A Year in the Life: TEC Blog
February 2010: Last Two Weeks of School
Unbelievable! We have two weeks left of class and everything is falling into place. Interviews started last week for the occasional teachers list for the Waterloo Region District School Board and classmates have been sneaking out of class, not so inconspicuously, wearing suits and grinning nervously. School projects are coming to a climax and tapering off right before March break, when we all start planning furiously for our 6-week practicums.
This week is no less momentous as the Junior/Intermediate students are being placed in high schools and the Primary/Junior students are shadowing at different elementary schools. I, for one, am grateful for this high school experience as Iím hoping it will make my grade 8 class, whom Ií m spending my last practicum with, seem like little kids. Actually, thatís not too hard to do as there are still boys who have barely cracked the 5-foot mark.
I went trolling The Dollar Store this weekend looking for props for my integers unit and came home with a lot of pens and some fake money. Didnít find exactly what I was looking for, but still managed to spend more money than I was planning on.
Itís hard to believe that a mere 6 months ago we were all just starting out on this journey. I can still remember my first lesson. I had no idea how to plan at that stage and it was a disaster. I wanted to teach the students everything I knew in one lesson; I stood at the front and spewed forth my wisdom. Now, I understand that the best learning comes when the lesson has one strong focus and the students are actively engaged, not passive recipients.
My second practicum was much better than my first, in terms of my teaching ability. However, I was finishing up projects on Sunday night and starting teaching on Monday morning, so my planning was not quite what I wanted it to be. Going into practicum three, I will have a whole week to prepare and already, Iíve been dreaming about fun activities and performance tasks to do with my classes. Who says integers canít be fun? Not me!
On a personal note, I am also still amazed at the amount of planning teachers do on a daily basis. I honestly think people in the business world would be shocked at the day-to-day planning involved in teaching. I am embarrassed to say that even I was clueless to the fact that teachers prepare all of their own lessons and units Ė and my sister is a teacher! As a new teacher, this is definitely the most difficult part of the job Ė for me, that is. I love the actual teaching part. Actually, I love coming up with cool lessons too, it just takes a little longer to master teaching from the curriculum.
In contrast, work days in the corporate world were quite a bit longer, but much less intense because you had a lot more "me" time Ė time sitting at your computer checking email, going for coffee, or chit-chatting to cube mates. They were also much less personally rewarding, which is why I am here at school. However, I do think there are some lessons to be learned from the corporate world; they are great at sharing resources and working in teams. Donít get me wrong, the school Iím at does an amazing job of group planning, however, there are 155,000 teachers in Ontario, all working off of the same curriculum. Why, oh why, do we not do a better job of sharing resources and lessons? I have heard that some boards are better than others for this, but in this digital age there really is no excuse for not being more systematic about it.
Obviously, part of the problem is a lack of technology at the schools. Teachers just donít have enough projectors and Smart Boards to go around, meaning that most lessons are not digital, and therefore, not easily shared. Hopefully in the next 10 years someone (Minister of Education?) will find some money to make this a priority. Hmm, Iím got more political than I was planning. I donít think you can talk about education without talking politics, can you?
2 people have commented
1 Victoria Smith - 14 Mar 2010
Dear Tammy - THANK YOU for your blogs this year! As a hopeful, prospective TEC I have to say that you've covered just about any topic that we applicants could have wondered about! I've been following since August - it's helped to keep me both excited and realistic. (...and very glad to hear there are so many of us 'mature' students on the same journey.) Thanks for your humour and for 'shooting straight from the hip'!
2 Tammy G - 5 May 2010
Thanks Victoria. It's been a cathartic process for me. I always worry that I don't censor myself enough, but a little too late for that now, isn't it?! lol Best of luck to you!