Category Archives: #saskedchat

Getting ready for internship

In the fall I get to start my internship, which I am beyond excited about…I am also beyond nervous and stressed. I love the idea of a new challenge, but I feel like I am going into this challenge blind. My co-op teaches K-12 physical education, and middle years science, PAA, and social studies. All of which is fantastic, and none of which I have actually taught at length, if ever before. One of the other teachers may be willing to let me teach some of her English, health and art classes, out of all of these I have taught English. Some how during my entire three weeks teaching all that was really taught was English and French. Three weeks is not a lot of time, especially when the first five days I only taught English, and the next two weeks I taught English and French. The students were working on Science fair and health projects so I was unable to teach either of those subjects. My amazing teaching partner did the math classes. I was able to teach a physical education class and a social class, which gave me a really really small glance into the subjects. Three weeks is not enough time to become comfortable with teaching, or even become close to becoming ready to teach. I know that the U of R has a great education program, and I am sure that in the future I will be thankful for it but right now I feel under prepared, and having no control as to how  my next month will work. I hate this feeling.

I also get the feeling that I get a chance to try new things and implement all the ideas that I have. I hear about teachers coming up with great new ideas and being able to see them through gives them an understanding of what works and does not work. I have ideas, literally a book of them, that I have never had a chance to try… and now I get to try at least some of them.

But what if my plans do not work, what if they are not right for the school that I am in, or what if they are only good in theory. These thoughts seem like I am over reacting, which I probably am but getting them out is part of me preparing for internship…or part of me second guessing my decision.

Keep calm and teach on (I seen this on a beach towel, except it said beach on, I am now claiming it as my motto). It is probably good that I have a few more weeks to get ready, seeing as how I have no idea what classes I am actually teaching, or what grades, or anything about the outcomes/themes/units that I am starting with. The best I can do is read the curriculum, know where treaty ed outcomes fit within the curriculum, have ideas for every possible unit, and just go with it as I need to. I also have a few resources for every subject/grade and a starting place for many units. I am really hoping that this works out.

*Reminder–Find time to balance teaching/prep with life!

Sharing is caring…at least that is what I am told

Sharing is something that is learnt at an age of 3 or 4, younger if you have siblings. It is retaught when starting kindergarten, a grade 1, and grade 2, in fact I know many adults that cannot figure out the concept of sharing. There is something difficult about the idea of allowing others to have access to your ideas, property, or something you believe to have ownership over.

The sanity of teachers is dependent on sharing; sharing resources, sharing ideas, sharing lessons, sharing work, and sharing coffee. Sharing for teachers is important, yet so much of university focuses on doing it yourself. Students have opportunities to collaborate, but they are expected to come up with their own lessons, own ideas, to think of something revolutionary and ground breaking…at least that is what it feels like as a student. We know that teachers do not make every lesson, idea, activity from scratch. However, we cannot use the ideas of someone else, and if we do come up with a good idea than our first thought is to keep it for ourselves. Than we get out into the real world and have to learn sharing all over again. I can understand why many adults have issues with sharing, because sharing is almost like losing part of your idea, something that at one point belonged to you. Once you share an idea you have no control over what happens to it, it can be manipulated, changed, reworked, and end up looking like the original idea. This seems like a lot of reasons to never share, but it all leads to one important reason to share. Your single idea, plan, activity, in the eyes and with the mind of someone else could become a different, even more amazing idea. This to me is fascinating, to others it is terrifying.

Sharing is not a bad thing, it is the start of many things, the end of others, but it always results in a product. If we can teach 3 year olds to share, why is it hard to teach a bunch of adults to share?

How to manage change when change stresses you out

Before I start explaining why change scares me, how I have managed to figure out strategies that make change easier, and how it applies to teaching, I am going to define how I understand different concepts of change.

Understanding of Terms

Forced change-something I have no control over, for example moving houses

Positive change- something that I have some to little control over but it is something that I am happy about, does not make the change easier but knowing that it will make my life better results in less stress, for example going to university

Adaptation- this is not really change, it is more like altering something to make it work for other people, for example changing parts of a system to make it work for all people involved, without completely changing it all

Improvement- something that is welcomed and progressive, not immediate and not overwhelming, for example getting the newer edition of the same vehicle

Growth-change that happens gradual, personally, and on your own terms, for example learning a new language

My issue with change

It is not that I think change is  bad, its that change physically, mentally, and emotionally stresses me out, and too much stress makes me very sick. My family has this weird habit of  buying a great house, paying it off, selling it and buying a new house, all in the same town. Craik has like at max 100 houses in the town, I have lived in three of them. It is not that the houses are upgrades, but they are different. The most recent house we moved into right before I started my grade 12 school year, we were building the house of scratch so I got to design my room how I wanted it, this allowed for me to feel some control, which lasted long enough for me to agree to moving again. So I packed my stuff and moved across  town into my newly painted bedroom, for the total of a year and 8 months. I went away for university, which was a positive change, that I had been preparing for since I was six and decided I wanted to become a teacher. I think my parents were expecting me to come home more often, but between school, my friends and my boyfriend, I only came home for the weekend once a month. Eventually my parents decided that it made more sense for my sister to have my room downstairs and me to move upstairs. They made this decision without telling me and when I came home for a weekend I found all of my stuff upstairs. I handled it like a real adult, turned around, walked out of the house and drove back to the city. At the time of this event I handled change by avoiding it, which only works so good. You cannot control when life decides to throw you a curve ball, or when all of your plans disappear.

My room at my parents place has all the same stuff that I did when I moved out, including a lot of my clothes, stuff animals, important pieces of my childhood. Stuff that in most cases people would get rid of, box up, store away, yet mine is where it is easily accessible, even though I only live there during the summer while I work. Clothes that I will never wear again, and pictures of people who I have little contact with now fill my bedroom. It isn’t even that I care about most of the stuff, its that I have control of not changing my bedroom.

Moving is a fairly big change, it happens all at once so you really see the differences and notice the impact it has on your life. Growth is a different type of change. Looking back at who I was in high school and who I am now I notice a huge amount of change. I have grown from a sheltered, slightly entitled, control-freak, who was occasionally really good at being one of the mean girls. To someone that is focused on social justice, works very hard to succeed, and use my mean girl talents for  good. Who I was, led me to who I am but I am happy that I changed because the person I am now is someone I am proud  of, the person I was is someone that needed to grow, to change. However, if I would have noticed the change happening I would have resisted, I would have pull back. Which is why growth is different than change.

Not changing things that I have control over is a problem because it is irrational. I know that change is good, but I also know that change can be bad.

Managing the stress of change

In the past four years of university I have learned some strategies that help me relax when dealing with change.

  1. Determine if the change is positive or negative
  2. Find a positive in the change, no matter how small
  3. determine if there is any part of the change that you can control
  4. take control of the pieces you can control
  5. vocalize your frustrations with someone you trust, this helps you put it in perspective
  6. develop an understanding if you are mad/upset because the change is bad or because it is change that I am not in control of
  7. if it bad, why is it bad, what would make it better, who do you need to talk to
  8. understand that just because I have control of the change does not make it easier, but it means it can happen gradual, allow it to be slow
  9. don’t rush into something, even if you love the change afterwards, you will find a reason to hate it and freak out
  10. for every con, try your best to find at least one pro, say the pros out loud when stressed
  11. let people know when you are having a bad day, find your person and talk to them, do not stress out alone
  12. do something that relaxes you while thinking about the change
  13. if nothing else works than go for a workout, it will clear your mind-this is a last resort because associating working out with stress too much will cause you to find a reason to stress while working out
  14. It is easier to “go with the flow” if you do not have set plans. Having general ideas of what you are going to do is easier to work with when things do not go exactly as planned. Writing detailed lesson plans do not work for me, because if I have to deviate in anyway to make the lesson work than I feel like the lesson failed, even if it was a success.
  15. find a different way to phrase the change, trick your brain, if you force yourself to believe it and say it enough times than you will begin to actually accept it
  16. breathe, breathe, and breathe

These strategies, usually in this order is how I survive change, but if I am being 100% honest than before I even start this process I always have a small freak out. Freaking out is O.K. as long as it is only a stepping stone to handling the change, and freaking out is way better than ignoring the change.

How does any of this connect to school?

I  am not the only person that hates change, I had 10 people in my grad class, three of  us hated change. The  teachers could not understand this when they would change the assignment to “make it easier” or “more applicable”, all that was being done was resulting in a different reaction from each of us, I would freak out and re do the whole  thing. One of the others would leave it, accepting the poor mark, the final one would have a freak out and refuse to do the assignment. The teachers did not seem to understand this, even though we had the same teachers for multiple years in a row. I will have students that will hate change, and I will be able to understand. I will also have students that will experience unexpected change, forced change, change that makes them feel helpless and alone. I can work with that, I can use the strategies that I learnt to allow others to adapt. Change is going to happen, what I do with that is up to me, how I handle it is up to me…but really it doesn’t feel like I am in control and I am handling it. Students have the same moments, the moments when they lose a friend, fail a test, have family problems, start struggling with the moments that every youth has to face whether they want to or not. Students feel like they have control of nothing, so they resort to making decisions that they can control, change that they allow to happen, even if it is not in their best interest.

I hate change, but I have learned to manage it. I have learned to manage it in a way that does not make me sick, that does not make the situation worse. Change can be happy…at least that is what I am told, as long as I keep focusing on that I will keep working on allowing my life to change.

Teaching is not a solo job

My last year of high school I was told by a teacher that I was entering a lonely profession. This confused me a lot, I  was becoming a teacher, I would be surrounded by students every day and I would have other teachers in the school. Once I entered my third year of university I finally understood where my former teacher got his understanding that teaching was a lonely profession. He was doing it wrong. He believe that teaching was a job that could only be done solely by the person who was in the classroom,  this eventually caused him to burnout and he quit teaching two years after I graduated.

Teaching is not a job that is dependent on one person, just like everything that is done in life, nothing is dependent on one person. It takes a village to raise a child, while it takes a whole school to teach a child. Throughout my time as being a student, it was never just one person that impacted my learning, it was multiple teachers, admin, support staff, and parents that allowed me to be successful in school. That is the way I see it, if you ask my teachers they would only take credit for the grades that they specifically taught me.

Teachers support each other, and in some cases they do it without realizing it. I recently read a book Teaching is Harder Than it Looks by Gary Dee, a large percentage of this book focused around how teaching is not easy, and how he found it important to have supports in place, and not just other teachers, but supportive administration, parents, and most importantly your friends that are not teachers who are able to take your mind off of the stresses of the classroom.

As a pre-service teacher I know that using whatever supports that are available to me are important. However, I also know me, and I know that I am horrible at asking for help, I am even worse at admitting I need help even when it was offered to me.

Supports for a teacher are important because it helps them survive the world that is education, but it is more important that teachers use the supports that they need to be successful so that they can be the support for the students. Teachers have access to many supports (at least that is what I am told in university, rarely am I told how to access these supports) but students’ starting place for support is the teacher. If teachers cannot get support for our needs than students cannot get supports for their needs, and that is a problem.

The importance of blogging

My first attempt at blogging was in ESCI 302, I hated it. I do not mean that I disliked it, I mean I actually hated it with a passion. I would start writing a post, felt it was not good enough, end up crying, erasing it, ending up writing a bad post right before it was do, this process resulted in a lot of bad marks which caused me to hate blogging, journaling, and reflecting. After ESCI 302, I was determined that I would never blog again, ever, at all costs.

Well the first day of classes in the fall 2015 semester, my stubbornness to not blog was met by a sessional instructor who was more determined to make me blog. This was my first time having a class with Katia Hildebrandt, but I had already collaborated with her on the Faculty of Education’s Strategic Plan, so I knew that she was equally as stubborn and determined to make me blog as I was to not blog, her advantage was that she controlled me passing the ECS 301 class. I had no choice but to reluctantly look at my poorly developed blog, cringe as she outlined how many blogs would be made in the semester, and explained that I had no choice but to blog. I knew I would have to blog, BUT I WOULD NOT ENJOY IT. I could survive another semester blogging, I have survived much worse. And I successfully survived all blog posts without her raising any concerns. One semester down, just needed to survive the rest of my degree without ever looking at my blog again. Solid plan.

Until I found out that I would once again have Katia for my ECS 311 class, and she was making us blog…again… I was so frustrated. Why did she feel like blogging was so important, it was in no way going to further my education, it wasn’t going to make me a better teacher, and it certainly was not going to remove any of the stress I was already feeling about the very busy semester. But since I needed the class to finish my degree I forced myself to blog, every week, with minimal whining (my classmates and friends may disagree with the minimal part, but I sticking firm with minimal).

I hated blogging, completely hated it. I hated it until I stated my three week block of pre-internship. Than I actually found use it blogging. Every lesson plan I created, even the ones that blew up in my face I reflected on, but scribbling notes on a printed out lesson plan was not helping me, I needed to actually process what worked and what did not work. I needed to talk it out with someone, but that was hard to do because my classmates were all busy with their own teaching experiences, and I my family was busy with everything else. This caused me to start blogging about my lessons, each lesson, every day. What worked, what did not, what I liked, what I hated, and how I would change the lesson. This began my positive relationship with blogging.

I convinced myself that blogging was something that would help me in the future, if for no other reason than it would give me evidence of progress. I needed an education elective for one of my final classes to complete my education degree, I decided on ECMP 355, for two reasons. The first is that it was taught by Katia, which eliminated the need to figure out a new professor during an already shorten spring semester. The second reason is that using technology in the classroom is becoming a necessity for teaching.

ECMP 355 provided me with the chance to participate in blogging, both as a blogger which I now enjoy, and as a commentator, which provided me with opportunity to become fully invested in the blogging experience. I began reading other people’s blogs, not just in my class but through the use of Feedly, I found many other blogs that actually taught me something. A year ago I did not think I would learn anything from reading blogs, that has changed.

The question of the week is  why am I choosing to participate in the Summer Blogging Challenge. The answer is that once I stop blogging, it may be too hard to start back up. Besides anyone that knows me, knows that I do not do well with being bored, and my summer will fairly boring if I do not find things to do.