that it can go one of two ways; either it will be terrifying and something that you will not repeat, or it will be one of the most accilerating, wonderful moments of your life thus far.

For the record, I have never been on an actual rollercoaster… I mean, unless of course you consider those little slow track fair rides that are made for small children. This week has reminded me of the incline on a roller coaster though, because it is my final week before I commence the full-time teaching portion of the experience. This means that I will add ELA to my list of teaching subjects and my co-op teacher will step back and allow me to be completely independent in the classroom. I am not anticipating terror or doom, but instead am absolutely certain that I will have an accelerating, wonderful experience comparable to a ride enthusiast’s decline on a roller coaster. I know that there will be challenges (aren’t there always?) but I am prepared to face them head on and let me love for teaching and for others guide my every step! I have such an amazing community of staff and students walking this journey alongside me and, with them, I believe that I will grow as a teacher from each and every obstacle we face.

Thus far, I have taken over teaching most subject areas and am loving every single one of them. Some subjects are more challenging for me than others, like Phys. Ed. but my co-op teacher and I worked out a schedule at the beginning of this experience that would allow me the most exposure to the subjects that I am the least confident in. I was a little bit nervous about this approach regardless of it being my idea, but I am so truly thankful that we went ahead with it. I am starting my 3-week block with confidence because I have a seemingly endless supply of feedback and resources concerning the areas in which I feel I need the most improvement.

I was able to target a few of my focus areas this past week, including the integration of FNMI content in my teaching and the input of students in my planning. I will continue to work on these goals, as well as my previously stated target areas, during my three week block. I am so excited to explore new technologies, create space for safe family engagement during these difficult times, and provide higher level thinking opportunities for my students daily.

ELA is my happy place, so I am beyond thrilled for that part of the three week block itself. I am teaching a poetry unit over the next few weeks and I know that it is going to be such a fun experience for myself and the students.

As the first half of my internship comes to a close, I am ready to take what I have learned and embrace that thrilling descent into completion for all that it is worth!

lets go

It Was Time for a Wake-up Call

Last week was… eye opening to say the least. Leading up to that point, I had been living in a blissful ignorance. I went to the school each day assuming that I would be back the next day, the day after that, and so on. Now, you would think that I would be aware of the possibility of absence considering the times that we find ourselves living in. I will be the first to admit though that I was taking my days at the school for granted…. until Tuesday came.

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Allergies can be so dissapointing!

I ended up being absent for the majority of last week due to a flare up with my seasonal allergies. I was deeply saddened by the second day because I missed the classroom so much. I also realized that making sub plans for more than one day is not the easiest task for me. I have an amazing coop teacher and I am absolutely confident in her teaching, so it wasn’t that I was worried per say. It was more that I felt overwhelmed by trying to send her the information and materials needed for my lessons without having access to my desk and the physical materials I so heavily rely on day to day.

Each day I thought about my classroom, my students, the staff, and how grateful I am to be a part of such a wonderful community. I would not have chosen to miss so many days, but I am thankful for the time because it only amplified my sincere gratitude for this internship. You know the saying… “you don’t always know what you have until it’s gone”…

Technically, nothing was taken away from me. My internship is not over, nor is my time in the classroom. However, just the tiny little taste of having it missing from my week was enough to make me extremely appreciative. I am moving into this week with even more drive to make the most of each and every moment that I am given; in and out of the classroom!

It Starts With a Goal

This past week was… you guessed it-wonderful!

Surprised? I’m not. Every day I go home wondering if the next day could really be as great as the current one. I am ALWAYS pleasantly surprised as my expectations are well exceeded.

I am celebrating each moment and focusing on the countless blessings that lie within this experience. Maybe it’s the fact that I really am in an amazing classroom, or maybe the reality that the school community is amazing. Maybe I am becoming an even more positive person as time goes on, or maybe just maybe I have truly found my passion! I have always loved teaching and working in the field of Education, but I believe that being a teacher is truly where I belong right now. All of these wonderful factors combined has made for a great internship thus far, and I have really been reflecting on this in the last week and have been filled with utmost gratitude.

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Some important happenings occurred this last week as well, including my interim evaluation and my second formal observation from my internship supervisor. After going through these evaluation processes, I have some very specific goals and action plans in place for the remainder of my time in the school. These goals include, but are not limited to, incorporating more cultural diversity into my planning and teaching, focusing on differentiated learning opportunities, providing more opportunities for family involvement, including students in the planning process to ensure that they are playing a leading role in their education experience, and exploring and incorporating new technological tools in my teaching. I also want to focus more on ensuring that I am providing opportunities for questioning according to Bloom’s Taxonomy. With all of these goals in mind and enough inspiration to motivate me for days, I better get back to planning!

As I come to the end of this reflection, I will leave you with a song that perfectly expresses the way that I am feeling at this stage in my internship…

So Many Emotions

Though this is late, I wanted to take the time to reflect on last week, October 12-16. It was a week full of emotions.

I gained so much inspiration from my coop teacher that week. Observing her teach has been monumental in my growth as a teacher, but that particular week was perhaps the most inspiring time in my internship so far. I was able to watch a few lessons and small group activities that I absolutely loved and have made notes to look back on later because the way that my coop teacher creatively approached several topics throughout the week has given me a desire to try some of those same teaching approaches myself.

Another thing that really sticks out to me about that week is that I started to get very emotional. Every single day of my internship thus far has been nothing short of wonderful. Despite feeling great about the experience, I found myself really down at times. I realized though, that it had nothing to do with anything being wrong… I am simply SO SAD to be leaving soon. I realize that it is not that close to Christmas yet, but I just know that time is going to fly by and I will be at the end of this experience before I know it. I really love going to my classroom every morning and I will miss this so much. Even though I know that the next chapter will be wonderful as well, whatever it may hold, I am just a little bit anxious about having to say goodbye to this one.

So… after a whirlwind of a week and a lot of time to reflect, I did brainstorm a few goals to add to my plan for the remainder of this time:

-time management (especially in Phys. Ed.)

-make a list of great classroom library books and books to use for lessons (I have discovered so many great books in the last couple of weeks by listening to my coop teacher read and searching the school library collection myself)

-work on incorporating a larger variety of tools into my teaching (technologies, equipment, etc.)

Overall, it was a wonderful week! I will embrace these wild emotions as they come because I know in my heart that they are simply evidence of my love for this school and the position that I find myself in!

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Can We Really Be Here Already?

This last week was nothing short of fantastic! I was able to dive into teaching Science, which meant teaching for more time in a row. It has been an adjustment for sure, but I am really enjoying the extra time at the front of the room.

Now, with four subjects to teach and another just around the corner, I have more time to work on my professional goals and reflect on my practice. I hope to continue to grow as a teacher and to avoid the complacency that is unfortunately possible as comfort sets in. Some of the things that I want to do in the coming weeks, to help with this, are:

-teach content that is out of my comfort zone

-try new things (with lesson planning, teaching, assessment, and content creation)

-incorporate unfamiliar tools into my teaching

-seek PD opportunities

-self-reflect daily and adjust accordingly

I cannot believe we are already well into the month of October, but I am so excited to increase my teaching time more and to see what the remainder of my internship experience brings!

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As the Fall Air Cools, My Heart Grows Warmer!

Let me just start by saying that this past week presented itself with a few challenges and many special moments!

October has started off on a fairly difficult note outside of my internship. With family and personal trials happening, my biggest goal this week was to focus while I was at school and not let anything get in the way of me making the most of my time with the students. It was good practice for me to teach during a trying week, because those times are bound to happen again and again. One thing that became exceedingly clear to me though, is that there are few things on this earth that can brighten my day like teaching does. I love learning from and with the students! Their positivity and curiosity warms my heart, and their patience as I learn to teach them new material is inspiring!

This past week also encompasses my first formal observation from my internship supervisor. I received thorough feedback after a Phys. Ed. lesson and am looking forward to applying it as I move forward. Because it is one of the subjects that I am least confident in, I really am grateful for the descriptive feedback and suggestions for future lessons. One of the areas that my supervisor suggested I work on is incorporating the Bloom’s Taxonomy questioning model into my lessons. After sitting down with my coop teacher to gain a better understanding of this model, I am excited to work on questioning as my primary professional goal for the next little while.

This coming week, I will add Science to my list of teaching subjects. This means that I will be teaching four subjects now and will always have three subjects to teach each day (Arts Ed. and Science are only every second day). I am really looking forward to increasing teaching time, more opportunity to work on my goals and becoming a well-rounded teacher, and continued exposure to this wonderful practice.