True Transformation

Each day, I try to venture out of my office and into the classrooms within my school. And when I do, I am impressed and excited by what I see.

Our kindergarten room has a new building corner complete with blueprints, clipboards, maps, blocks and books. In fact, the kindergarten class is planning a field trip to downtown Edmonton to take pictures of the tall, tall buildings. Last week I walked into a grade six classroom just in time to witness a group presenting their business plan and marketing strategies to the class. They answered questions from their peers with ease. Sometimes I see a grade one student lapping the halls with a weighted lizard in his arms. If you didn’t know, you’d wonder what he was up to. I happen to know that these quick laps have increased his ability to focus and stay on task dramatically.

Education has certainly changed since I was a student. To be honest, it has changed significantly in the last ten years since I have been a full time classroom teacher. These changes have been necessary to cope with the changing societal demands and the changing students within our classrooms. It can be hard to keep up sometimes: but it’s certainly worth it! So are the trips out of my office…

Are you ready?

Spring has knocked on our door. Today when I walked the dog there were fewer puddles to avoid. I noticed a little girl on a bike and a boy on a scooter. The chances of slipping on ice are less with each day of melting. Barbecue smells have begun to waft through the early evening air once again. My winter boots, gloves and scarves are ready for summer hibernation. I’ve even considered putting away my snow brush but I’ve lived in Edmonton too many years to tempt fate.

Each day brings us closer to a well deserved Spring Break. It won’t be long now…

Lessons from children

Despite what is going on in my world, I am fortunate to be surrounded by the innocence and exuberance of children. A foul mood or a painful back are no competition for the impassioned hugs of children. Their words, their excitement and their love make every day precious.

Last week, two high school teachers visited our school. They acknowledged how difficult and demanding it is to teach in an elementary school. At our level, we teach so much more than curriculum. We teach turn-taking, habit-making, social skills, citizenship, self-management and hygiene. The lessons are often spontaneous and timely.

Despite the demands of our job, elementary school is where I love to be. A frustrating day quickly turns around when a little one exclaims with great enthusiasm, “Look! I found the letter M!” Children discover simple pleasures in every day moments.

“The soul is healed by being with children.” Fyodor Dostoevsky

Teachers, teachers and more teachers!

Teachers are a breed of their own. I can spot them anywhere.

What is it about us? What we wear? How we present ourselves? How is it that we are so easily identifiable? My stepdaughter teases me when we are shopping: “That’s a teacher outfit!” I remind her again and again, that yes, I am a teacher.

On Thursday and Friday, thousands of teachers invaded downtown Edmonton. I wonder what the everyday downtowners think of these days when parking becomes scarce and they are overrun by teachers (teachers who are so excited to be in a restaurant for lunch in the middle of a work week no less)!

In a room full of teachers, the humour touches our shared experience. References to 5 minute lunches, adventures on supervision, words said in front of sixth graders that you immediately regret (“hold on to your balls” for instance). Yes, I’m guilty of that one in a grade six phys. ed. class: a mistake you only make once.

Being a teacher is not the easiest way to earn a living. It is physically and emotionally demanding. Yet, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Yes, I am a teacher and proud of it, too.