The Year 2046

Posted: April 14, 2014 in Reflections

For this final reflective blog piece I am ask to fast forward to the year 2046 when I am just about to close my classroom door for the last time as I am reaching my retirement.

            Wow! I can’t believe the day is really here! June 30th 2046 I have never imagined that this  day would come so fast when I started my career as a social studies teacher. All of my lessons are now complete I can really have time to reflect on some of my highlights in the past 30 years.

            I still remember my first day with my hair long and slicked back ready to take on the world to only realize that my lesson on circumpolar countries blew up in my face. Ahh the memoires I have! I wonder what the students will remember of me, would it be because of the way I used current events in every lesson or the way I tried to integrate the newest technology ( and I would have to admit this was at times a struggle) or could it be from my sharing circles every Friday?

            As I look back, one thing that sticks up in my mind is the relationships I have built in my classroom. Even if the students do not remember a thing from my class they still come back and talk about the relationships that we have built with each other over the course, which, I feel is the most important thing!

            One thing that I really tried to push in my social classroom was the idea of creating active citizens. I wanted each student to take on the role of thinking how he or she can make the world a better place. I was amazed at some of the ideas that my past students came up with. I feel that I did make the world a better place just by placing different thoughts in my students and inspiring them! Creating active citizens was a huge part of my teaching philosophy and I am glad I stuck with it throughout the years!

            Who can forget the laughs we had in the classroom. By the end of my teaching career students would come up to me and ask, “ Are you that teacher that still uses that thing called Twitter?” Towards the later part of my teaching career I would always bring in the old dusty smart board and log onto Twitter. The students would laugh at me because I wasn’t using the latest social media app for that class and how long it took to load really did bother the students. (haha) So I will always be remembered as Mr. Twitter. (Im not sure if that is a good thing!) But, when I did try to integrate the newest technology wow was it amazing.  If we had some of the technology we do now when I started teaching it could of added so many more aha moments for the students and I.

            I always tried setting aside at least ten minutes every class to just talk about current events. I felt throughout my career that current events were one of the most important things because it is learning about our world as it is happening. I would always share something myself for five minutes than have students share for five minutes. I think my class in 2034 will remember my rant about the NHL that lasted 50 minutes. I felt so bad about ranting I just let them have the last 10 minutes to themselves. Students still come back and talk about that time. They talk about how passionate I was about that issue!

            I always tried to create new learning environments, which is a big part of my teaching philosophy. It was pretty cool having such a long time in the classroom I got to try new ideas. I still remember the one-day right before a long break at school and the floors were going to get waxed the next day. So I moved all of my desks out of the classroom a day early. I still remember the looks on the student’s faces when they walked into my classroom without their being any desks. I connected this to how many schools around the world can’t even afford having desks. They kids responded to this by setting up a fundraiser to help raise money. This was one of the most proud moments in the classroom.  So, every year after this I would have class outside no matter what the conditions were to try and simulate what other students have to go through to learn!

            Who can forget the sharing circles we had each Friday. What we did was each member of the  class would bring an item what is significant to them in anyway when it was their assigned Friday.  We then would pass around the item and talk about different social studies issues (or other school issues)  mainly current events. Students had the opportunity to pass if they did not want to share. Every year the students would pass  more at the start of the year but by the end everyone would  be sharing and getting deeper and deeper in conversation. I liked how everyone in the class slowly started to become closer to each other and the bonds that were made I hope will last forever.

 

            All in all, I am glad at the legacy I left as a teacher especially in the social studies area. More importantly I feel I will be remember for not exactly what I taught but how I taught the content to my students. The relationships that were built in my classroom I feel are way more important than any content that was taught in my classroom. I could go on and on about the different things I did in my classroom over the thirty years and how my philosophy has changed. I am glad of the lives I have impacted in my time in the classroom and I know I made the right profession choice!

            

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Week 3 in the field

Posted: April 7, 2014 in Reflections

            Where did the time go? I can’t believe that our three-week block came to an end so quickly. It is going to be weird waking up Monday morning and not having to rush out the door so I am not late for school! I will defiantly miss all the kids smiling faces as they enter the room at the 9 o’clock bell. I feel after this three week experience I am starting to become more and more prepared for internship. I know that we can only learn so much at university so getting out into the field teaches us many things that school simply can not.

            First off, I would like to thank the school of St.Joan of Arc they did an amazing job hosting us interns and welcoming us into their community. Secondly, I would like to thank the students of my grade seven class. I felt that I built a strong connection with all the students. With this I felt that I was able to take risks in front of them. This is something that I feel is very valuable for me to grow as a professional.  I walked away from a few lessons this during my three week block thinking I should have not done that to later hear that the students really enjoyed what I taught with them! The class I walked into seemed so open to any ideas that I had that it made my experience in the classroom very memorable.

            I was lucky enough to teach three different subjects during my three week block. Physical Education was one subject I was lucky enough to teach. This was my favourite subject growing up and getting to teach it put a huge smile on my face everyday I was in the gym. I focused my unit on badminton and overall I felt like it was a success. The students were a little more advanced than I anticipated so that lead us into playing more games then working on skills. Which,   I felt the students did enjoy a lot more. I was the same way when I was a student why would I want to practice skills when I could just play!

            I was also lucky enough to teach a six-lesson drama unit. When I first got assigned this topic I thought to myself I have no clue what I am going to do for this. I sat down and looked through the curriculum for ideas. I jotted down ideas for my lessons and went from there. I was surprised how well my unit turned out. My coop even asked if she could use my lessons in the future. I felt that the kids really got into my lessons. This did test my classroom management skills. As the unit went on the students were more comfortable with me and the class and the skits started to become better and better! At times I felt the class was getting a little bit goofy so that was my cue to try and change up things!

            My third unit was in health! I decided since I only had three health lessons with the students I decided to do a Dragons Den with the students. The focus was on looking at the propaganda the media uses to sell a product. I could not be more proud of the students with the work they put into developing this. When it was time to finally enter the dragons den all the groups nailed their pitch idea. I noticed that Julie was busy writing cheques to most of the groups ( haha). The kids were really excited to create a healthy food idea and try to sell it to the dragons.

            All in all, I could not ask for a better time in the classroom. Looking back on the three weeks in the class I feel that I made big strides in gaining confidence as a teacher. I remember how nervous I was my first lesson and how calm and relaxed I was on my first. I learnt so much that I cant even put it into words! But I hope to carry over everything into my internship this fall. I am nervous but also excited to begin next fall. If it is anything like this experience I know I made the right decision in wanting to become a teacher! 

Week two!

Posted: March 30, 2014 in Reflections

 

            I can’t believe we only have one week left in our pre-internship left! Where does the time go? I still feel that I have lots more to learn and so little time to learn it. With this week coming to a close I feel myself getting more and more excited for my internship in the fall. I feel that after each lesson I teach I am starting to become more and more comfortable in front of the students. Everyday I am adding something new in my bag of tricks for when I get back into the classroom.

 

            Monday came way faster than expected when I was going to bed Sunday night I remember thinking were did the weekend go. Since, St. Joan of Arc is on a five-day cycle I have the same schedule as last week. So, my first experience of week two was another Phys.ed lesson.  Today, we worked on the tactical focus of attacking and defending in badminton. After a short rally with a focus on these tactics we got right into playing games. I was originally going to focus more on skills but, I felt that the class was eager to start playing games.

 

            Tuesday was the first time my advisor was coming to watch me teach. I have to admit I was a little nervous at the start of the class with an extra set of eyes watching me but as the lesson rolled on I felt more and more comfortable. My lesson was surrounding the different drama techniques. Overall, I felt that my lesson went fairly good with there only being a few different spots where I have come back to in my next lesson. We played the improv game Hitchhiker and the students seemed to really enjoyed this game! I felt that the advisor gave me many tips and ideas on how I can improve as an instructor which, I can see myself using in the near future.

 

            Wednesday we carried over on what we learnt in last health class to this one. We were talking about the different techniques the media uses in advertising.  I showed a video of Ten Tree on Dragons Den. I wanted to show the students the techniques they used to pitch their idea because they are going to be participating in a Dragons Den of their own next week. The students had the rest of the class to work on their pitch as I walked around to answer questions.

 

            Thursday was our school retreat day! Classes were cancelled and we had a school wide retreat. My role in this retreat was making sandals with the students. The sandals were to show that we are all disciples of god. I had a blast working with different students from around the school! There was also a live band playing in the gym. The whole day was a success and I felt that it took a lot of work from all the teachers and volunteers involved with making this whole thing come together!.

 

            Friday was finally here and holy was it a long week. Today I got to teach drama to the kids once again and they were ramped up. This lesson was a real test of my classroom management ability. I had to raise my voice a few different times to get the attention on the class but it was Friday so it was understandable. We worked on improv again in drama and the students seemed to be getting stronger and stronger. Hopefully, by the end of next week the students will have a good grab on drama! It is crazy to think that we only have one week left in our pre-internship. Where does the time go? I hope to learn a lot more in our last week that will help me become a better teacher and prepare myself more for my internship. All in all, this week was great and I can not wait to see what next week brings!

 

            

Week One Experience

Posted: March 23, 2014 in Reflections

I can now see why teachers say make sure you have time for school and time for yourself. After experiencing  my first full week in the classroom I am exhausted! It has been hard for me to find anytime for myself when I have been juggling teaching and hockey. We are in the middle of our playoff run so we have been on the ice almost every night the last couple of weeks. I spent most of my free time thinking of ideas and trying new things in my lesson plans. So far, my lessons have been pretty successful but I will get more into that later! I now find myself thinking of great ideas for lessons at the most random times. I will be driving to hockey and an idea will hit me or I will be in conversation with someone and things will clue in. I feel like I am starting to feel like a real teacher!

Monday came so quickly after all this time talking about our three week block it was finally here. The alarm went off and I was ready to go. My first experience of my three week block was teacher Phys. Ed. I was glad that it was a subject that I was more comfortable with to get back in with the swing of things! The students seemed very happy to see us and I can not say anything but good things about the staff at St. Joan of Arc. They are very friendly and make all the pre-interns feel right at home. We started our unit in badminton and I feel that it is going to be a successful unit. The class really seems to be listening to the tips and tricks that I have been sharing with them. By the end of the day I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open!

Tuesday was one of my most nervous days of the week. I was nervous because I had to teach drama. I am not the most knowledgeable in this subject so I was a little bit nervous teaching it. I was so glad that it was first thing in the morning so I did not have to sit around all day thinking about if the students would be engaged with my lesson or not. I decided that since it was the first class of the day I better get the students engaged off the back then I can come back to the theory aspect of the lesson. The students loved this idea and were totally engaged the whole lesson! I feel that this intro to drama lesson could not of gone more smoothly then it did!

Wednesday was the kick off to my health unit and my birthday! . I had a mini unit planned and after talking with my co-op we decided that to take on a different idea in the unit. So I was up late Tuesday night designing the new plan. But, I am glad that I did because my new unit is going to be very cool!. I am making the students develop a product around food. Could be anything and I am getting them to look at the propaganda behind it. They will have to come up with an idea to sell this product to the dragons den that will be set up on our last health lesson. I think the students are excited for this new challenge.

Thursday came around and when I woke up I felt that it should be a Friday. I was up late the night before because of hockey and my body was just tired. But, once I arrived at the school I seemed to have a burst of energy. Today was my second build of Phys.ed lesson. The students worked on serving. I was planning on just working on skills all class but the students seem like they were getting a little bit bored and goofy so I decide to change up my lesson and let the kids rally then eventually play a game of kings court. I felt that this change was a good idea and it keep the kids engaged and focused.

Friday finally rolled around and it was weird having to wake up early on a Friday. I am so used to having only four day weeks. Today, was the second lesson in drama. It was the last class on a Friday so I knew the students might start to get a little off task and goofy before the lesson even started. But, there was only a few times in the lesson where I had to really raise my voice to get their attention. When the students were acting out my main activity for the day I started to notice the students getting a little bit goofy. Once I realized that they were not on task I had them go back to their desks to start a class discussion. This kind of made my lesson short so I was glad that I over planned my lesson and started a new activity with the students!

All in all, this week flew by. I am learning so much from my co-op teachers and my students. One thing that I feel I need to work on is my classroom management. I need to make sure I have the full attention of my students before I start to speak. Also, I am glad that Mr.Leonard is doing a social unit with the students. This way I can see how he is approaching it and having conversations with him helps me get a better grip on the topic I feel that I am learning a lot and I know that in the next two weeks I feel continue to grow and grow at a rapid pace!

My Goodbye Letter to Hockey

Posted: March 6, 2014 in Reflections

My Life is Hockey

I never thought the time would come.

On Sunday, I took off my jersey and untied my skates for the last time. Sure, there will be beer leagues and drop-ins, but it will never be the same. 

Throughout the last 20 years of my life, I dedicated my life to hockey. Some of my first memories growing up are roller blading around my garage at my old house in Traverse City, Michigan, making up situations in my head. We all did it. It’s the championship game in overtime, and the puck is on your stick.

I remember sitting on my Dad’s lap and watching Pittsburgh Penguins games with him. He would occasionally have a rum and Pepsi with him in a big glass, and when he’d jokingly offer me a sip, I always forgot there was booze in it and would take a drink anyway, only to spit it out…

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Chapter 24

Posted: February 23, 2014 in Reflections

After everyone finally came back from the fire alarm we got to talk about chapter 24 concerning law. Alyssa used a YouTube video as her hook. It was surrounding politics. I thought that it was very interesting hook. We then carried on our discussion about law.  When you think of law you think of the usual going to jail or the term breaking the law. But, in the classroom or even in real life laws are everywhere. Laws are in the hallway, classroom, playground etc. I feel that in the classroom or school you must establish a set of laws for the students to follow and as an educator you must follow these laws. I liked that the textbook had different types of law. I feel that you could adopt all these types in one way or another in the classroom. We also talked about the idea of setting up a trial in the classroom. They had steps on what to do as well as how to set up the classroom. We had quite the discussion on how we would do this and if we would exactly follow what the textbook had told use to do. I personally would use some of the ideas but adapt a lot of what they told us to do. But, I do feel that we had a pretty good discussion about this chapter today. 

Chapter 23

Posted: February 23, 2014 in Reflections

Today was a different day. During our chapter 23 discussion the building had the fire alarm go off which caused the discussion to be broken up. Hilary led the discussion today and had an interesting hook. She showed us two newspaper articles. One was  a good example of teaching for hope while, the other was not. I liked how she used a good example and a bad example when trying to tell us about teaching for hope. We as a group then got in a discussion about making sure students know the reality of the bad stuff that the world has to offer but making sure that there are things that the students are able to conquer and do something about. We also mentioned that teaching about reality could get students anxious in the class. You must be able to notice that this can happened and be able to teach accordingly. All in all chapter 23 was very interesting to discuss.