Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's time to give up the bar scene when...

Conversation heard in my grade 12 class while students were supposed to be quietly working (yeah, right!)

Student #1: "So, I'm supposed to go to O'[insert irish name here]'s pub next weekend. There's a great band playing!"

Student #2: "Yeah, it's a great bar. We are there every weekend!"

Student #1: "Do you think he'll be there? What do you think I should wear?"

Student #2: "I dunno, I will ask him. Maybe I can invite him and his friends to go and you will just casually show up!"

Student #1: "squeal! Wouldn't that be sick!"

Yeah, OK typical teenage talk. Not really a big deal, right? Unless your Maid of Honour has been planning your bachelorette party for the exact same night at the exact same pub because it really is a really great band!

Crap! This is not good!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Montreal Tragedy

Wow. Words cannot describe the shock of what is going on in Montreal right now. I am saddened.

Saddened because people are hurt, seriously or critically injured, and at least one victim dead.

Saddened because someone felt so alone, distraught, depressed, angry, that he would take his frustration out on innocent people.

Saddened because those students and teachers didn't need to go through this and will live with this trauma for the rest of their lives.

Saddened for the families of the young casualities who will have to come to grips with this.

Saddened because we haven't learned much from December 6, 1989.

Saddened because our Canadian coverage of this has turned in to much more sensationalized American style than ever before. ( I really do NOT think we needed to interview Columbine survivors to get their "take" on what went down - shame on you CBC)

Saddened because I wonder if we do enough?

Every year since Columbine and the Taber tragedies we practice secure classroom drills. We practice lockdowns, building evacuations, and bomb scares. Can we ever fully protect the kids that are placed in our charge day after day?

And do we know that if something like that were to arise that we would do what we should? Looking at some of that footage, I wonder. People walked by the gunman and the police without ever even realizing what was going on. The tragedy could be so much worse.

I guess we have learned a little from 17 years ago. They say the police knew exactly what to do and how to "take down" the gunman. The teachers knew to collect students into classrooms and barracade the doors. Some student did know to run for cover and get out of the way.

Many of the victims will survive. There are some that may not, but it really could have been much worse.

What a terribly sad day...

Saturday, September 09, 2006


The first week is finally over. I swear it was the longest week of my life. For some reason this year I really did not want to go back. I was enjoying my summer far too much!

It was a little different this year since I had a student teacher right on the very first day. I never thought I would mind, but it was a little awkward. One of the most important things you can do is establish the classroom setting right from the start. Having her in there kind of distrupted my "routine" . It's fine though. I am really looking forward to mentoring her. She seems quite receptive to the hints I have given her. Some of the pointers include:

1) LEARN THEIR NAMES!! There is nothing worse than a teacher by mid-October saying, "Hey you, in the red sweater." This has to be the most important thing you can do as a teacher.

2) Never let them see fear. I definately recommend showing emotion - kids respond to that - but not fear. They will smell fear a mile away and can make your life miserable.

3) Make sure everything you do is purposeful. They will know when you are just "passing time". This will not give them the consistency they need. How will they know that what you are doing is important if you don't make it clear that everything they are expected to do is?

4) You are not their friends. Do not fall in to that trap. I know the urge is there to be liked, but you can be liked and still be their teacher. (Some parents could use this advice)

5) Play games. Learning is so much more fun to do when you are having a good time.

6) Tell stories. Learning is more fun when it doesn't seem like learning. Kids respond to stories very well and are much more interesting than a boring list of facts.

7) Be yourself. Again, kids will see right through you if you are trying to be someone you are not.

8) Journal everything. Write it all down so that you can go back years from now and remember what it was like to be a new teacher. At the end of each day, make sure you write about at least one positive thing that you remember. These will help you during the rough times.

I really enjoy mentoring my student teacher. I'm beginning to think I should go in to teacher training at the University. It would be awesome! But I think I'd miss the classroom too much.