Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Blank Space

I spent the majority of today (plus two days last week) prepping my first ever classroom for my Grade 3's that start on Friday. I spent hours cutting, laminating, moving, blu-taccing and googling all to end up feeling as though I have nowhere near enough to start the school year. 
Still looks too bare to me

I am quite fortunate in that I have a decent sized classroom to play with so maybe that adds to that 'empty' feeling. It is probably no help that

Sunday, 25 January 2015

I AM!!

I was feeling pretty tops today. I can’t really explain it but I was just feeling grand. I had my beautiful two-year old niece here overnight while my sister and her husband went in to the city for a show (I believe it was ‘The Illusionists’ and I am told it was excellent). I woke up feeling rested (a nice change after moving to the noisy suburbs), I felt energised and encouragingly, I felt healthy. The christmas and new year really give your health a solid beating and I have been working real hard of late to get back on track in preparation for what is going to be a whizz-bang busy year.

So, as a result of feeling wonderful and wanting to make sure I do something good for myself, I went for a jog. I like jogging but must admit that it took me over 30 years to feel like that. When I jog I like to completely zone out and forget my troubles, let go of my fears and calm my anxieities. It is akin to meditating I guess and I truly just go completely zen (I fear that if I don’t I will realise how buggered I am and stop running).

Today was a little different as circumstances this week see a million and one new things on the immediate horizon. You see, I am a graduate teacher and on Friday I become the proud leader/ coach/ counsellor/ confidant of 23 (possibly more) eagle-eyed grade 3 students. That’s right, I get to be a teacher; not just a casual teacher** (which I have had a school terms worth of experience as) but a fully fledged, ‘this is my class’ kind of teacher.

** I would like to note that I have nothing against casual teaching as I believe it is an extremely tough job. I do however acknowledge the big differences of being a casual teacher to being a permanent classroom teacher.

My mind, during this job was consumed by thoughts of how do I begin my year with my class? Do I jump right in and talk about rules and expectations (as equally boring as it is necessary)? Do I entertain the troops with one after the other ‘getting to know you’ type activities (also necessary I will admit but thankfully not boring)? Or can I just let them know me, know what I can do for them and introduce myself to them as their biggest cheerleader? Can I teach them to be their own cheerleader?

You see, I have been thinking about our theme for our Challenge Based Learning (learn more about CBL here) topic for term 1; Identity. It’s a really broad topic and I feel really excited about it because it occurred to me on my jog that I can really incorporate the theme of identity from the very first minute of being a classroom teacher. It dawned on me that I am a teacher, I am a coach, I am important to someone, I am special and all these other I ams that this could really be the catalyst for a great year.

Made using wordle.net
This light-bulb moment made me realise that I want to introduce myself to my class as someone important to them. I want them to listen to all the I ams that I can come up with for me and I want them to think about what they are. I want my students to stand up and proudly say ‘I am someone’, ‘I am important’ or ‘I am worth listening to’. I want to lead my class to share their ‘I am’ moments and teach them to set goals and reach them and be proud of their achievements (even if they don’t fully reach their goals).

You see, I don’t want to just be ANOTHER teacher in these kids lives. I want to be that one person they can all look back on in 20 years time and remember for all the good reasons. I want them to have a year they will remember forever. I want them to learn and have fun. I want them to set personal goals (not just academic ones) and I want to help them and encourage them to achieve any or all of them.

I AM important to these young minds, I AM a driver of positive change and I AM responsible for making a difference that achieves great results now and in to the future.
Who are you? Finish this sentence; “I AM……”.