Time goes by so fast

Summer vacation is pretty much here. I have two more days of packing up everything in my classroom, sorting through what is going with me and what is moving on to another teacher at another school. It’s a big job but I think… I hope… I’ll get it all done in good time by Tuesday. Friday I spent the first half of the day purging my cumulative files. It’s a huge job getting those records all done up. I’m glad I finished them so I can focus on other things. The rest of the day was spent cleaning, taking things off the walls, doing a little more sorting. There is just so much to do. I found it hard to focus sometimes because I would start one thing and then think of something else that needed to be done and get distracted. It’ll all get done though.

Today I slept in. It was glorious. I know I need to get caught up on my sleep. With everything that’s been going on lately, so many things that needed to be done for school, report cards, end of the year activities to be planned, photostory done up and then burned to disks, and before that the musical I was in… It’s been a very busy month. With all that going on, I let some of my self care slip away. I’ve noticed that I haven’t been eating as well, more convenience foods, and I stopped exercising. So today I started up my wii active routine again and tried to eat well. One of my goals for this summer is to get back into those good habits.

Summer time always goes by so quickly. Every year I have plans of all the things I’m going to get done over the summer and instead I get a few done and mostly relax. Relaxing is important too, but I have a few things I want to focus on this summer so that at the end I’ll feel like I’ve used my time wisely.

First off, I’m auditioning again for Mostly the Moment theatre company for their second season. I’ve been re-bitten by the theatre bug and am really excited about getting back into it again. The auditions are in three weeks so I’ll be spending some time choosing and practicing a monologue and song. Hopefully after that three weeks I’ll be learning a new show.

I have four weddings I’ve been invited to in August, September and October plus a bachelor party in August, so some of my time this summer will be planning for and going to these weddings. Plus I’ve been asked to sing at one of them so I’ll be getting ready for that.

I want to spend more time in my garden this summer.

For school I won’t be able to get into my classroom until late August so I want to be able to focus on setting up my classroom then. Earlier I want to spend some time going through my files, re-thinking some of my systems, trying to put more of my organizational systems (marking, planning, filing) on computer rather than on paper. And I want to make some videos to go with some of the songs I use for Intensive French.

I know that the time will go quickly, and suddenly we’ll be back to school. I’ll be at a new school with new colleagues and new students. I want to get the most out of the time I’ll have.


Day full of tears

Today was my last day with my class. It was an emotional one in a way I didn’t expect. Every year, especially since I’ve taught grade 5 for the past three years, there are always a few tears. Moving on to middle school is a challenging thing. But this year takes the cake for tears.

We had a great morning together. We did an author’s celebration first thing, had some veggies and fruit, watched some of a movie we had started on Wednesday, then went out early for recess when the SMART Board over-heated. After recess I got them started on an art project involving making a puzzle of their years of elementary and left them in Mrs. W’s capable hands while I went off to my new school to meet my new class. More on that later.

After I came back we had some cake that one of the parents brought in and it was time for lunch. Through all this, there was some of the usual boisterousness of the class, and there were times when I felt the frustration of wanting this one day to be perfect and me not have to raise my voice. We watched their photostory that I made for them and laughed at funny pictures then, when the smart board over-heated again, I asked them what game they would like to play. Surprisingly, they wanted to play musical chairs, so fine, we played musical chairs. There were some bumps and “that’s not fair” and “he sat on me” but we got through the game and it was off to the gym for a school wide viewing of the year in review photostory. This is where things went off.

Like I said, I usually have a few that cry. I’m usually one of the people who cries. But this was unbelievable. Almost all of my girls and some of my boys were in tears. Most of the girls were sobbing loudly. I was blessed with some very lovely kind girls this year. I had not expected them to be so overwhelmed with emotions today. Maybe it was because it was so hot. Maybe it was because it was a full day instead of the usual half day. Whatever it was, they cried through the photostory, they cried back in the classroom. I put on the movie again, things calmed down a little, then another student was picked up early. I tried taking them out to play soccer baseball, the gym teacher had this giant pink inflated ball out in the field, they just wanted to sit in the shade and cry. I cried a few times too. I find it very hard not to cry especially when people I care about are crying. So we cried and talked about their fears and about how awesome middle school is going to be and how much they’re going to enjoy it. Then we scrambled to tidy the classroom a bit (a very little bit) and I handed out their report cards and sent them on their way.

This has been a very challenging year for me, easily my most difficult so far. I had some amazing students in my class and some more difficult. On top of that we started out with a new principal, who was wonderful, but new so that took some adjustment. She retired mid-year so there was another new principal, plus other staff changes all at once, preparations for the new school and all the changes and uncertainty that came with that, and to top it all off, the districts merging together which is causing so much change and upheaval. I’m so glad to be able to look forward to a little bit of rest and relaxation this summer, but I will miss this class, as challenging as they were.

I also have a new class and a new school to look forward to. I was lucky enough to be able to go up to my new school this morning for a “moving up” event that they have where all the students get to spend half an hour in their new class with their new teacher. Now I don’t have a classroom yet; my classroom is currently part of the library. They’re going to build a wall and put up boards and such this summer. The other grade 5 teacher and I had all the grade 4s come into his classroom and together we talked a bit about the intensive French program and about ourselves and had a chance to meet our new kids. Amazingly enough, I recognized two of the kids, one who was in a grade 2 class where I taught for two weeks and one from my first year of supply teaching from a Kindergarten class where I used to volunteer! Fredericton is a small town!

Can’t wait!

A Change of Scenery

First off, I’m writing this from my new playbook, so it’s going to be short. I felt the need to update since so much has been happening lately at school and home.

Last weekend I was so privileged to be a part of a musical with a new theatre company in Fredericton and all three nights of the show we had amazing audiences. I have officially been re-bitten by the theatre bug. It took up a lot of time but it was very much worth it.

In other news, I found out on Tuesday that I got bumped out of my job. Luckily my principal waited and didn’t tell me Friday because she didn’t want to ruin my big weekend. Monday I was out sick so she told me on Tuesday when she could also luckily tell me that I was being offered another position. So I’ll be at a new school next year, still teaching grade 5. Change is challenging for me but I’m glad that I know several of the people that I’m going to be working with and it’s a school where I used to supply teach.

I told my grade 4 class today that I won’t be their teacher next year and that was very hard not to cry, but mostly I am excited. So much packing and work to do and only four teaching days left!


Sandwiching comments

It’s been a while since I’ve done a public post on here. Life has been busy over the past two months but I feel the need to write something publicly today.

One of the things that I’ve found very important in my classroom is making sure that I give compliments along with what I want a student to work on. When they’re giving a presentation or I’m conferencing with them on their writing, I try to make sure that they hear what they are doing right as well as areas that need to be improved. It’s the same with everyone really. Who wants to hear just their faults, just the things they need to improve without any praise?

I’ve been teaching this skill to my students as well. When a classmate shares a piece of writing, or a project for example, I ask the class to give comments and ask questions. Today, for example, one of my students shared a piece of writing that she’s been working on for a while. She’s not one of my strongest students but she’s improving a great deal with her writing. A few students had some questions about what had happened in her story and one gave a great idea of something that she could change. Another student said “I really liked your story” which isn’t enough for me. “What did you like about her story?” I asked. “I liked how much dialogue she used. It helped me see the story as it was happening.” – I love it when they start using phrases like that that they’ve heard from me, especially when it’s true, she does use a lot of dialogue and it does help to make her story more real.

I’m proud of my students and how far they’ve come. I’m proud of myself as well for doing as well as I have this year. I know that things were not perfect this year and I know that there were many pitfalls and difficult times. But there are moments like that where I can take pride in what I have done as a teacher.