Carpe Diem Always

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Life.

It moves. It bumps and grinds.  It captivates. It engages. It travels at the speed of light. It makes everything seem to go in slow motion or changing in the blink of an eye.

It is what we make of it. What we decide is important, is downright spectacular. What we can't live with is often balanced with what we can never do without. It is a journey we undertake with cautious optimism or unbridled passion. It is the beauty of a life well spent.

I chose to embrace adventure. To try new things, to take on challenges, reacquaint myself with my surroundings. To live life to the fullest, throw caution to the wind, be brave and bold and see what is waiting for me.

Carpe Diem friends...

What Brings You JOY?

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"We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too." ~Helen Hayes
Life is truly more than splendid moements captured. It is an event really, that we plan and prepare for, investigate and cultivate, aspire and desire. 

Over the course of my  lifetime, I have watched in awe as I evolve. Finding priorities in things that I never knew ever mattered, delving deeply into my life, rather than sitting on the sidelines. I have always wanted to live my best life, but for so long I searched in ways and places that gave me little joy. I struggled to find myself time and again, and searching for something that perhaps would always be just outside my reach.

But life has a funny way of teaching you the just right lessons in the nick of time. To see what is right in front of you, to allow you to hear the desires and wants of your heart. 

The greatest gift that I have ever bestowed on myself was the ability to find joy. In the small things, in the mundane, to muster a smile and a laugh when perhaps there was nothing that particularly funny at all. To see the beauty in the simple pleasures that life has to offer, to see the good in the people you surround yourself with. To allow yourself to be loved and to love with every ounceof your very being. To forgive, to be kind and generous, to give when there is nothing to receive in return.

I find some days just full of the tough stuff. Miscommunication, misunderstandings, wrong place at the wrong time moments that, if I allow for it, weighs on me heavily. I find it hard to push away the uneasiness, the unrest that I feel both in my heart and mind. And that is where I allow joy to take over. I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. I live a life that I believe is 1 of the best out there. A family and support system of friends and colleagues that make the every day a momentous occaison. A passion to learn, explore, create, and invest in myself and those around me. I love to lose myself in my thoughts, celebrate what I already know and excitely explore all that is new. I appreciate and work at not taking for granted the gifts... time to recharge, moments of clarity & wonder, and the ability to live my best life in peace and harmony.

So I pose this question to you friends... what brings you joy in your life?

Live for the moments that bring you the most incredible parts of who you are. Cherish the time you have to be, to exist in this world and leave your mark. Celebrate the milestones, no matter how big or small, and know that this is what we are meant to do with our lives.


What Brings You JOY?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/paul-dynamik/3184700024/sizes/l

"We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too." ~Helen Hayes
Life is truly more than splendid moements captured. It is an event really, that we plan and prepare for, investigate and cultivate, aspire and desire. 

Over the course of my  lifetime, I have watched in awe as I evolve. Finding priorities in things that I never knew ever mattered, delving deeply into my life, rather than sitting on the sidelines. I have always wanted to live my best life, but for so long I searched in ways and places that gave me little joy. I struggled to find myself time and again, and searching for something that perhaps would always be just outside my reach.

But life has a funny way of teaching you the just right lessons in the nick of time. To see what is right in front of you, to allow you to hear the desires and wants of your heart. 

The greatest gift that I have ever bestowed on myself was the ability to find joy. In the small things, in the mundane, to muster a smile and a laugh when perhaps there was nothing that particularly funny at all. To see the beauty in the simple pleasures that life has to offer, to see the good in the people you surround yourself with. To allow yourself to be loved and to love with every ounceof your very being. To forgive, to be kind and generous, to give when there is nothing to receive in return.

I find some days just full of the tough stuff. Miscommunication, misunderstandings, wrong place at the wrong time moments that, if I allow for it, weighs on me heavily. I find it hard to push away the uneasiness, the unrest that I feel both in my heart and mind. And that is where I allow joy to take over. I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. I live a life that I believe is 1 of the best out there. A family and support system of friends and colleagues that make the every day a momentous occaison. A passion to learn, explore, create, and invest in myself and those around me. I love to lose myself in my thoughts, celebrate what I already know and excitely explore all that is new. I appreciate and work at not taking for granted the gifts... time to recharge, moments of clarity & wonder, and the ability to live my best life in peace and harmony.

So I pose this question to you friends... what brings you joy in your life?

Live for the moments that bring you the most incredible parts of who you are. Cherish the time you have to be, to exist in this world and leave your mark. Celebrate the milestones, no matter how big or small, and know that this is what we are meant to do with our lives.


Return of the Long-Lost Blogger

Before I started my internship I thought, YES, I will blog every week, even more, because I’ll have so much so say and want to share it! Well, yes, I have certainly found that I have learned an incredible number of things that I want to share, finding the time to actually share them is so difficult!

Now I think that I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again; you learn a LOT in internship. Every day. All day. So the fact that it’s been 2 weeks since my last post means 2 weeks of learning have occurred! And wow, have I ever learned some awesome things in the last two weeks! Let me re-cap and share my adventures!

  1. Lit Circles
    • My Lit Circles have been going really well! Students are really into their books, and for the most part are having some great conversations. The downside to being new to this set up, and new to teaching is that I haven’t had the time to really read all of the books my students are reading. I’ve read many summaries and information packages on them, heard from other teachers about them, and read snippets from all of the books, but it’s not quite the same as feeling confident in what happened in the entire book.
    • I think if I were to do this again (which I totally intend to!), I would definitely want to pick the selection of books in advance and have the chance to read them. I think that I would really love to do something with biographies/autobiographies like “I am Malala” and “Diary of a Young Girl” to incorporate some world issues along with a non-fiction style and getting the students to look at how they could write their own auto-biographies!
    • I’ve been adding in little bits here and there of how to improve the jobs that my students are rotating through, and how to have better discussions. These mini-lessons are going over great with the kids, as they’re just long enough to get the point across (15-20 min) and they they go right away and apply the concept to their jobs and discussions!
  2. Inquiry Project
    • The process of having students do research over the last 2 weeks has been awesome. Students already knew how to use Google Slides to make presentations (well, all but one, and he picked it up quickly), and I structured the requirements with some definitive guidelines for my grade 6s and a little less for the grade 7s.
    • We started presentations today! From what I’ve observed so far, here are some take-aways:
      • Kids are not confident in what they know. They insist on reading from slides or print-outs even though they really do know a lot when you ask them questions! This will be an area to work on improving confidence in throughout the year.
      • The structure was awesome for the grade 6s. So far the presentations have included all of the elements that we’d discussed in class.
      • The slightly unstructured was not as great for the grade 7s. So far the presentations have been hit and miss on including information that we had talked about in class. Some students hit it right on, one went over an above, and one missed the boat. We’ll see how the next round goes to get a good sense of what’s up with them!
  3. BreakoutEDU
    • I had the opportunity to partake in a Breakout with my 7/8s in my pre-internship, and also with my ECS311 class, and I can’t say enough good things about it! It’s engaging, really fun, challenging, and encourages team work like nothing else!
    • I hyped up the lesson that would be the Breakout for an entire week and the students were so excited about it!
    • The actual Breakout was super chaotic, but also super fun. Most of the students were really into the process of breaking the codes and working on clues, and it gave me a good chance to see some of the teamwork dynamics in our class. It also gave students a chance to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for solving clues and working with others.
    • There were some students who really “got it” and others…not so much, or so it seemed during the Breakout itself. I had students do a self-reflection afterwards and it helped me see what they were thinking and how I can address their triumphs and concerns in future lessons and future Breakouts.
    • Hoping to do another in a couple weeks!
  4. Substitute Teachers
    • My co-op was away for 3 days last week, giving me the opportunity to work with a substitute teacher. It was a great experience!
    • It was interesting to see how students behaved around a guest teacher, yet how they stayed the same with me. It gave me confidence that my students really do respect and trust me in teaching.
    • Receiving feedback from another teacher was also very helpful. He noticed things that my co-op hadn’t mentioned before, and also encouraged me and praised my teaching abilities, which was a real positive boost.
  5. PhysEd
    • I took on another subject at the end of last week, PhysEd. Certainly not my favourite, and a little intimidating as it’s such a different dynamic from subjects that are primarily classroom-based.
    • Our PhysEd is set up in a way that I’m really sure I enjoy. We combine with the grade 6 class, and split the boys and girls. One groups has PhysEd and the other does health. One class a week each group has a 45 minute class, and then the other time we do the flip, either the boys OR the girls get 1 hour of PhysEd (rather than trying to get each group in for half an hour, which would really be about 15-20 minutes with transition time). This set up makes it really difficult/interesting to plan units, as one group has 2 lessons a week and the other just one.
    • On the up side, my first double class was a success, and my first hour long class with the boys was awesome! I’m learning more about class management and how things change in a gymnasium, and also how to connect to students in a new subject.

Teaching it busy, (It took me 4 days to write this post!) but I’m having so much fun! I’m going to really try to write more in the next couple weeks leading up to my 3-week block, as I find it such a great way to reflect on my thoughts.

Balancing everything at once…and kinda failing-Week Eight Reflection

Being busy is nothing new to me, I have the personality where I have to be busy or I get anxious. But I might have myself being too busy (which is really hard for me to say). I am very involved in extra-curricular at the school, especially with volleyball, it takes up the majority of my mornings, many afternoons and quite a few weekends. It also takes up a lot of my personal stresses, how can I help one player get their serves over, at the same time I am trying to correct someone else’s jump serve (I can’t even jump serve, I spent an entire night looking at videos to figure what she was doing wrong), and than there is all the extra stuff, like finding people to drive, and answering parents questions about every random thing they think of, and parents come up with random questions a lot.

I also have my actual teaching to do, I just picked up my fifth class, which means I still have four more to pick up. I now understand why those prep periods are so important for teachers, not because they actually need to prepare their lessons, but because they need to mark for their lessons. I have a stack sitting beside me that is ridiculous, and part of it is that I hate telling students they are not good enough to get 100. The feeling sucks, especially when you know how hard a student worked for a mark, but they make silly mistakes or  get lazy. Its hard to enjoy marking when you know that a student is going to be crushed because of their marks regardless of what they get unless it is 100. There is no winning, because students have been brought up with the expectation that they are supposed to be perfect. Students do not hear, its O.K. to make mistakes, and it will be OK if you get one bad mark, but their parents were raised in a time when marks mattered, a 100 was important, tests were the only way to evaluate and students are all the same. News flash: THIS IS ALL A LIE.

Marks matter very little, because no one cares what you got in a middle years math, but the school divisions care, because to them all the matters are the marks, not the students, not if the material taught is actually going to be carried over into the next year because obviously marks are the only way to measure student success. I am really starting to feel the pressure of students marks with report cards coming up in a few weeks. Do I assign more meaningless assignments, or do I stick to my teaching beliefs and only assign assessments that are meaningful and teach the students how to apply their learnings?  This is so frustrating! They give you all this great information in university but they never tell you that you will have to fight an uphill battle to actually apply the information.

I guess I will go back to marking, so that I can actually figure out how to write report cards for these students who do not want to see their marks, and parents who know that their children are way smarter than a mark a show.


Teaching Inequalities-Week Seven Reflection

This week I made a strong decision to start teaching about things that mean something to me. I spend a lot of time talking with those that know me about the inequalities of the world, but I have been nervous about bringing them into my own classroom. I have no idea why I have been nervous, I know that my students are great, and that they have strong and passionate ideas about everything, but I was very hesitant about bringing in the topic of inequalities up with these students. However, between the Treaty Ed Camp that I attended a few weekends ago, and the book I am reading “White Like Me” by Tim Wise, I have been feeling guilty about letting my fear get to me. So I decided to take a chance and have my students participate in a talking circle. With a class of 9, the circle covers a lot of information quickly and jumps topics fast. But I also get to make sure that all students get to voice their opinions, thoughts, and questions. Since this is a class that can be a little (or  a lot) wild, I thought it best to have students start with something small, so the first attempt was their name, and what they did on the weekend. Which led into 4 students watching the Jays defeat the Texas Rangers, this led to a student mentioning that at the game against the Orioles that someone threw a beer can at the ball, but the Jays issued an apology. Which some how spiraled off that the Jays, and the city should not be responsible for the actions of a fan, just like how the class should not be held responsible for the actions of one classmate, or that the actions of one person does not many that every person that looks like them, or acts like  them are responsible for the actions of the wrong-doer. These students, who have never really experienced a world outside of their own protect bubble could instantly grasp that just because one person does something wrong does not mean that every person of that race or culture is to blame. It was at this point that I was happy with my decision to bring in talking circles into the classroom.

Friday last class, or more specifically the last class of the week will be for the talking circle that allows for reflection. Friday was my holy crap moment, when a student, who is often regarded as being a nuisance in class, spoke up about an issue that was brought up in class. Earlier in the week Donald Trump released an image of the people voting for him, the largely red map concern all students in my class. I spent some time investigating and found out about the #repealthe19th movement currently happening. This one student spoke up saying women not being allowed to vote is as stupid as First Nations people not being able to vote, and going back to worse times did not make the world better, and people that thought it did clearly care more about themselves than the rest of the population. Coming from a student that appears to take very few things in life seriously you know that this is a strong opinion of his, which means that I finally feel like all the stuff I have been teaching them is actually getting through to them. I ended the class saying that each student is to do two nice things for people that they do not know, so I guess I will see where this goes on Monday. Overall the week was busy but beneficial for both the students and I.


Am I just too busy to notice how stressed I am? Week six of Internship

I have talked a bit with many of the people in my awesome middle year cohort, and I have talked with other interns about what they are going through, I have also talked to new teachers who remember their internship. The common question is, have you cried lately? The reality is that even when a lesson bombs, or I have a not great day teaching. I just do not have the time to whine about it. I always have another lesson to teach or a practice to coach, or something that matters more than sitting and stewing about something in the past. This was a short week, which I am so thankful for because the students needed a few days to refocus their learning. On Monday, I got to experience teaching my first 10/11 physical education lesson, and it was not great. I also completely forgot I was teaching it until 15 minutes before I started teaching. Therefore, the students had the opportunity to see how quickly I could improvise a lesson, lucky we are doing volleyball (sorry Kathy), which I coach so I know the skills. Wednesday was my holy crap day, I could not for the life of me get the technology to work which meant that my well planned lesson, which I was stealing from Amy Klassen, was just not  going to happen. Luckily, I always have a plan, which in this case was reading a few pages of the textbook and creating a visual image of the water cycle. None of this matters because ten minutes into my science class, the secretary came into my class to ask students for their immunization forms, for their needles, later that day. The rest of my class consisted of tracking down parents to get forms signed because the students believed if they did not take forms home, that they would not get needles. This may have been true if I had 30 students, but in grade 8 I have 5. So phoning parents, and explaining to them why their children did not bring their forms home even though they had them over two weeks ago. This task took up 15 minutes of my class, the rest of my class was spent taking five students who did not want needles, and calming them down. This trickled into the rest of my day holding handing, whipping tears, and doing anything to distract students of needles for my five students, and the six grade 6 students. Did I mention that I am petrified of needles? Out of everything, I have ever done during teaching, every hard discussion I have had. The hardest thing I have done is keep young students calm about needles, when every time I looked at a needle I thought I was going to throw up. Nevertheless, I did not, and every student got their needles, minus the fingernail indents in my wrist and hand, we all walked away happy and unscarred.

 

The rest of my week has consisted of Professional Development in Saskatoon at the Horizon School Division Literacy Summit 14. I love PD, I have always loved PD because it gives me a chance to learn something about a specific topic, but when I attend PD I want to attend it with people who are equally excited, people who want to learn as much, or more than me. When you have colleagues that don’t care, or only pick out the negatives of each speaker, than what is the point of going. Why is a school division making people who do not want to learn attend PD, they ruin it for those that want the discussion. I do not always agree with everything a presenter says, but at least I listen and openly consider what is being said, finding something you do not agree with is as much learning as finding things you do agree with, but how is it possible to disagree with everything? The research is changing.  Why are the teachers who refuse to change the ones who have job security, why are they never questioned, never reviewing their learnings and teaching philosophies? Why are first year teachers evaluated but thirty year teachers not, because they have been doing it for so long, or because people are too scared to question those that may have also taught their parents?

 

Are these really my concerns, or do I just have so many things that I need to be worried about that I am finding anything possible to distract me? Or is it just that I am not stressed? Is it possible that all of the stresses I experienced from last year, have nulled my ability to get stressed over the not great lessons and the time I stray from the curriculum, or do I just internally know that the curriculum only matters to those that are scared to mess up. I don’t care if I fail at a lesson, but I do care if I have every student dreading whenever I am in charge of teaching a lesson. Does that make me a weak teacher? I guess that depends who you ask.


Am I just too busy to notice how stressed I am? Week six of Internship

I have talked a bit with many of the people in my awesome middle year cohort, and I have talked with other interns about what they are going through, I have also talked to new teachers who remember their internship. The common question is, have you cried lately? The reality is that even when a lesson bombs, or I have a not great day teaching. I just do not have the time to whine about it. I always have another lesson to teach or a practice to coach, or something that matters more than sitting and stewing about something in the past. This was a short week, which I am so thankful for because the students needed a few days to refocus their learning. On Monday, I got to experience teaching my first 10/11 physical education lesson, and it was not great. I also completely forgot I was teaching it until 15 minutes before I started teaching. Therefore, the students had the opportunity to see how quickly I could improvise a lesson, lucky we are doing volleyball (sorry Kathy), which I coach so I know the skills. Wednesday was my holy crap day, I could not for the life of me get the technology to work which meant that my well planned lesson, which I was stealing from Amy Klassen, was just not  going to happen. Luckily, I always have a plan, which in this case was reading a few pages of the textbook and creating a visual image of the water cycle. None of this matters because ten minutes into my science class, the secretary came into my class to ask students for their immunization forms, for their needles, later that day. The rest of my class consisted of tracking down parents to get forms signed because the students believed if they did not take forms home, that they would not get needles. This may have been true if I had 30 students, but in grade 8 I have 5. So phoning parents, and explaining to them why their children did not bring their forms home even though they had them over two weeks ago. This task took up 15 minutes of my class, the rest of my class was spent taking five students who did not want needles, and calming them down. This trickled into the rest of my day holding handing, whipping tears, and doing anything to distract students of needles for my five students, and the six grade 6 students. Did I mention that I am petrified of needles? Out of everything, I have ever done during teaching, every hard discussion I have had. The hardest thing I have done is keep young students calm about needles, when every time I looked at a needle I thought I was going to throw up. Nevertheless, I did not, and every student got their needles, minus the fingernail indents in my wrist and hand, we all walked away happy and unscarred.

 

The rest of my week has consisted of Professional Development in Saskatoon at the Horizon School Division Literacy Summit 14. I love PD, I have always loved PD because it gives me a chance to learn something about a specific topic, but when I attend PD I want to attend it with people who are equally excited, people who want to learn as much, or more than me. When you have colleagues that don’t care, or only pick out the negatives of each speaker, than what is the point of going. Why is a school division making people who do not want to learn attend PD, they ruin it for those that want the discussion. I do not always agree with everything a presenter says, but at least I listen and openly consider what is being said, finding something you do not agree with is as much learning as finding things you do agree with, but how is it possible to disagree with everything? The research is changing.  Why are the teachers who refuse to change the ones who have job security, why are they never questioned, never reviewing their learnings and teaching philosophies? Why are first year teachers evaluated but thirty year teachers not, because they have been doing it for so long, or because people are too scared to question those that may have also taught their parents?

 

Are these really my concerns, or do I just have so many things that I need to be worried about that I am finding anything possible to distract me? Or is it just that I am not stressed? Is it possible that all of the stresses I experienced from last year, have nulled my ability to get stressed over the not great lessons and the time I stray from the curriculum, or do I just internally know that the curriculum only matters to those that are scared to mess up. I don’t care if I fail at a lesson, but I do care if I have every student dreading whenever I am in charge of teaching a lesson. Does that make me a weak teacher? I guess that depends who you ask.