Friday Two Cents: It Takes A Village


‘What has changed is that people have stopped working together.’ Michael Bloomberg

‘Whatever life throws at us, our individual responses will be all the stronger for working together and sharing the load.’ Queen Elizabeth II

For the past month I have been taking additional qualifications in an online course for kindergarten.  The course was very informative and during my final independent project I made an important realization.  I be honest I had already come to this understanding serval years ago, yet I have never seen it inside government educational documents.  It has to deal with the education team within the kindergarten program.  

With schools in Ontario and most of North America reopening due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this insight could be invaluable to parents, educators/teachers and administrators.

I may have a unique perspective as I worked as both an early childhood educator (ECE) and teacher in the kindergarten program within a school board. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of both.  

I have felt the sting of being discriminated as an ECE and a as teacher. Yet when I worked as an ECE in a classroom I was treated as a support staff and told to do whatever the teacher told me to do. This continued in many classrooms with many teachers and parents.

In many government documents they refer to the the two people in the kindergarten program as ”educators”.  Both the teacher and ECE are equal in the learning process of the students.  Even though the education policy says that the teacher and ECE are seen as equals, many do not put this into practice. 

Once when I received my teaching licence I continued to work as an ECE while I applied for a teaching position. The treatment continued until the teachers found out that I was a licensed teacher.  I was seen as a second teacher in the room, asked for observation notes, documentation and/or to plan lessons.  

In my discussions with other teachers, whenever I mention the reference of educators towards the two people in kindergarten, they say they do not like it.  They prefer the title of teacher.  When I became a teacher I was told and I had to, give up the ECE title and go with Primary/Junior Teacher.   For some reason the “teacher” title is what people (teachers, administrations and parents) wanted.  I always thought that this was a bit petty.  

When I became a licensed teacher I made sure I would not see the ECEs as lesser, as many people I have witnessed have done.  The education of the students is done by both educators in the classroom.  A fact that many forget.  

Perhaps it has to do with human nature and how we measure people.  Do we measure them by their status in a society or by their actions?  All too often I have seen people measure others because they see them as inferior to themselves and they devalue them.

During this pandemic we as a society have learned that nature does not discriminate.  Anyone can get the Covid-19 virus.  When schools are reopened in September, we as educators (Administers, ECEs, teachers) and parents need to work together as a team for the betterment of the students.  

I learned a lot of different things during his course and how to implement them.  Yet I think the biggest realization is that educating students is not done in a bubble.  We as educators must look to the team (teacher & ECE), parents, all of the other staff in the school and the community at large to help “safely” educate the children.  An African proverb says it all. “It takes a village to raise a child.” 

   I would add; “… and keep everyone safe.”

Two Great Educators or One Great Education Team

Friday Two Cents: Time for a Societal Reflection


This week I received an email saying that as an occasional teacher I can volunteer to work at  centres for children who may need help.  I would be getting paid for the work but after a few moments of thinking about going in to help, I refused.  You are probably saying I am lazy and I would rather stay home and receive government assistance than work.  But I have two very compelling arguments for saying no at this time.  The first is that I live with my senior parents and I am the one going out for them and making sure they are kept safe during this difficult time.  The other is I do not trust the system to support me or my family if I got sick from the Covid-19 virus for looking after the children of front line workers.  Why do you ask, well, let me spell it out for you.  

You see, I have been seeing a lot of news stories about how the front line workers are coping with the pandemic.  Stories about doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, truck drivers and the list goes on.  They all deserve praise for the tremendous jobs they are doing. The media seems to be fixated on these areas of the pandemic yet in all of these stories, not one was about the area of the workforce where people put their lives on the line every day looking after other peoples’ children.  They are also front line workers and yet no one cares about them.  I am talking about the early childhood educators (ECE) and teachers who work in the childcare centres where the other front line workers drop off their children. 

ECEs are dismissed and undervalued by many people in many fields and sometimes in the very education system itself.  They are expected to preform miracles while looking after other peoples’ children, all the while they are under paid and dare I say abused by many people in and out of the system.  Here is a recent example; in Toronto a childcare centre who took care of front line worker children was closed down.  Several staff members and children contracted Covid-19.  This week they are reopening after 14 days yet during that time not once did they inquire about the health of the staff.  The media and parents’ biggest concern was that where would the other children find care.  No-one, not the different level of governments, media or parents expressed concern for the staff, the ECEs/teachers.  Though knowing something about the ECE field I should not be surprised.  

Before I became a teacher I was an ECE for many years and I worked in several centres.  I felt undervalued be the parents, government and other teachers in the education system.  Yet I am not alone with these feelings.  Every ECE I talked to expressed the same sentiment.  If you do not believe me I will recount a story about what happened to a fellow ECE not one year ago.  

This ECE was supervising a group of students tobogganing when another student rammed her with the sled and she fell over and received a concussion.  She had to be off for a a while but during that time the centre gave her no lose of salary compensation, they blamed her for being off and tried to rush her back early.  In the end she had to return before she was fully  recovered simply to make ends meet.  Not once did the centre, government or parents help, all they cared about was who were they going to replace her with.  She was an expendable person.  As were those ECEs in this current childcare centre in Toronto.  

 A year ago and today, these childcare workers, are forgotten and undervalued.  No one cares about them, all people care about is their own self interests.  Now you know why I will not go in.  I would be putting my parents lives at risk because others want me to look after their children, their self interest.  I am my parents care giver and if I get sick, no one will help me or care about what happens to me or my parents.

Many things have happened recently because of the pandemic, most importantly the way we treat others.  The deplorable why we treat seniors in long term care homes and the underpaid workers they employ.  Well, the childcare field is no different.  There are regulations and government oversight but still the ECEs are underpaid and undervalued.  I for one have been reflecting on my life and the different aspects within it.  I am making changes hopefully for the better.  I think it is time for society to take a long hard look at how we treat people who look after our family members.  From elderly parents to our children. 

Remember people, these are YOUR flesh and blood and you are asking other people to look after them.  Yet you are willing to nickel and dime their care.  What does that say about us as a society. What does that say about you?   

Friday Two Cents: I Kept The Faith


‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ 2 Timothy 4:7

Today something happened that hasn’t in over two decades.  The public elementary, high school, catholic and French teachers in Ontario went out on a one day strike to protest the draconian cuts to public education.  At issue are class room sizes, leaving the world class kindergarten program alone and addressing violence in the classroom.   Today I participated in the day of action like so many others, picketing around the Ontario legislator.  The day was great, the feelings of camaraderie was spectacular and the reaction from the public supporting us was warm and welcoming.  Yet my feelings of apprehension was ever present once again.  

As I stated in my previous post I have had this sense of foreboding.  My past feelings / trauma have been coming out once again.  The sense of betrayal came back to me yesterday and today before I headed down to the strike location.  I even entertained the notion of not going.  

However I was very fortunate to be with people who believe what I believe and are willing to stand with me for those beliefs.  I cannot truly express in words how I felt when my colleagues contacted me to make arrangements to meet and go down together.  It felt like a tremendous weight was made lighter when I finally met up with them.  

There was no question or doubt in their faces that what we are doing was not the right thing.  Then when I finally saw all the other teachers from the other schools and boards, the weight upon my shoulders seemed to magically disappear.  

My faith in the cause has always been there, but my faith / trust in people has constantly been in doubt. I have seen the ugly side of humanity and felt its sting on more than one occasion. Yet seeing everyone and talking to my colleagues renewed my faith in people.  

My doubts and guardedness has not gone and in truth I do not expect these feeling I have to magically disappear simply because of a good day.  But what I felt today, appears that I am moving in the right direction.  It would seem and that I will not have to help write the future alone.  

Friday Two Cents: I Fought The Good Fight


‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ 2 Timothy 4:7

This week the teachers went out on one day strikes to show their support for contract negotiations with the government of Ontario.   At stake are class room sizes, leaving the world class kindergarten program alone and addressing violence in the classroom.  These issues are important and I too have joined the picket lines to show my support.  Being an occasional teacher I do not have to go to a specific location, I can go to a school I know or a school where I live to join the lines.  I have chosen to join the lines at a school where I go regularly and for the most part the feelings I get there are solidarity and every one is in unison on how we feel about supporting the students.  

Yet for some reason I have this feeling of foreboding, that tells me to watch my back.  A feeling that I had felt before, along time ago.  I did not know why I had these feelings. So I sat down and reflected on when and where I felt like this before.  Then when I realized when and where, the feelings of melancholy and anger came flooding over me.

Before I became an elementary teacher I was an early childhood educator (ECE).  Many years ago I was on the executive board of a union for ECEs when the Ontario government attacked education and childcare.  I remember protesting and picketing back then too and I was a vehement supporter of ECE rights and the union to protect those rights.  I helped organize and made sure people where informed about the issues.  I remember people rallying around the issues and me.  

In the end we won and childcare was saved but little did I know the seeds of betrayal was sown.  People who I thought where my friends and colleagues sold me out. People I fought to protect refused to stand with me.  They turned to their own needs and set me adrift not caring for the collective good.  From that moment on I lost trust in people.  

I began looking to my own needs instead of the collective good.  Eventually I left the ECE field with a trail of blood coming from all the stabs in my back.  I began looking to other careers away from the mistrust I had suffered from the people associated with ECEs.  

Yet the call to teach and help students was too great and I eventually returned to the ECE field, a little more cautious this time.  I found great people but the trust was always at arms length.  In time I became an elementary teacher and I love working with the students and the other teachers.  But that experience is always with me in the back of my head.  Reminding me not to trust too much.  

When I reflected on my feelings, that moment in my life came into full view.  In someways its not unlike post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The trauma of those years and situations are with me and working those picket lines brought up images and feelings I thought where long gone.  

But what am I to do about it.  Long ago I stood up for what I believed in and others stood with me but only if it suited their needs.  In the end I was burnt for what I believed in, but the question is would I have stood up knowing what I know now.  The answer is a resounding yes.  Today, I am standing for something I believe in again and the fear of betrayal remains in the back of my head.  Yet this time I see more people standing with me.  More people supporting me, more hands helping me stay the course.  For our cause is right and just. 

In the past I fought the good fight, I finished the race and I kept the faith.  The path for just and fair treatment is never easy.   However the reason behind it is.   No matter what happens I need to remember this.  Then all the doubt and negative feels can be pushed aside leaving only positive feelings of fellowship with my colleagues.   I cannot change the past but I can help write the future.  I cannot do it alone, hopefully I won’t be.  

Friday Two Cents: Oh The Places I’ve Seen


In Canada it is the final week of classes in the elementary school system.  This month also marks the 2nd anniversary that I started as an occasional teacher in a school board.  Yes I have been working with students for several years but those years were when I was an early childhood educator (ECE).  I have worked in many different classrooms as an ECE and I learned a great deal.  Yet nothing has been a greater learning experience than working as a certified teacher in these classrooms.  

Since the beginning I have kept track of how many different schools and classrooms I have been in.  Partly because it helps me with Additional Qualification course requirements, but also when someone asked me how many different classrooms I have been in I had to stop and think because I was not sure.  Amazingly, in the two years I have been in 80 different classrooms.  

I started in 2017 and since then, I have been at about 25 different schools and 80 different classes.  Over this time I have been in some classes that had the same teacher, but from year to year they had different students.  The students’ personality differences change the dynamics in a classroom wherever I have worked in with a similar teacher; therefore I see the class as a different classroom.  In some cases I have been in 14 – 18 different classrooms at the same school. I even have been in several French immersion classes during this time period. 

Yet reflecting back on the past two years, I can say with one thing for certain.  Kids are kids no matter where you go.  They are all very curious; they love to ask questions on topics of their interest and personal questions about your life. They all enjoyed my drawings and creative work with them and of course they loved George and my other puppets. Whenever I go back to a school or a classroom they always ask about George.  

However even though I have been in all these different classrooms it sometimes feel like a hollow victory.  I look at this number and all the experience I have accumulated and yet I am still looking for a permanent position, even an LTO (long term occasional) as a teacher of my own classroom. On top of it all there are times I feel that there are sometimes-unrealistic expectations on me from everyone around me.  Students, parents, teachers and others all want you to be Superman to fix everything and be whatever they want me to be instead of being myself.  

In the last two months I have worked in 20 different classrooms in 30 days.  Mind you I am grateful for the opportunity and I do enjoy being with the students but it does take a toll on you.   There are days when I feel like I am making progress and advancing in my career.  Then there are days when the harsh reality of my situation sets in and you are only as good as your last job.  The saying … “It’s not what you have done for me that counts but what you have done for me lately”, comes to mind.  On several occasions I have felt that no matter how good I do my job, I feel unappreciated.  That for all my helping and hard work, to make a class and a school that much more enjoyable for the students, it falls to the side like leaves falling in the autumn breeze.  I feel like no one notices … no one cares. 

However those feelings pass as I try to be positive and think of the most important aspect of my journey into the different classrooms.  My observation and learning from the different teachers and their teaching styles.  I have observed and conducted many lesson plans they have left me to do and what is great is that I have been asked to conduct my own lessons in these classrooms. Lesson plans for math; language, art, technology and science just to name a few.  I even helped out a school with their science project on the life cycle of the butterfly.  I don’t have my own classroom but it feels good to do some lesson plans to keep my teaching juices flowing.  

Below I have created a logo of a blue silhouette male teacher holding the hands of two students.  Each of these silhouettes’ represents a different classroom I have worked in.  On the top left side I placed the grade or subject I was teaching and on the right side the year I worked in that classroom. The font is unique to the school year; Helvetica was used for 2018-19.  The classes that I worked in French immersion are represented with a white fleur-de-li because the majority of the classes I work in are English.  Directly beneath the logo you can see a tally chart of all the classes I have been in.  The 25th is shaded in silver and the 50th is in gold.  

Saying I have been in 80 different classrooms is pretty impressive.  However, I have to remember to think of the positive side of my journey and remember those famous words written by Dr. Seuss. 

“Oh, the places you’ll go!
There is fun to be done!

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
 
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
 
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So … get on your way!”  
Dr. Seuss

I’ve already moved a few mountains, what’s a few more.   

Friday Two Cents: The Measure Of A Person


Upon returning from the spring break I had the opportunity to work in a few kindergarten classrooms where I know the early childhood educator (ECE).  I started my journey in the education field as an ECE and working with some whom I have known for some years. Yet something this week came to mind as I was working with an exceptional ECE.  

You see, I have the unique perspective of working as an ECE and as a teacher in a kindergarten class.  I have worked both sides and I have seen the good, bad and ugly of both professions. In many kindergarten rooms there are two adults educating the students, a teacher and an ECE.  I can best describe this partnership in this way.  A teacher is like the officer or captain of the unit/classroom they oversee the planning in room and do a lot of the paperwork involved with the job.  They know the rules and regulations and curriculum involved in making the ship run smoothly.  The ECE’s are the NCO’s (non-commissioned officers/sergeants), they oversee the smaller everyday running of things.  They also are the backbone of the unit making sure that the unit runs smoothly according to the captain’s (teacher’s) plan.  Yet they also have a level of experience/knowledge that makes them invaluable to the officers and unit.  They are almost like the glue that keeps things together. 

As in any unit, when both the officers and sergeants are working together, the unit functions like a well-oiled machine.  The same can be said in a kindergarten classroom with the teacher and ECE.  I had the opportunity to work with an ECE who shows her passion for teaching.  Yet in many circles she is looked down upon because she is an ECE.  She is not a teacher with all the degrees and additional qualifications.  Many teachers would only see a support person not an equal. But she works and programs in the classroom as well or better than some teachers I have worked with.  Why is it that we cannot see the wonderful educator she is? Is it simply because she does not have the qualifications?  Is it truly a matter of position, of rank or privilege that holds people back in recognizing her contributions? 

I know that there are some ECEs that are not as passionate as the ECE that I worked with, as I would imagine in any profession, but I think that they are in the minority. I think and was told that I preformed as well as this ECE.  I took my experience as an ECE and brought it forward into my teaching career.  There are many ECEs working that would exemplify their teaching skills in their work with the students and they are not teachers.  So why we cannot acknowledge them as being great educators in the system as well as teachers?  

I have felt the sting of discrimination of being an ECE and a teacher. When I worked as an ECE in a classroom I was treated as a support staff and told to do whatever the teacher told me to do. Yet once I received my teaching licence and I was still working as an ECE, until I got onto the supply-teaching list, teachers would treat me different than before.  I was seen as a second teacher in the room, asked for observation notes; or to plan lessons.  Even though the education policy says that the teacher and ECE are seen as equals, many do not put this into practice.   

Perhaps it has to do with human nature and how we measure people.  Do we measure them by their actions or by they status in a society?  All too often I have seen people measure others because they see them as inferior to themselves and they devalue them.  Perhaps we as a society need to treat others, as we would like to be treated. J.K. Rowling once said …

‘If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.’ J. K. Rowling

For if a person can treat someone as an equal, even when society sees them as inferior; then maybe we can finally see no difference when it comes to valuing people for whom they truly are. 

Friday Two Cents: Oh The Places I’ve Been


twoCentsOldNew

 

This past week I reached a milestone that I though I never would reach. I worked in my 50th classroom as a supply early childhood educator (ECE) at the school board. I started in 2013 and since then, I have been in about 22 different schools and 50 different kindergarten classes. Over this time I have been in some classes that had the same teacher, but from year to year they had different students. The student’s personality differences change the dynamics in a classroom wherever I have worked with a similar teacher, therefore I see the class as a different classroom. In some cases I have been in 5 different kindergarten classrooms at the same school. I even have been in several French immersion classes during this time period.

I have been keeping a count of the number of classrooms I have been in since someone asked me how many different classrooms I have been in, back in February. One surprising thing is that this past school year I have been in 25 different classrooms alone. Amazing, the first two years I was in 25 different classrooms but in this past one year I have equalled it. Mind you I did go to teacher’s college one of those years so that would make a difference in the number of classrooms I would be in.
Yet reflecting back on the past year and the 25 classrooms, I can say with one thing for certain. Kids are kids no matter where you go. They are all very curious; they love to ask questions on topics of their interest and personal questions on your life. They all enjoyed my drawings and creative work with them and of course they loved George and my other puppets. Whenever I go back to a school or a classroom they always ask about George.
But even though I have been in all these different classrooms it sometimes feel like a hollow victory. I look at this number and all the experience I have accumulated; yet I still am looking for a permanent position as a teacher of my own classroom. There are days when I feel like I am making progress and advancing in my career. Then there are days when the harsh reality of my situation sets in and you are only as good as your last job. The saying “It’s not what you have done for me that counts but what you have done for me lately”, comes to mind. On several occasions I have felt that no matter how good I do my job, I feel unappreciated. That for all my helping and hard work, to make a class and school that much more enjoyable for the students, it falls to the side like leaves falling in the autumn breeze. It feels like no one notices, no one cares.
However those feelings pass as I try to be positive and think of the most important aspect of my journey into the different classrooms. My observation and learning from the different teachers and their teaching styles. I have observed many lesson plans and what is great is that I have been asked to conduct my own lessons in these classrooms. Lesson plans for math, language, art, technology and science to name a few. I even helped out a school with their science project on the life cycle of the butterfly. I don’t have my own classroom but it feels good to do some lesson plans to keep my teaching juices flowing.
Below I have created a logo of a blue silhouette male teacher holding the hands of two students. Each of these silhouettes’ represents a different kindergarten class I worked in. I placed a number on the top right side that represents the year I was in that classroom. The classes that were French immersion are represented with a white fleur-de-li because the majority of the classes are English. Directly beneath the logo you can see a tally chart of all the classes I have been in. The 25th is shaded in silver and the 50th is in gold.

ECE_Supply_legend

Saying I have been in 50 different classrooms is pretty impressive. I have to remember to think of the positive side of my journey and remember those famous words written by Dr. Seuss.

“Oh, the places you’ll go!

There is fun to be done!

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

 

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

 

You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!” Dr. Seuss

 

I’ve already moved a few mountains, what’s few a more.

ECE_class_count04

Friday Two Cents: 43 Classes And Counting


 

twoCentsOldNew

This past week has been filled with many eye-opening experiences. It started like any other with me going into another new kindergarten class as a supply early childhood educator (ECE). It was a great experience as I was able to observe another teacher’s teaching style and class routine. I do this in every class I go in as a supply, a student in teacher’s college and in other classes I have been in since I decided to put all my energy into becoming a teacher. Suffocate to say I have observed many classes and I have learned a lot over the years.

But then this week I was given the opportunity to supply in a kindergarten class in the very school I went to as a child. As a mater of fact I worked in the very kindergarten class I was in when I started as a child. It was obviously different then when I was in the class as a student but many things were familiar. The chairs, tables and I remember playing with the blocks in the block centre. Yet the first thing that came to mind when I entered the class was that everything seemed smaller. Even the cubby area where the students place their jackets was the same as I remember it but it seemed smaller. I guess it makes sense since I haven’t been in that class since I was 4 or 5 years old.
Being at that school also helped me with a couple of other things. My time in that school was very difficult because I was bullied from an early age and not until I fought back and stood up to the bullies did anything ever happen. I left and had a much better time in my new school yet I always had bad memories about that school. My stint as a supply in that class, allowed me to exorcise old demons from my past and allow me to move on with happier memories.
The other issue arose when someone asked about how many classes I have been in as a supply ECE. I thought about it and thought it was at least 2-dozen classes but I was not sure. I then made it a point to find out exactly how many different kindergarten classes I have supplied in. When I did the numbers the results shocked me.
I started in 2013 and since then, I have been in 21 different schools and 43 different kindergarten classes. Some of the classes had the same teacher but from year to year they had different students. The student’s personality differences changed the dynamics of those classrooms where I have worked in with that teacher, therefore I see them as different classrooms. In some schools I have been in up to 4 different kindergarten classes in that school. I even have been in several French immersion classes during this time period.
To say that I was surprised at the sheer amount of classes would be putting it mildly. I decided to document this achievement with a tally chart. Below I have created a logo of a blue silhouette male teacher holding the hands of two students. Each of these silhouettes’ represents a different kindergarten class I worked in. I placed a number on the top right side that represents the year I was in that classroom. The classes that were French immersion are represented with a white fleur-de-li because the majority of the classes are English. Directly beneath this post you can see a tally chart of all the classes I have been in.   Saying 43 is pretty substantial but seeing it visually is another.
ECE_Supply_legend
For me this is a testament to my learning and hopes of one day putting all this knowledge I have gathered to good use as a teacher. I do not know what the future will bring but I will be posting this tally chart as a permanent fixture on my blog as a reminder. I will be updating it if I go into new classrooms. But this chart is not meant to show the number of classes I was in, but as a reminder of the difficult road to one day reaching my goal of becoming a permanent teacher. Hopefully I will not have to add more to see that goal fulfilled.    

 

ECE_class_count

Friday Two Cents: Building A Community In The First Week Of Kindergarten


twoCentsOldNew

  This week I had the pleasure to work in a kindergarten program from the first day of school. This is not the first time I was in a classroom on the first day of school but it is the first time as a certified teacher. The only catch is that I am the supply Early Childhood Educator (ECE) in the class. Don’t get me wrong I am very grateful for working in a class with a great bunch of students and a great teacher, it’s just I would love to be the permanent teacher of my own class. But I’m not here to whine about that.

The reality of this week is that I am within a kindergarten class that has 32 students ranging from 3 to 4 years of age. Many of the little ones have never been in a school or an organized setting like a daycare or class before. To say that it was difficult would be understating the facts. Yet I will be the first person to say that I enjoyed this week very much. Yes there were a few rough patches trying to get to know the students and helping them to get to know the routines and rules of the classroom, but it was a good week.

Having fun in Kindergarten

I know this because on Friday something happened in the class with the students that just made the teacher and I just smile. The students are so young many parents were hoping to have a nap or rest time during the day because the students were going home very tired. Therefore we decided to have a rest period where the students just laid down on the carpet listening to some music. They did a great job lying down without any silliness or hurting one another. I told them all this and because they did a great job I would play a song they all probably knew. It was the song ‘Let it Go’ from the Disney movie Frozen.

Exactly when they heard the song, smiles and their eyes lite up. Then they all started singing the song and some did some of the hand gestures that the character from the movie did. It was a marvel to witness. The teacher and I both just smiled. That afternoon the students were great with everyone engaged in their learning centres. Even on a personal note, a few students came up to me and said, “I like you Mr. Paul.”

The mood in the class was changing. They appeared to be getting closer, becoming a community. Amazing how a song can help bring people together, even students as young as 3 years old.

Building community in Kindergarten

Friday Two Cents: Are You A Pessimist Or An Optimist


twoCentsOldNew

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

 

To say that this week was eventful would be understating the truth.

It began with me going with the students of my practicum to the Science Centre in Toronto. There we explored and learned about different structures and how they are constructed. Yet the day after that trip, we at the university received news that specific people, TAs and contract professors are on strike. We all wondered what would happen. Would we be able to go to practicum because we are not at the university but in schools. It turned out that the teacher federation would be supporting the strike and instructed the teachers in the schools not to mentor us teacher candidates (TC). Therefore practicum was canceled until further notice. Additionally so were all our classes.

We were in the lurch and we could not even go to the school and say goodbye to the students. Yet the bigger problems are how would this effect our graduation, assignments for our classes and after our looking for a job? We all have roughly the required number of days to be able to graduate as teachers, it is all about the courses but who knows what is happening. Also, what are we to do in the mean time?

Well many of my fellow TCs and I just began working on the assignments to get them ready for when the strike would be over. But what else can I do? Well I took a dark cloud and used it as an opportunity. I am a supply Early Childhood Educator (ECE) for the school board so I started taking jobs so I can work with students again. I went to two different kindergarten classrooms and I can say that I miss kindergarten. I really enjoy teaching these little people. Yes I do not know them very well but both class where so open and inviting. I was there in one class for only 3 hours and the students gave me a hug before they left with their parents for the day. I had forgotten and missed how warm-hearted kindergarten children can be.

Sunset in space

Then I also got the opportunity to go into another class as a specialist.  A teacher had invited me to come into her kindergarten class as an expert on “Space“.  The students had been exploring the subject and had questions on it.  Some where, “Is there a planet inside the sun?” Others where very thought out like, “How does the sun work?” or “Why does the sun get colder in the winter?”  Well I answered their questions with the use of and App I have on my iPad which had great graphics and 3D models of the planets and the solar system.  I was also invited to return to the class the following week to demonstrate how far the planets are from the sun (another question).  There questions where so amazing and they were very attentive.  Many said thank you and hugged me before I left.  

Winston Churchill

Amazing that I had these great opportunities as a result of the university strike.  Well I guess the quote form Winston Churchill was right; “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Which one are you?

 

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