Thursday, September 22, 2005

Meet the creature night

My first meet the teacher night (now called curriculum night) was mostly successful. I have about 7 families show up in total. Not many questions for me, I guess that’s a good sign, I was thorough enough?? I felt I gave a pretty dry explanation of Kindergarten though…not really sure if they understood it all or not. I was done in less than 20 minutes with my little talk. As I let them all go, I realized I should have gotten them to look at the art in the room that we spent so much time working on! Drats! Next time I’ll remember! 2 extra hours at night, and 7 out of 27 families show up. Great.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Have you ever…

Have you ever gone to work and by the end of the day, wonder to yourself, why on earth am I doing this? What makes me really qualified to do this?? Why did I think this would be fun?

The realities of teaching has started to set in. This is the first day that the weather has not been sunny. It rained basically all day. My morning Kindergarten class were off the wall. I felt as if I had lost a degree of control over the class. With all my experiences, rarely have I felt this distress.

In the afternoon, I supplied for a grade 4 class, which was not any better. In fact, was much worst in terms of behaviour. I barely made it through the afternoon with my sanity intact.

As I prepare to start on my own on Monday, the class is still not set up the way I want it to be, nor do I have plans for next week. It feels as if all my years of training for this job is just slipping by and not sticking. I have some ideas, but at times, I feel as if I’m in over my head.

Even with the assistance of an E.A., the current class of 26 students is craziness as it is. Starting on Monday, I will get one more! The more the merrier right? Even if the class shrunk by 6 students, it would make a world of difference. There are enough children in the room already considering the age.

Do I have second thoughts…yes. Will I survive…I hope so!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Downtown living…signed and sealed!

So it’s finalized. The cooling period is now officially over, and in a little over 2 years, I will be a proud first time home owner of a downtown condo unit. Now, all I need is a steady job to pay for this sucker… still pending on permanent position.

Some options being discussed actually including renting the place out for an unspecified amount of time. This will hopefully offset some of the costs as well as facilitate the process of actually saving some money to start. Over the course of two years, I could save enough for a new car, or buy a parking spot in the building and a used car. Or I could put that money into savings. Even graduate studies if I wished, but that will require even more money to support myself while not in a salary earning position.

As exciting as having money is though, having freedom can also be rather exciting. Will I be able to survive another 4 years (instead of the planned 3)? Is the extra year going to be worth the wait in the end?

Like everything else…only time will tell.

First day of school

Although I didn’t have a class of my own to attend on the first day of school, I went to help out my friend Matt at his first class. There are just so many little things that need to be done and not enough time to do them, especially when only given a short amount of time to set it all up.

I had a blast working in Matt’s grade 1 class. It really is hard to work under pressure and still try implementing best practices. I gave many suggestions on how to make things run smoothly, but all of those were merely reminders to things he already knows already.

All the best to my fellow colleagues in their very first class.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Paper Chef 10

After a long, over-extended period of time, I finally got to hang out with PM again. Boy did I have a fun time. I had gone over after finalizing some things with the new condo with my parents and the developer.

PM told me about this online version of the iron chef and the requirements and I was instantly intrigued. We had spent the next 20-30 minutes talking over possibilities on how to incorporate the theme ingredients as well as how to present the dish so that it is as appealing as possible.

We came up with: Beer pork and shrimp ‘New Orleans’ Siu Mei

Here are photos of what we made:

PM's Blog can be viewed here.

Friday, September 02, 2005

And so it begins…

I will likely be writing about my work quite a bit now that I have some work to do instead of sitting at home, watching cooking and interior decorating shows!

I went in today for the first time. I got some memos to read and went over some students’ Ontario Student Records (OSRs) for the SKs in the class. I was really surprised that most of them hadn’t gone into childcare at some point or to a drop in program in the area. I’ll have to talk to the Early Years coordinators to see if that can change in this community. Students who have gone in to childcare or to a drop in program are much more prepared for school because they’ve had to learn social skills before going into school.

Then I found out that the class was going to have 27 students!!! OMG! Am I in for a shock or what!?! The good thing is that there will likely be an E.A. in the room as well. But still, a primary class with any more than 20 students are just a disaster waiting to happen. The teacher ends up just making sure everyone is safe and it is not a zoo, instead of doing any actual teaching. It will be a very interesting time, that’s for sure. The PM class will have 26.

I asked the principal what would happen if both classes remain this high, or higher, and she said she will likely need to open another class. I asked because I’m hoping I would get the half time position in the afternoon. Unfortunately, another teacher in the school has already put in her wishes for a Kindergarten class. My future is really up in the air right now, which does drive me nuts, but at least I know I’ll be working until December in the mornings.

I will NOT be working the first day of school though. The teacher going on leave will be settling in the students on her own, then she’ll call me in when she feels comfortable to have me around. I really wished I was able to be there the first day, however, I understand the teacher wants her own space. I’m really excited about seeing the students!

I helped the teacher set up a little in her room (a little bit, by putting up some corkboard paper), and tried to stay out of her way while she does her stuff. I got the grand tour of the school as well. My position is rather limited since I’m only there in the morning, but it will give me a chance to supply in the afternoon and get to know the school a bit better. I might even take up an Additional Qualifications (AQ) course during the school year, since I have the time. I would prefer to be working, of course, so I’ll have to see how that goes.

The trials and tribulations of a first year teacher continues…

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I finally caught one!

Getting a job is quite an exciting proposition. I finally got one! After months of work, rather, sitting, it has finally paid off. After 6 interviews, 5 declines, 1 offer and 1 acceptance, I now have a job for September. It is a long term occasional (LTO) position in JK/SK in the morning. I will be contracted to be there from September to the end of December, with a possibility of an extension. The sweetest part of the deal is that I don’t have to set up a classroom the day before school starts. The teacher going on leave has already set up the classroom and will even be there in class for the first two weeks! I’ll be starting the year with her and getting time to watch before I really start on my own. The principal did warn that the school is considered “inner city” meaning, the students and families can be more of a challenge than other places, and the class will be boy heavy. I forgot to ask about educational assistants, but it should be ok. There will be approximately 24 students. It is a pretty big class actually. I’m hoping that the numbers will go high enough to open a new class. But who knows. I will probably be taking some odd supply teaching jobs until I can find more permanent work within this school or other places.

This is the first interview that ended with the vice-principal chasing and calling after me to come back to the office to offer me the job! I thought that was quite amusing.