Fun conversation in a grade 4 classroom today. I was on supervision duty during lunch, and projected onto the Smart board was an ad for women’s shoes, showing a high heel pink type thing. The classroom teacher, who is male, made a comment to a male student “yes, those are my favourite, going to buy them after school” . Now I’ve heard from others that this teacher has made some inappropriate anti-gay comments. So I said to the young boy “you know there are some men who like to wear shoes like that, and there are women who don’t like shoes like that. I’m not a big fan of high heels, I like my plain black shoes like the ones I have on now. Isn’t it cool how we can all be different?”
The young boy and a few of the kids around him joined in the conversation, and agreed that everyone had different tastes, and it really didn’t matter. And then one little guy said “and you know, if those were the only shoes you had, wouldn’t you just be happy you had shoes”?
I gave him the biggest smile. Then I gave big smile to the teacher who was looking at me like I had three heads.
It will be interesting to see if this teacher does anything with his class on Friday when we discuss Anti-homophobia Day at my school.
Riddle me this.
What do 8:00, 7:00 and 7:30 have in common?
Today I took 2 students, grades 6 and 7 to a conference organized by my school board, for students who are gifted. The kids chose their workshops and went to one in the morning, and one in the afternoon, with a short 30 min keynote speaker in between. It took place on a university campus in a nearby town, and all of the workshop leaders were teacher education students from that university. The event was well organized, but I left feeling like it didn’t live up to its potential. The kids had fun, enjoyed their sessions, but I don’t think there was anything particularly enriched or challenging or beyond what happens in their classrooms every day.
I was disappointed..
Last night after school, I had a meeting with the parents of a very challenging child. This child is diagnosed with autism and anxiety and OCD. He has a full time Educational Assistant and spends his entire day in our Learning Centre despite efforts to have him join classes for different lessons. He is very manipulative and extremely explosive.
I tell you this as background so you understand what happened. My principal and the E. A. were in the meeting. We were being very clear about how things were going, while trying to be compassionate at the same time. This child is challenging, however he is a child, and these are his parents who love him.
At one point the mom apologized to the E. A. saying “That must be so difficult for you, I’m sorry”. My principal stopped her and said “Don’t apologize. This is not about blame. We like your son, we care about your son, and this is just the reality. Yes working with him can be difficult and draining, but you have done nothing wrong, and please don’t ever apologize”.
I was so proud to be working for this man.
I think the kids will forget who I am.
This week was crazy. I was away Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning, and will be gone all day tomorrow. The three half days were PD or meetings or training. Tomorrow I am taking 2 kids to a gifted conference.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, for the next 14 days I will be either in a meeting, or running PD, or at PD at least half of every day. That means that I have a supply teacher for either the whole day or half day - every day for the next 14 days. That means that I have to leave detailed lesson plans every day for the next 14 days.
The 15th day is our track and field day, so I will be outside all day using a megaphone to martial students to their events.
The following two weeks will be spent supporting our students with IEP’s on our grade 3 and 6 standards based testing.
By the time that is all over it will be June 10th, and there will be 14 days of school left.
Last week I spent 3 days with a group of incredible professionals. These teachers have been engaging in action research since August. Last week was the opportunity for everyone to present their research to the whole group. I have been mentoring a group of 5 teachers and they did an incredible job. It’s really inspiring to see teachers who are so excited about teaching.
Three Great Book Weekend
The Imposter Bride - Nancy Richler
The Painted Girls - Cathy Marie Buchanan
Tell the Wolves I’m Home - Carol Rifka Brunt
I went to a training conference yesterday about scoring the state test and in the midst of confusion, anger, solidarity and hard work, I had a nice moment with the woman who has been my mentor since last September.
“Can we bring the materials home with us?” I asked. “I want to study them over…
My first mentor is now my best friend. Sadly she has retired and moved to another province. She was similar to your mentor in that everyone went to her. They respected her opinion. She always gave thoughtful advice and never made people feel like they were stupid for asking. She is a lifelong learner who loved teaching and learning every day. I approached her about being my official mentor when I was in my first year of teaching, and we really clicked.
Now I’m a mentor. I haven’t formed that ongoing bond with my mentees, I think mostly because none of them have stayed for very long at my school. My mentor role has taken on a variety of different forms. I know I have supported a lot of people as they have reflected upon and improved their math instruction. I know I have help people better understand the students with special needs in their classroom. I helped a group of teachers develop their ability to backwards plan a unit. I am a mentor to the other special education teacher as she learns the ins and outs of our complex role. And I’ve mentored a number of teachers from all over the province as they engage in action research.
Sometimes my mentor role overlaps with the coach position I have at my school. And I am very fortunate to have colleagues who are always eager to learn new things, and we share and learn equally from each other.