Saturday, 22 September 2012

Reflecting on the READ180 Class

So - it's been 3 weeks that I've been teaching GLE (aka READ180): Here's what I'm thinking:

  • I love teaching
  • I really enjoy these kids
  • The more I think I know about the READ180 course, the more I find I need to learn about
  • These kids, though hand-picked (by me) are MONKEYS!
  • Next year, I won't have any repeat students
  • I need another pair of eyes to help them as they don't seem to be able to be 'on task' enough
  • I have to figure out how to make them accountable for their independent reading
  • I know it's in the manuals, but I don't seem to have the time ferret it out to my satisfaction
  • This course/class can be amazing
I'm feeling time-stressed. I have to schedule and attend 20 School Team meetings within the next 2 weeks in order to arrange consents for Social Work or Child & Youth counselling. I have to do 57 more IEP's in order for them to be ready for the teachers to complete. I have to meet with the grade 9 students in order to do these IEP's. I have to train the grade 9's on laptop use and protocols. I have to nag the teachers to scan the work for the kids on laptops because they don't think the kids need this accommodation. Of course, it's the 3rd week of school, so there hasn't been any evaluations - what will they tell me when the kid doesn't achieve a passing mark or a Provincial Standard mark? They'll say the kid didn't a)study; b) try; c) pay attention. They won't take any responsibility for the delivery of the content.

And on it goes....

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Considering this is that "Once in a blue moon" day that my grandma used to reference, I thought it a perfect day to blog. I haven't been too consistent with it, mainly because I feel kind of shy and awkward. I think it just creates evidence that I ramble. BUT, since I want to expand my PLN and other PD opportunities, I think I need to take the leap - jump off the cliff (as in cliff jumping at the lake) because I know there aren't any rocks below. (right?)

This is the end of the pre-start of school week. I had a meltdown on Sunday because I'm stressed and wondering how I will possibly do my job with all the extra workload. What do I do when my 'best' isn't good enough? How do I sleep at night? How do I keep the light-hearted attitude and smile? How do I meet the deadlines imposed by the Ministry, the Board and my Principal? while at the same time, keep my students on track and stoke their love for learning? (Maybe this is an assumption that they even WANT to learn ...) My caseload is the students with LD's, MID's, OCD ODD ADHD ADD and behaviour issues. I have grade 9 students who read at a grade 2-3 level and who can't write very well, but who have to take the regular 30 credits and who want to 'be something'. There are 185 students at my school who have an IEP. The total population is 630 - that makes 28.5% are on an IEP - and there are 2 of us and I have to teach a course. (But I'll save that for another blog post ...)

I consider September more of a "New Year's" resolution time than January, really. And, I resolve to ... be more organized, more creative and have more balance in my life.


Friday, 30 March 2012


So - we put in a TLLP (Teachers Leading and Learning Partnership) proposal to the Ontario Ministry of Education, back in November, 2011. The lead teacher had gotten funding for a somewhat similar project last year, so she has all the necessary language. This is a colossal project - we asked for 5 class sets of iPads, to be used in math classes - transitional math classes. When the committee contacted us in February, they wanted us to clarify the expenditure. We debated - do we stick to the 5 class sets request - kind of a "Go Big or Go Home" attitude? or - do we cut it down and if so, how? After some debate we decided to cut it down to 2 class sets (+++) of iPads. One would go to one of our feeder schools and the other would be at our school. After a month - six weeks of waiting, we found out that we had been successful!!! Leanne (the Lead teacher) and I were/are ecstatic. And scared.... how are we going to proceed? What all do we have to do to implement 60 iPads in 2 classrooms? Yikes!

I'm going to use this blog space to chronicle our journey. I'm not sure how often I will be able to do this or how often I should blog about our experiences. I'm still trying to figure that out. Who could imagine such an adventure at this point in my career? Wooohoooo!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Relationships in the Classroom

This week was a "full moon" week at school. This phenomenon, added to it being the week before March Break, when progress reports and IEP's were due for teachers and tests and assignments due for students, made for a rather stressful environment.
So what about establishing relationships? How important is it? I think it’s probably THE most important aspect of teaching. So, this week when a teacher was having an issue with a student and came to me to ask about him, I told her I’d speak to him. When I did, I discovered that he couldn’t stand the class or the teacher. He couldn’t drop the course; there wasn’t another teacher teaching the course – what to do? He was game for a ‘fireside chat’ between them, with me as ‘hostess’. I have to admit I was shocked when the teacher was not so enthusiastic about such a conversation. I had to ask myself – why? Why didn’t she want to repair the relationship? Why didn’t she want to model grown up behavior – when something or someone bothers you, or you perceive an offense, confront it head on. At least then you know why and can act/react from an informed perspective. Besides the obvious, immediate questions that come to mind, such as: what IS she doing in class? Is her dislike of this student undeniable and overt? I’m asking myself – why doesn’t she see this as important? And she stated that it isn’t important to her. It was very revelatory to me. I think maybe I’m arrogant – every teacher thinks relationships are important, right? There IS no other way to think, right? Clearly, I’m narrow-minded here. So, although she did acquiesce, and DID have the conversation with the student, she didn’t believe it was necessary or important. She felt she was ‘coddling’ him. I was saddened. During this conversation, she told him he was a leader in the class; that he was doing well; that he was a ‘star’ and she counted on him to be an example to others. Although she told me she was  merely ‘acting’ sincere.
Okay so – now I’m wondering if this might make a difference in her professional life. She came to me and told me that the next class, after the convo, the student was busy helping others to do their work, going ‘above and beyond’. HE made the effort, she noticed and attributed it to the talk ….maybe she’ll change her mind for the future? I sure hope so!

First Blog

I have been rolling around the idea of blogging for the past 2 or 3 months. When I was off work for 7 weeks (5 if you consider that the two week Christmas break was in there) with a broken leg, I had to spend my time doing something. So I researched iPads in the classroom - which led me to a kazillion other sites and sounds and bytes and bounds! I've joined PLN's; I've increased my Twitter traffic by about 500% and I've stoked the fires of desiring to get my M.Ed. I barely have time to do RealTime things because I'm online looking for things to do RealTime at school!
So, how am I going to use my blog? I think I'll start by reflecting on my own practice and my days as a teacher. Perhaps as a parent/friend/reader too, but I'm not sure about that - I'll have to see. I certainly don't feel like I want anyone else to read it, at this point. I'm not particularly literary or brilliant, but I do have a lot of experience, good intuition and a passion for teaching, learning and helping others.
I think I'll use this to organize my thoughts and reflections..... hmmmm