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.

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Comic Strips: The Beauty Of Their Dreams


 

The latest publication of the newsletter has been sent out and with it the last comic strip of 2016-17 ‘The Craziest Things’ along with it. The June comic strip is a culmination of the year’s drawings of the students in the graduating class at my school. Every month I create a comic strip with the students in the grade 5s in a situation that I have observed them doing. I sometimes take a little creative license but in many instances, what you see is what happened.

But like I said, the June comic is a culmination of the year and these children will be graduating to a new school to begin the daunting task of fitting into middle school. Yet for the last comic of the school year I like to create a scene with a farewell message or words of wisdom to the graduating class. You can see a few of the previous years in the comic section on my blog. One year the scene was a class photo, one was about different people you meet in your life and another was about shooting for the stars.
This year I went for the theme of the beauty in their dreams. Dreams are what drive many people; from the dream of getting that dream job to a family. Dreams help inspire and drive many people to do their best and never give up. I thought of an endless road that can allow your mind to wander. To help you dream of the endless possibilities one could experience. Therefore I placed the students on that road and wrote …

 

The future belongs to those who believe

in the beauty of their dreams.

Good Luck Class of 2017!

 

A quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. The future is for those who can believe in their dreams.

I hope you enjoy The Craziest Things: The Beauty Of Their Dreams.

Comic Strips: Just A Bit … Eccentric


This month’s newsletter has been sent out and with it the latest installment of The Craziest Things.

If you live in the Ontario, Québec or the east coast if Canada you just had a record amount of rainfall this past couple of weeks. Here in Toronto we had a month’s amount of rain in the city fall in just 3 days. Many of the rivers and local streams are all running high and even the lake levels are the highest they have been. With all this I was inspired to create a comic with a little funny joke. The funny thing is that the student acting a bit … eccentric, I can see them actually doing this.

I hope you enjoy the latest installment of, The Craziest Things; Just A Bit … Eccentric.

Friday Two Cents: If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade


 

This past week in Ontario many elementary and high schools were out for the annual March/spring break. In previous years I have always worked during this week at various afterschool programs, yet this year I had the need to take the week off. I didn’t want to go somewhere far-flung or exotic, I just wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the students. Don’t get me wrong I adore the children but I was feeling a bit rundown and I needed sometime to be alone with my thoughts. To chill out, ironically speaking.

I decided to take a mini vacation to Niagara Falls and more importantly the Niagara Wine country. I live in the Toronto area and Niagara Falls is only a 1½-hour drive but I have never seen the falls in the winter. Besides I love visiting the wineries in the area for some wine tasting. It would also be a great opportunity to do some drawing and hopefully get inspired.
However Mother Nature had other plans this past week. I left for my vacation on Monday and of course that is the day when a winter storm just happens to blow into southern Ontario.   I am only few kilometers into the trip when the storm really picks up. With high winds and lake-effect snow traffic literally comes to a halt. I continue but the traffic is moving about 5 – 10 km/hr. The slowdown is mind numbing and it is all due to the weather. The truly amazing thing was that after I traveled past the city of Hamilton the weather clears up. It was eerie. On the east side of the highway, the lakeside, you can see the blowing snow and dark clouds yet on the west side of the highway the sun was setting and it was clear. It felt like I was driving through the eye of the storm or at least the edge of it. I arrived at the hotel safely yet the normally 1½-hour drive took 4½hrs!
I was stressed worst then before I left. So much for my relaxing vacation. However I was able to have a great meal at the casino and then soak in the hot tub after. I could feel the stress just melting away in the Jacuzzi. Especially since I could see that the storm had reached Niagara Falls and I was safe inside.
The next day the storm was in full force but that did not stop me. I was prepared with winter gear and I went for a walk to the Falls in the middle of the storm. I was able to get a few nice photos and I was able to talk to a few people who I met there. Yes just call me Mr. Sociable.  

Panoramic view of Niagara Falls during the Winter Storm.

Panoramic view of Niagara Falls after the Winter Storm.

Panoramic view of Niagara-on-the-lake after the Winter Storm.

I for one do not like the winter season. I do not like the cold or the lack of sunlight. Yet I made it a point to not let this winter storm ruin my vacation. The storm lasted about a day and a half but in that time I was able to do all that I wanted.   I was able to draw, read, write, explore and of course enjoy a couple of wine tastings. Call me Mr. Optimist but I simply adapted to the situation I still had a wonderful time. I would imagine that old saying is true…

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  

Comic Strips: Global Excuses


 

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With the New Year comes the latest edition of the monthly newsletter and with it the February instalment of The Craziest Things.

Every child, they want to wear has become an even more prevalent. Showing ones’ individual style has become an obsession with people and it has trickled down to children as well. Students in the fourth and fifth grade are beginning to assert their own preference or style even at this early age. Some even use external forces to make their point.

In Toronto Canada, we have seen some mild winters in the past few years. This has not been unnoticed by the students. On many occasions I have reminded students to wear their hats and mittens and even their jackets. Yet I know once my head is turned, off the jacket comes, therefore I don’t bother any more. I have adapted the belief that Mother Nature is a much better teacher on what to wear then I will ever be. Some times Mother Nature throws a curve ball at the students and they take full advantage.  

I hope you enjoy my attempt at political satire of, The Craziest Things; Global Excuses.

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Friday Two Cents: A Child And A Song


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‘Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.’ Plato

It is two days until Christmas and I am in the full Christmas mood. I am feeling joyful and triumphant but it has nothing to do with the long-awaited holiday break from school or the anticipation of any gifts. No, comes from the feeling that this season brings out in me and one amazing act of humanity and a song.

I have always tried to distance myself from the commercial side of this season. From an early age I discovered that Christmas has nothing to do with the gifts you get or give but from the feeling of warmth, togetherness and love for my fellow-man. Every year it has become harder and harder to find examples or to try to get into that feeling. Yet in resent years I have been tuning into a local radio station (CHFI 98.1 FM) that plays Christmas music from the end of November to Christmas day. I have found that listening to the Christmas music has truly helped me to get into the Christmas spirit. Yet one day this past week helped me to truly feel good about this holiday season.
I was supplying at a school where the majority of the students are immigrant families, new to Canada. Many don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious celebration but are into the gift giving and good feelings of the season. While I was in a class at this school many students told me what they wanted for Christmas. Yet one told me that they just wanted running shoes for their mom, dad and brother. I asked if her family needed shoes and she said no but she knew that it would make her parents happy. To say this moved me, would be understating the fact. Instead of asking for a toy for herself, as many school children do, this kindergarten child wanted something to make her family happy. Beautiful.
Then to make a further connection to the true meaning of the Christmas season, that night I heard a song that touched me so much that all I could think of was this child. The song is called “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong. It’s about a boy wanting to get his mother shoes because she has been sick for a long time and he wanted her to look beautiful if she meets Jesus that night. With that song and that child earlier in the day, I realized that I got a glimpse into the soul of humanity. Sometimes we see moments of amazing beauty, whether in art, nature or people. I saw the goodness and love that this Christmas season has to offer and it was thanks to a child and a song. As Plato once said,
 

‘Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.’ Plato

 

That song truly speaks of the love and beauty in humanity and it comes from the most innocent member of the human race. A child. It seems appropriate.

Happy Christmas.

Comic Strips: Cutbacks


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The latest instalment of The Craziest Things has been sent out and with it the idea that our world can affect everything.

If you don’t know anything about government cutbacks than you are the lucky one. Yet everyone in North America is well a where of cutbacks. From reduced service to smaller portions at the supermarket everyone has been affected. Even this year at Christmas cutbacks are all around. Even as the media says that many people will be spending more people I talk to say the opposite. Therefore I thought what if the cutbacks went all the way to some things that we thought were stable.

I hope you enjoy my attempt at political satire of, The Craziest Things; Cutbacks.

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