January 24, 2016

When a Career and a Passion Come Together

It's Sunday night, about 8:30pm, and while most people are mourning the loss of their weekend, I am slightly excited to get back into my classroom Monday morning!! Of course, I love sleeping in (I am trying to be more of a morning person... but truthfully you don't want to talk to me until I've had my first coffee), I love lazy mornings and having full days being with family. Not having to be anywhere, with no schedule to follow. 

But to be honest, I love what I do! I love seeing the faces of my students in the mornings, finding out all about their nights and weekends. I love our routines and schedule. I love having fun and engaging lessons and seeing the lightbulbs go off for my students. I love reading, and writing, and finding exciting ways to teach a new math concept. 

Teaching is such a rewarding job, and I am grateful to be able to do what I love. That being said, it is not always easy! It can be frustrating and sad and overwhelming. Sometimes I feel defeated by things I hear the public say about teachers, or see how we are portrayed in the media, or by people who have no idea what we do for our kids, day in and day out. I feel sad for some of the lives that my kiddos lead. I see students with unengaged parents, hard home lives, extreme pressure put on them, and many more hardships that ten year olds shouldn't have to deal with. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in assessments and plans and meetings, and bureaucratic items that aren't truly in the best interest of my students.

However, even with all of this, and more, I wake up most days thanking God that I am one of the fortunate ones who loves their job. It is my vocation, my calling, and I hope that most teachers feel the same way about their jobs as I do. Those are the teachers that believe they will change lives. And those are the teachers that do.

January 17, 2016

Mistakes Are Proof That You Are Trying

I'm not sure about you and your kiddos, but my fabulous fourth graders have a huge lack of perseverance. I find that when a task is a challenge, or requires them to think harder or outside of the box, they want to give up! They are quick to come to me with the usual "I don't know how to do this," or "this is too hard," or "what do I do now?" It is frustrating as a teacher, because I am trying so desperately to teach them to be problem solvers, to try different ideas and approaches.

I think a lot of this has to do with not wanting to fail. They would rather not have to struggle at something and simply have the answer handed to them. But I've realized (it's taken me a while mind you!) that spoon feeding them is NOT the answer. I am doing them no service when I tell them the answer for everything. They need to learn and discover, and yes, sometimes fail, on their own. It's not always fun, and sometimes they get frustrated, but when that light bulb goes off, it sure is rewarding for them (and me!)

With this struggle going on in my classroom, I've been putting a lot of emphasis on Growth Mindset. Growth Mindset essentially means that we know that we are always learning and growing, and even if we are not perfect, or even good, at something right away, it doesn't mean we can't get better. We are continuously evolving and growing. People with Fixed Mindset believe that they are either good or bad at something. There is no changing. We had discussions about what someone with a fixed mindset might say ("I'm not good at Math), versus what someone with a growth mindset might say ("This Math is a challenge, but I will try different strategies and do my best!). We read books. A favourite was The Most Magnificent Thing. We thought about times we have struggled and how we could have a growth mindset in these situations. We went on a scavenger hunt all over the school, answering questions all about Growth Mindset. And we made our own inspirational posters to encourage our peers to have a growth mindset.

I think my kiddos are slowly but surely understanding that it's ok to make mistakes! It is, however, not ok give up or not attempt. I hope that this is a mindset that they will carry throughout their school days and beyond. Life isn't always easy, but knowing you can learn and grow through every difficult situation is a life lesson I hope I can inspire them to remember.

January 12, 2016

Hello Blogging World!!

I've taken the leap!! After a year or so of reading (stalking!) my favourite teacher "celebrities" on all forms of social media, and bookmarking umpteen teacher blogs, I have decided to join the world myself! 

The quote above kind of gave me the little nudge to finally make my dream of having my own little space on the net a reality. And here she is. Isn't she pretty!! But truthfully, my favourite thing to do when I get home from a long and tiresome day at school with my kiddos is to hop on my laptop (after the pyjama pants are on of course!) and peruse all of the amazing teacher sites! From blogs, to Pinterest boards, to Instagram post, I am constantly feeling more inspired and motivated by all of the amazing ideas and resources out there, and I truly feel my energy and creativity perk up when I see all of the amazing things teachers are bringing to their students. It makes my soul happy. And so here I am, hoping to spread just a little bit of my joy of teaching to all of you.

Please bear with me as I get used to this whole blogging thing. I plan to post weekly (or more) with inspiration, ideas, things I am trying or enjoying, etc. I will also be using parts of this blog for my own students to refer to, as well as their families. A one stop shop sorta deal.

I hope you enjoy, and feel free to leave messages or email me. I would LOVE to hear from you all and get some feedback. 

Until next time, Happy Teaching!!