Report Card Time…

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Breathe, stay calm and remember what we tell our students – You can do it!

Pairs and small groups of teachers walking the halls with their laptops balanced atop other things, mumbling quietly to one another.

It’s a somber time for the teachers, and students’ are complaining about multiple tests. It must be that time again – report cards! We know where they are and what their strengths and weaknesses may be but when we have to put it into eloquent words it just takes so much time and careful consideration. We want to say it so it sounds pleasing to those that read it. It takes many rewrites and editing by a team of troopers that have done this many, many times before.

In the end, I hope all the care and attention is important and kept for years in a box somewhere. One day, years later perhaps, the owner of the report card will read the comments from their old report cards and remember their teachers loved them very much and did their best to teach them the skills and lessons they need for a wonderful lifetime of meaningful experiences.

Yours In Education, D.

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First Week Back

It is hard to get up so early that first day, but here we are Friday evening and I find myself grateful and happy to be with my students again. Monday I awoke to a ton of snow and it was still blowing. I turned on the radio to hear all school buses for every school board in the area are cancelled. I relaxed with my dog and my coffee in my pajamas, believing I had one more day to relax and walk through the forest with my buddy. Just at the time I should be leaving I got a message that work is a go!  I rushed to get ready, and off I went with a loaded bag of supplies for the week. Exactly half my students showed up and we had a wonderful, playful day as we couldn’t start anything new with just half a class.

Later in the week I had a visit from a substitute teacher from last year and she tells me she got on with the local public school board for a teaching assignment – I am truly happy for her!! Deep inside though I wonder, “Why not me?” Why am I not getting on with the public school board? What does she have that I don’t? A fluent second language! She is fluent in writing, reading and speaking a second language, which is what she was hired to teach. I am still very happy for her and hope she gets on full time. If God means for me to be on a public school board again, it will happen. (I lost all seniority when I changed provinces and have to go back to substitute teaching interviews – not even assignments – just a hope for a call in)

I had my plans done for the first two weeks so I felt good about the first week and confident that I wouldn’t be feeling stressed or unprepared. It was a good week. Planning is important.

This weekend I will work on the next weeks’ plans, which will keep me with two weeks worth of planning again when I go back Monday. Starting with two weeks, and always adding a new week at the end of the week, so you always  have two weeks plans, may be the secret to sanity nobody told me.

Another good way to keep yourself and your students’ on track is to plan all the quizzes, tests and assessments on a monthly calendar that you send home to the parents at the beginning of the month. If you see that you have to test on unit 3 by next Tuesday then that keeps you on track so that the class is ready for the test. It doesn’t always happen but at least you are usually close to the designated day when you know the parents are expecting the test as well as the students. There will be units or concepts that your class takes longer to grasp, and then there are ones that are easier and you find yourself ahead a day or two! Just go with the students as they need you to so that everyone can learn. It is not enough to have them written in your plans, it is the giving the parents the calendar that is key to staying on track.

If you have gifted or struggling students make adjustments so that they feel important and part of the class too. I have asked for help from the resource teacher to take some of my students for a short small-group session. It really is helping them, and the success spreads to confidence in other areas too. It just takes a little teamwork and planning (again with the planning) to figure things out.

That’s all for this week, and I pray that I keep my goals of writing this year, not for me, but for those of you that want an inside eye on teaching. I had no idea being a teacher is this much work, for so little pay and almost little to no recognition or appreciation. You really just become a teacher because you love children and care about them, it’s my fuel!

Yours in Education,

Miss D.