Monday, November 08, 2010

Back to Class

Well ladies and gentlemen,

Tomorrow is my first day back at the University after three glorious weeks of teaching. I loved every minute of teaching (even the difficult students) and wish I could just stay in the classroom. Don't get me wrong, I am quite excited to see many of my classmates and hear how their practicums went. What I am not looking forward to is the obscene amounts of work that the professors will try and pile up in the last weeks before Christmas break.

Let me just quickly give you last semester's scenario. When we all got back from practicum, we got an email from the chair of the program saying that they are shortening our semester by one week. What the email did not say is that they are still going to expect us to do as much work as we would have done if we had that extra week. I cannot speak for my colleagues, but I sure felt the crunch near the end. What especially made the last few weeks tough was all the extra little assignments that were added to the list of all the major assignments we were already given. Overall, I felt worn out at the end of the semester.

As I said previously, I am quite excited to see my classmates again and hear how their practicums went, but I'm not looking forward to the work load. Today I picked up my final report from my cooperating teacher and had awesome reviews. My cooperating teacher made me feel like I'm a real teacher and I don't really want to go back to being a student again. Oh well, only 8 more weeks of classes left, then a 10 week teaching practicum and I'll be a real teacher (pending BCCT certification)! I'll just have to take these remaining weeks with a grain of salt and continue to jump through the hoops! I can see the light!



Friday, November 05, 2010

Week Three Over

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Well, the third and final week of my practicum has come to an end and I really DO NOT want to go back to the university. I had such a blast with my students (even the difficult ones). On my way out of the school today I had several students slap me high-fives asking me if I could do my long practicum there as well. Such an awesome feeling. I cannot think of another job that I would want to to for the rest of my life more than teaching. I think PGSS is the place I want to be when I graduate!

I could not have asked for better reviews from my cooperating teacher and faculty advisor. They were really impressed with my profession growth and performance. My cooperating teacher really helped me overcome some of the fears that I had as a teacher. For one thing, he taught me to take chances and to try new things. Not being afraid to look foolish in front of the kids really helped me connect with them. I could not have asked for better students. I can only hope to be blessed with another awesome teacher and students for my long 10-week practicum.

That is all for now,


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Second Week Reflections

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

I thought I would share with you a few reflections from my second week of teaching. I love teaching... that is all

Actually there's much more. My whole week was awesome! Monday and Tuesday were good lessons, there was a test on Wednesday and I decided to try something new for Thursday and Friday, which I will briefly explain to you.

Far to often teachers get stuck in the mindset that the only way to teach is to by lecturing and giving out worksheets, especially in the Social Studies classes. Sadly, I got stuck/comfortable in that routine. My block A grade 9 students started complaining that there were just far too many notes, so something had to change. I decided I would teach the kids how to take their own note. How did I do this? Let me tell you how. I chose volunteers from the class to read from the section of the textbook we were studying. When we finished I told them to flip back to the beginning and I taught them a neat way to take notes. On Friday I did a similar thing and had the kids get into groups and summarize the section of the text and write it on poster paper. They then circulated around the room and copied down the notes their classmates took. The kids loved it, and more importantly, they actually learned something from it!

Block D on Friday surprised me. It was the Friday before Halloween, last block of the day and I expected nothing to get accomplished - things did get done. I did some brief notes on the Causes of World War II, then handed out a graphic organizer and had the kids chart out what were the 6 main causes and the effects of them. In other words - how did each of the causes lead to war. The kids loved it and came up with insightful questions. On top of that, my cooperating teacher was observing me in that class and had nothing but positive things to say... he said it was a flawless lesson and great way to end Friday!

I love teaching plain and simple! That is all for now,


Saturday, October 23, 2010

First week down!

Well ladies and gentlemen,

I survived my first week of practicum! The best part is, I still want to be a teacher! My faculty advisor even said that one of my lessons is one that kids will remember for a long time! The kind of lesson that makes kids go "Hey, remember when we had that student teacher and he showed us an example of a meal from the Great Depression?" Overall, it was an awesome week even with my big goof at the beginning of the week.

Want to know what happened? Well ok, I'll tell you. Basically, I forgot to prep for an entire class. I go spoiled at College Heights Secondary and got to teach TWO Social Studies 11 classes. So I really only planned for one class... well, that was kind of what I was doing this practicum... then realized I don't teach two Socials 11 classes... I have a grade 9 and 11 class! It's ok though, I fixed it in the end and still delivered two excellent lessons. There were other factors as well, but that one was the best.

Overall, I think I have learned more this week than I have in my entire two years in the BEd program! This practical experience is really the most valuable. I'm really learning my strengths and my weaknesses. I'm super excited for next week to come already. I can't wait to start my Industrial Revolution unit, and World War Two unit!

That's all for now!



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pre-Practicum Reflections

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just a thought of the evening. Any suggestions on teaching Stock-market principles to grade 11s? The concept I'm having trouble explaining is buying stocks on margin. How do you explain that at a level that high school kids would actually understand? Any suggestions?

3 more sleeps!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One Week Until Show Time!

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

Well, as the title suggests practicum is just a short week away! Five more sleeps to be exact. I must confess I was not nervous at first, until I realized how close it actually is. It's not that I'm scared, or afraid of the students, in fact, they are both really great groups. In fact, there is nothing I love more than getting up in front of the class and delivering a presentation. I think it is that I'm not as familiar with the material I will be teaching as I would like to be.

The classes I have been assigned to teach are Social Studies 9 and Social Studies 11. In my grade 9 class I will be teaching the Napoleonic Era and the Industrial Revolution. For my grade 11 class I will be teaching The Great Depression and World War Two. The last time I think I ever studied Napoleon and the French Revolution was when I was in grade 9! So, I have lots of background reading to do. I'm a little more comfortable with the grade 11 class since, a) I taught it last year, and b) CNC and UNBC history courses are primarily focused on Canada, so I have a good background knowledge of Canadian History. The only problem with the Great Depression unit is finding engaging activities and teaching in a way the kids will understand.

I have a very supportive cooperating teacher and faculty Advisor, so I shouldn't be so worried. Mr. Hauk and I work well together too, so the kids won't be too shocked when I take over "The Helm of This Starship" (Mr. Hauk used that quote when he told the kids to ask me questions because I'll be teaching them in a few weeks).
Also, Mr. Hauk wants to see my first lesson plan tomorrow so we can make any changes before I get upfront teaching, so once I get that out of the way I should calm down a little bit.

Anyway, I'll let you know how things turn out! Until next time,


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Direction

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

As you may have noticed as of late, my blog has been taking a new direction. I've been more focused on my schooling, rather than my rants and raves about customers and management at Save-On. This could be the result of one of two things, or a combination of both:

1: It could be because we have some awesome managers right now (with the exception of one); my direct supervisor being my all time favourite, so I'm not as irritable at work anymore


2: It could be because I'm so close to the end of my post-secondary education and can actually see myself as a teacher now, rather than a guy working at Save On to pay for school, making me indifferent to anything that happens at work.

Either way, I find it much more soothing (and rewarding) to share my experiences and reflections on teaching and learning, so I think that will be the focus of this blog from here on.

But do not be alarmed! There will still be rants about various hot topics related to education! Whether it be a rant about the Provincial government's "Dedication and response to the needs of Education", or a hot topic discussed in class, I can always find something to throw my hands up in the air and rant about for your reading entertainment.

So, for those of you reading this blog for the first time, enjoy some of my horror stories from work. For those of you already familiar with this blog, I hope you enjoy my thoughts and comments on becoming a teacher. Feel free to leave a thought or comment, and for my teacher friends, feel free to share similar experiences.

Until next time,