Tuesday, 29 March 2016

I can't help it

Currently I'm filling in for a core French teacher.  I have 8 classes a day, most are 30 minutes in length.  I'm jumping in right in the middle of the year, into things the teacher was already doing.  She gave me a few papers and worksheets I could do.  I may only be here for a few more days, but I may have two or three weeks.

And I can't help myself.  We are making a movie.

It's a big project.  It will take lots of planning on my part and serious focus on the student's part.  But already today, on the first day, I had kids asking if they could have "more french classes."  I had some excited for a double french period I swung with their teacher.  I've increased my workload but I can't help it.  It's just the sort of teacher I am.  It's my passion and I'm bringing it into the class to teach them french.

With a whole book of worksheets I could easily be photocopying and handing out the next page in the book for the next month (or longer.)  But I couldn't do that as a teacher anymore than I would like it as a student.

I feel like I'm bursting.  I've been asked to join a small group of teachers who are passionate about project based learning.  My bedtime reading is pamphlets and books and videos of other schools operating in the margins like this.  I'm in contact again with my own grade five teacher who taught this way and inspired my entire view of education.  If you ask, I will go on at length.  In fact, I apologize to all of you who will have to bend a listening ear.  I can't keep it all in.

Some days it kills me that I've got to wait two years (while getting my degree) until I can run with a class of my own.  Other days I can't wait to have 29 other people whose ear's I can chew off.  I'm grateful for this new group I'll meet on Thursday.  My "tribe" (love their term).  Passion is pouring out of me.  I'm buzzing and bursting and floating and hitting the ground running.  I can't help it.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

The one thing I don't let my kids get away with

Juliette has lately developed a very strange illness...when it is time to tidy up her arms suddenly become very sore and tired.  Uh uh.  No way.  Tidying up is something I've never let any of my kids get out of.  The bathroom can wait five minutes, or we can leave a few minutes late for an appointment, or dinner can be warmed.

I've noticed the same thing when I'm supply teaching at schools.  I have a very lax policy on leaving the class.  Unless there are strict rules in place by the teacher, I have no problem with kids needing to walk around and stretch their legs (often under the guise of bathroom or water fountain breaks.) I've noticed some kids need to leave frequently throughout the day and there is no way their bladders are that small.  More likely is that they are like lions in a cage and those four walls are driving them a little batty.  But at the end of the day when it's time to get the classroom back in order, I close and seal the door.  Inevitably there are at least a half dozen kids who suddenly have to use the bathroom, and their faces are priceless when I firmly turn them back.

I also get a lot of "but my desk is clean" or "I can't stay after the bell" or "I'm already done my chore."  I reply that the door will not open again until the entire class is cleaned up, and if they can't stay then they should help someone else finish.  If they are done, they should help someone else.  Check the floor, check the desks, check something that still needs doing.

I'm sure it might become a thing I am known for, but that is okay with me.

Friday, 4 March 2016


Movie night tonight: Tangled.  But at the end when Rapunzel was reunited with her parents, Juliette wasn't satisfied.  "But where are her brothers?  She can't be happy ever after without brothers."

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


We're in.

Starting September 2016, James and I will both take two years to attend teacher's college.  Together.  At the same time.  What an adventure.  We've spent the last 12 years building a family business and raising a family.  Now we are entering the next stage of our lives, and, as always, we are doing it together.

Juliette starts school in September.  So we will see them off on the school bus, then hop in a car together and drive over to Waterloo.  Two years together, in school, completing assignments, working on projects, and creating lesson plans.  Some have said we're crazy, but honestly, we love working together.

There's only one (very small) problem...from kindergarten to university graduation, both James and I were number one in our classes.  So now, one of us will have to settle for second :)