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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Education
October 31, 2014

Canadian Excellence

A Year in the Life: TEC Blog

August 2009: camp: Welcome to your new home!

Camp was a lot like, well, camp! We got to meet the faculty and fellow students Ė all 140 of them Ė and played some typical "get to know you" games. Like any big change, it was a little stressful. The first thing I did was look for someone I knew. To my delight, I found someone and sat beside her; a fellow mature student whom I knew from high school. Nice start - a buddy to sit beside in class and eat my lunch with. Itís a little like speed dating. You meet all sorts of new people, and you try to decide in the first 30 seconds if you could see yourself being "friends" with them.

We were introduced to the technology, got our laptops, and were put into our sections: A & B (primary/junior) and C & D (junior/intermediate). So my new friend was in P/J and I was in J/I so I had to start branching out.

It was kinda funny how there was a lot of chatter about whom had kids, some in their 20s, some their 30s and even some in their 40s! There is definitely an instant bond when you meet someone in a similar situation. Going to school with kids at home was not going to be easy, we all agreed. My daughter is only 16 months old, but I met more than one mom who was still breastfeeding! Talk about a challenge.

While it is extremely difficult to balance the demanding life of being a mom with homework, it is also motivating. Every time I send my daughter to a sitter so I can get some work done, I think, "Iím doing this for you honey!" I am leaving the corporate world, where my days were long, travel was mandatory, and my holidays were still just three weeks a year. In this world, Christmas Eve is not a holiday and I plugged in my laptop every night and every weekend. I loved what I did, but I just couldnít see myself doing it for another 20-30 years. Plus, at the end of the day my main concern was making the company money, or saving the company money. As an altruistic person by nature (I grew up in a socially active family), I had to focus on the intrinsic satisfaction of knowing I was doing a good job to get myself through the days. I wanted more out of my life than that, to know I had made a difference in someoneís life, not just some dollar signs attached to my name. And so, here I am, looking to start over as a teacher.

I thought for sure I would be the epitome of efficiency, dedication and passion. I pictured myself handing in assignments early and begging for more. Well, at least my intentions were good. Unfortunately it didnít work out that way. During camp, before actual classes began I downloaded everything I could find on WebCT, the web-based document/assignment management tool that the school uses. I apparently missed finding the syllabus for each course, which isnít under "course content". So as a result, I showed up to my first class and realized that I was already behind on my readings *Sigh*

The reality is that this course work is heavy. We have 20 hours of classes a week, and we spend 14 hours in our placement school a week, which equals 34 hours, not including lunches or dinners while weíre at Laurier. So, I spend every night with my laptop, my text books and the background noise of the television working on course work and lesson plans. *Sigh*

I spent a lot of time thinking about becoming a teacher, so by the time I actually got here I thought it would fit like a glove. I thought I would sit down at the desk and think, "This is it! This is what I was meant to do!" I was expecting "teaching 101," which would include easy-to-use techniques, coupled with inspiring stories about how we can make a difference in student lives. Not quite the way it turned out. I think I found it difficult because there are seven different courses that we take right off the bat so it takes a little while for all of the pieces to come together.

Iíll admit, during the first two weeks of school I didnít think I could do it. After two weeks I was exhausted. As I contemplated quitting each and every night, I told myself, "This is what I was born to do and I will!"

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