Friday Two Cents: A New Year With A New Experience


With the New Year I begin a new adventure.   I have been fortunate to been given the chance to be the teacher in a grade 1 class. It is a tremendous opportunity to teach a full grade one class and to put my years of education and experience into practice. I was lucky to teach in a kindergarten class at the end of last year’s school year and yet now I get another chance to teach many of the same students again in grade 1. I have been with them for the first week and it has been tiring but very enjoyable and enlightening.

The interesting thing is that I worked with a grade five class for about a week and a half before the Christmas break and now I go from a class of 10/11 year olds to one of 6/7 year olds. To say they are very different grades would be stating the obvious but they all have their own rewards. These little people in grade one are so full of wonder and excitement to learn that it has become a bit infectious. They have been eager to learn and I in turn am eager to teach the lessons with these students.
We work on subjects that I enjoy such as art but their enthusiasm for the core subjects like math and literacy is amazing. One literacy activity we did is a “Roll and Read” sight word game. Each student gets to roll the dice and whatever number it lands on they must say the words under that number as quickly as they can. I introduced it on Monday and everyday since they are eager to play the game.

Roll and Read Sight Game

Another activity I introduced is a subitizing activity. Subitizing is the ability to recognize the number of a group of items at a glance and without counting. I used bingo dabbers to make dots on a card and we practice this just before the math lessons. The real nice thing is that I noticed the students practicing on one-another during their indoor recess time.

Subtilizing Card game

It is only the bringing and I have no idea how long I will be in this class, but one thing is for sure, I am going to enjoy this experience with the students. Already I have noticed that they are learning new things but on the other side so am I.  

Friday Two Cents: I Took A Risk

This week I worked everyday in several classrooms and come Thursday I was prepared to take Friday off and but something happened that gave me the strength to take the plunge and work in a new classroom. It all began early in the week when a friend and colleague asked if they could give my contact info to a school that I have not been to. I said sure, the more schools know me the more opportunities I can gain experience working in different classrooms and school environments. They in fact contacted me the day after to ask me to work in a classroom. Unfortunately I was already booked that day at another school but I thanked them and they said they would keep my info for anything in the future.

A couple of days passed and like I said I was thinking of taking the Friday off unless a school I was familiar with needed a supply teacher. Yet by some coincidence I noticed that a supply job was available with this new school that called me earlier in the week. I was feeling a bit run down and I was still recovering from a cold therefore I seriously wouldn’t mind a day off to rest and recover. But a voice inside me said, “Why not try something new.” So I took the position and went to the school.
It was a kindergarten teaching position so I was very familiar with the full day kindergarten program (FDK). I arrived early at the school and met the principal and vice-principal that called me earlier that week. They were friendly as was many of the staff. They were very thankful that I came in and they welcomed me to the school. The students were not sure about a new teacher in the classroom, yet once I started playing with them they started warming up to me. Then when I brought out George, well that’s all it took for them to accept me into their classroom community. At the end of the day they all had smiles on their faces when they said a friendly good-bye when it was time to go home.
Upon reflection, if I hadn’t taken the chance and went to that new school I would not have met those wonderful staff and delightful students. Going to that new school just solidifies my belief and desire to try new things and keep my mind open for new opportunities to learn, grow and experience new things. As Paulo Coelho said …


‘Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.’ Paulo Coelho


I took a risk and it paid off.





Friday Two Cents: Experience It At Least Once


‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’ Albert Einstein


‘Experience is the teacher of all things.’ Julius Caesar


This week I was working as a prep coverage teacher for music and gym and in the process I discovered something, I enjoy doing prep coverage. For those of you who do not know what prep coverage is, it’s the time the home room teacher gets everyday to help them prepare for lessons and other things they need to get done for the class (example: write report cards). Many times these are times that the students get to experience/learn other subjects such as physical education or something from the arts. This particular week I was the music and physical education/health teacher for the school.

When I took the position I knew it was a prep coverage but I did not know what subject matter I would be covering. I thought it would be art or phys. Ed., subjects I am very familiar with. Yet when I arrived they told me it was phys. Ed. and music, I thought “oh boy, music”. Mind you I took music since I was 10 years old and I played in many bands but I have not played in 10 years and teaching it is a lot different from playing it.
So I told myself  ‘you have a good background in music and you can do what the teacher left for the students to do.’ Unfortunately the previous teacher did not level specific instructions and left it up to me to teach the classes. So I had to come up with lessons on the spot for 10 different classes ranging from kindergarten to grade 5. Thank goodness we were covering rhythm and I had some experience teaching students this in the past.
The planning went well and the students appeared to enjoy my lessons and I think that they learned a few things too. Yet what was surprising was that I discovered that I enjoyed being the prep coverage person teaching one to two specific subjects. When I got into teaching I knew that I would be working with students from kindergarten to grade 6 and I would have to teach a variety of subjects. Mind you I did teach visual arts prep for a half day once and when I go into different classrooms I do bring in my visual arts background into other subjects to help teach the students.  But I never had the opportunity to teach a single subject matter to the entire school.
This opportunity has opened my eyes to another possibility in the teaching world, prep coverage. Of course I think I would be more comfortable teaching visual arts or possibly physical education, but this experience has opened my mind to possibly teaching drama or even a core subject like math.
I knew when I took my additional qualification in visual arts, I was motivated to continue along that path and earn my visual arts specialist. Now that I have had a taste of what prep coverage is like I think this is something I would probably like to do. I guess no one knows what we like to do until we get to experience it at least once.    

Friday Two Cents: To Boldly Go


This past week has been a whirlwind of a week to say the least. First off I finally made it onto the Occasional Teaching (OT) roster of a school board. I say finally because after 2 years in university, one year of teacher’s college and 2 years of supplying as an early childhood educator (RECE), I can say that I am working in my chosen career.

First Day as an occasional teacher (OT)

As great as that sounds it is only the beginning. I went in on Monday to the school I usually go to for my first day as a supply teacher. The experience was amazing! I was in a grade 5 class where all of the students basically knew me and I knew about half of them since kindergarten. I then covered a few other classes where I had the same experience.
At the end of the day I received some good news for me. A teacher had gone on sick leave and they asked me if I could cover the class until the end of the school year. I jumped at the chance and the best part  was that it would be in a kindergarten class that I have already worked in as a RECE!!
So the following day I started in the kindergarten class as their teacher until the end of the year.  The experience was a lot different then when I was a RECE. I have been in the several classes as a RECE for several weeks and months at a time, yet being a teacher in a class is totally different. They say the weight of responsibility weighs heavy on those in authority and I can now say from experience, that it does.
Before, I was helping the teacher, something very similar to a “sergeant”. Someone in authority and respected, but subordinate to someone else.   Now as the teacher I am like the officer, the “captain” of the ship. You still have someone to report to, the principal (Admiral), but you chart your own course, steering the ship in a direction towards a destination for learning. The crew (the students) are your responsibility, you must keep them safe and ensure that they benefit for your leadership.
This week of being the “Captain” in the class was amazing. I had the benefit of the programming of the previous teacher and then I threw in my own spin in teaching the material. Next week I bring in my own plan of action, so to speak. This coming week I am the captain of the S.S. Kindergarten. Their on going journey, into a new and exciting world of learning and exploration. To boldly go where we have not gone before.


Friday Two Cents: This Time Will Never Come Again



Last week I had my convocation or formal graduation from teacher’s college. It was by far the largest ceremony I have ever been involved in. There appeared to be about 1000 graduates from the bachelors and masters program as well as the doctoral candidates. Looking over the mass of graduates and families and friends, I really had a sense of being overwhelmed. I had to stop myself once in a while and just take in the grand spectacle of the event.

After I meet up with my colleagues from my site and my family for a bunch of pictures. We took picture after picture, with friends and of course with family. I had the extra bonus of having my niece/god-daughter present to witness the entire event and of course take pictures with too.  

Yet after the entire event I had some time to think about what it all meant and what to do next. I am now a teacher and of course looking for a job is the top priority. But I see others in my class going for extra courses and looking to upgrade their qualifications. What do I want to do now that it is all over?

Well I am applying for a teaching position but I am going to take it one day at a time. I think that I am going to enjoy this sense of freedom from all that schoolwork and assignments. I have been taking course after course for over 3 years, summers included, and this entire experience has taught me one important lesson. I have to take time out for the number one person in my life, namely myself.  Yes I will probably take a few courses in a year or two, hopefully I will have a full-time teaching position to help guide my decisions for those upgrades. But for right now, it is time to stop and smell the roses. For this time in our lives will never come again and if you are not careful it will simply pass you by.  

Friday Two Cents: Proof I Chose The Right Career


Well its official, I have finished my year of teacher’s college and I survived. To reference the ancient Greek texts that recount the 12 Trials of Heracles, now I know what he felt like. I went through hell and back again and it was a trial beyond any other I have undertaken. It truly was a herculean task, but I did it!!!

Yet even though it was full of hard work and trials that would turn the hair of any normal person grey, it was an amazing ride. A small part of me is sad that it is over. A very small part; the part that misses the companionship of my fellow teacher candidates. Or should I say, my colleagues, teachers. But I will also miss the students whom I have grown to cherish for their wonderful honesty and innocence at my practicums. I know that this will be the case for any position I will hopefully get in the future but it’s still hard to not get a little attached.

The highlight of my last day at practicum was when two students gave me cards that they made themselves. The students are in the early primary grades and their honesty and genuine heart-felt sadness at me leaving was very touching. If I ever need any proof why I chose a career in teaching, all I have to do is look at these two cards and all my doubts just melt away.

Student Card To Me

Student Card To Me

Student Card To Me

Student Card To Me


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