As a new teacher, I have been sharing my learning journey from the Faculty to the Field since early 2016. I have contributed in many ways; whether it was through a series of blog posts on my website, podcast episodes with Que sera Sarah, Twitter chats, EdTech Team Summits or even live radio shows such as #onEdMentors. I have continuously taken the risk in opening up my journey for people to read/listen and hopefully be inspired. This openness has allowed me to reflect, share my highs and lows, receive constructive feedback, have a dialogue with other educators as well as contribute to the world of teacher candidates and new teachers in an online space and beyond.
As a recent graduate of the University of Ottawa, I am very fortunate to have gotten hired in June of 2018 for a full time teaching position with the school board of my dreams! I am now working in a small rural school, only a short distance away from my house, teaching grade 9 and 10. I must admit that my previously mentioned involvement in blogging, PD sessions, and social media allowed me to be visible to the school board of my dreams and most definitely helped in the hiring process.
Fast forward many months… As I have now completed my first official high school semester! (Insert celebration song) Marking ✔ Exams ✔ Report cards ✔ First semester ✔ Without a doubt, closing off this semester is bittersweet. It is the first of MANY. Thankfully, this natural transition has allowed me to take the time for a quick pause to reflect on how I was not only able to survive but thrive through my first semester of teaching. In the end, I broke it down into 5 main ideas.
Accept what you do not know and allow yourself to grow. Each question you ask is a learning opportunity to add to your knowledge and baggage that you are continuously building, processing and using. I must admit that I used to be a student who was petrified of asking questions… It wasn’t until I understood the concept of Growth Mindset that I began embracing the fact that I could be curious and seek new knowledge without feeling vulnerable for not knowing the answer.
Asking questions also has a lot to do with being curious about the people around you - ask them questions, be interested in them. You never know what you might have in common with them and what relationships may come out of it! In addition, don’t only ask others questions, but don’t forget to question yourself. Keep examining your practice and taking the time to reflect. Reflection is the seed you plant, and putting that practice in place allows you to grow.
I feel as though it is fair to say that: “At the beginning of your teaching career, no one necessarily knows who they are.” I believe it is important to know who you are currently, who you want to be and how you want to get there. Naturally, you have to understand that there are so many experiences to be had to allow you to develop tons of your teaching self; that is a mindset I adopted early on in September. I believe that... In order to be the best version of yourself as an educator, you have to stay true to who you are and your core values. There’s no better feeling in the world than when you can be yourself in front of the class and a group of students. So, be proud of who you are and be your authentic self! Students can smell a phony from a mile away ;) When you show your true colours, students are more prone to feel comfortable demonstrating who they are with you… it’s in the classroom culture!
I hesitated to put this advice in the blog, but I realized that this was a huge component in my success this semester. Evidently, there is a fine line in the infamous concept of finding balance. On one hand, you do not want to take on too much; you need to be aware of your time management; be conscious of your mental health and overall workload… But on the other hand, you’re a new teacher and everything is so new and exciting. Plus, if you’re passionate like me, you want to get involved in everything. You want to show that you are interested, curious and willing to contribute because that’s what DRIVES you.
What I have already learned about that ^^^ is:
Prioritizing is a skill I am constantly developing and my mindset for 2019 is: If it’s not a “hell yes” when I am asked to do something, then it’s a no. So focus on what is IMPORTANT to you and brings meaning to your work. A good start would be deciding what IS truly important to you and where you can put your time and energy. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
mentorship matters (yes again!)
As a new teacher, I am currently in the process of completing my NTIP(aussi connu sous le nom de PIPNPE en français) where I have been associated with a mentor in my school and must complete 2 evaluations from my principal. In my opinion, the most important aspect of this program is the mentorship. I must admit, my in-school mentorship has saved me. Big time! Being able to choose an educator who is able to support me in every aspect of my teaching, in who I feel I can confide in and trust changes the game.
I also got involved in the #OnEdMentorsConnect program with Noa Daniel and Leigh Cassel. I had the pleasure of being mentored by Eryka Desrosiers, an innovative English teacher in Quebec. We documented our mentee and mentor conversations through sketchnotes, Google Docs, and a couple podcasts. Take a listen to our first one here. (If you are a new teacher looking for a mentor, do not be shy to reach out to myself, Noa or Leigh!)
The thing about mentorship is that your mentor/mentee relationship does not have to be “official” through a program; it can be informal and sometimes you may have people who are not even aware they are mentoring you. Many members of your PLN could mentor you in different ways. All things considered, my advice is to not be scared to find someone to lean on. Find educators, find experts, ask them questions and build relationships with them.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF
Lastly, and most importantly... Don’t try and be the teacher across from you, or the teacher you saw on Instagram or the teacher who won the best teacher award three years in a row…
During an OnEdMentors show, a line from new teacher Karaline Vlahopoulos shared some wise words: Do not compare your Chapter 1 to someone’s Chapter 7, 15 or even 23! If you’re interested in listening to that conversation, you can catch it here.
Simply be happy with where you are RIGHT now. If you keep a growth mindset, ask questions, be yourself, stop comparing and find people to support you - I can almost promise that you will be able to live a successful first year of teaching.
Going into my second semester, I am going to take my own advice. Keep my focus on what works, ask myself how I can improve and continuously try and find balance.
An extra resource I want to share for any new teachers reading is the free Disillusionment Power Pack from Roxanna Elden. “The Disillusionment Power Pack is a free, one-month series of the emails I'd send to the first-year-teacher version of myself. I don't send these emails to most of the people on my mailing list, nor will you find them on my website. They are my small experiment in over-sharing for new teachers who are having really bad days right now. If that's you, sign up below to receive emails every few days for one month. Which, as you'll see soon, might be all you really need.” I felt as though the e-mails found in my Inbox really spoke to me and what I was going through that week - yes, kind of like magic. You can sign up to receive these emails at: RoxannaElden.com
Salut, cher lecteur, et merci d'être ici!
En mai, j’ai eu le plaisir absolu d’être engagé par le CSDCEO. J’ai accepté un poste à temps plein régulier à l’École secondaire catholique Le Relais à Alexandria, Ontario. J’ai la chance d’enseigner les élèves de 9e et 10e année en English, Français et Histoire ce semestre; ainsi que English, Histoire et Géographie le semestre prochain. Les billets de blogues que j’envisage publier seront axés sur mon cheminement en enseignement. Étant toute nouvelle dans cette profession, j’ai encore beaucoup à apprendre, donc pourquoi ne pas le documenter ici! Depuis 4 semaines j’ai vécu ma première rentrée scolaire. Une occasion de partir sur le bon pied avec tes élèves, apprendre à les connaître, faire des diagnostics, créer des communautés d’apprentissage qui ont un climat de classe positif, etc. Voici ma réflexion par rapport à ces dernières 4 semaines.
(Disclaimer : All of my blogs are going to be completely bilingual!)
Recently, I’ve been living moments where I am pulling into the school parking lot, unlocking my classroom or simply walking through the hallways at break when I have stopped and am struck with this feeling of gratitude and wonder. I think to myself: “Wow, I am a teacher. This is my school. I have students. I have co-workers. I am so happy.” I have told a lot of people this when they ask, but I am simply living the dream, every single day. Of course, not every day has been perfect but this “teaching thing”, I can officially say, is for me. (Are you surprised? Because I’m not…) It has simply been everything I have imagined, and more! I hope I can take this feeling into the next few months as the semester progresses. And if not, I will come back to read this blog! I think it’s so important to have these moments and live in the happiness of what you get to do every day.
APPRENTISSAGE OVERLOAD :
Comme nouvelle enseignante, il va sans dire que l’apprentissage que je fais chaque jour est non seulement fondamental, pourtant un peu accablant. Il a certains jours, je vis une surcharge de nouvelles informations, de contenus et de stratégies d’enseignements et c’est beaucoup à traiter, à analyser, à comprendre et se rappeler. Je suis une éponge quand ça vient à écouter des enseignants qui parlent de pédagogie, donc je suis toujours à la recherche de façon pour améliorer ma pratique pédagogique. C’est la beauté d’être non seulement une nouvelle enseignante en train de développer mon art, mais aussi d’être apprenante à vie; l’apprentissage ne se termine jamais, il n’y a pas de fin. Le processus se vit comme un peu comme : un moment : « Woah ». Arrête. Demande de l’aide. Questionne. Réfléchis. Change. Adapte. Continue. Répète.
Comme les jours et les semaines passent rapidement, j’apprends à les connaître à chaque période qu’on passe ensemble. Je ne peux pas croire que c’est seulement le premier mois. Nous avons encore plus de cheminement à faire ensemble en tant que groupe classe, et je me questionne où on va se rendre après deux, trois et même 4 mois. Des petites victoires que j’ai vécues avec eux à date seraient que: j’ai reçu des fleurs mardi matin d’une de mes élèves. et puis, lors de l’écriture de leur autobiographie, quelques-unes d’entre eux m’ont choisi comme leur enseignante préférée. C'est déjà bon signe...
LIVING THROUGH THE MOTIONS:
THE PRESSURE IS ON:
Lately, I have also been working with another mentor (thanks to #OnEdMentors and #OEMConnect) whom I truly admire. Eryka Desrosiers and I meet up virtually every week to share a debrief of our week and I usually ask her upwards of 20 questions that I note down throughout the week. I am so fortunate that Eryka’s specialty is in languages. She supports me in the creation of my crazy ideas and provides me strategies to overcome certain obstacles I have been facing, whether through planning, teaching, grading, etc. Eryka even wrote a book for new teachers as she was beginning in the profession... a lot of what she writes about resonates with me. It's called: Journal d'une nouvelle enseignante - De l'université à la salle de classe. Check it out here.
All I can say is that the KEY to a new teacher’s success is MENTORSHIP – case closed. (Edutopia even recently posted an article about how #MentorsMatter
- All of the positive vibes I have been giving and receiving so far this school year, that has allowed me to GLOW.
- Positive relationships I have started building with my students which will ultimately allow me to better connect and help support them in their learning throughout the semester.
- I didn't mention this in the space above but I am truly working on implementing the Historical Thinking concepts in my History class, as I work through the ins and outs of those concepts I look forward to becoming more confident in applying them.
- We have been talking about this a lot, online and in my school recently, but evaluating and assessing less and more efficient and effectively.
This blog post comes a couple week later because I truly wanted to let the experience sink in before I shared my reflection. I also took a quick vacation at the most magical place on earth to celebrate!
What better way to end off this placement than create a list of the 30 things I learnt during my placement? Why 30? Well, it just seemed like well rounded number… I could have written 100 things but time did not allow it. I had created this (before the blog) to hand back to my associate teacher, but then I thought: Why not share it?
This is what it looked like:
- It is so important to know your students and show you CARE in order to help build positive relationships
- Patience is always key (in any situation)
- You do not always have to use the “Atelier” to make a rubric
- *Sometimes* just winging it works wonders
- It is important to know yourself (strengths and weaknesses) in order to be a better teacher
- Being vulnerable and open with the students is very valuable (and will be reciprocal)
- Your lesson plan might not go as planned and that’s OK!
- Connecting with other teachers helps you in so many ways
- Coffee is a necessity...☕
- A calm demeanour helps the overall feel of the classroom
- Always have your curriculum handy!!!
- Respect is the answer to most of your problems in teaching
- Positive and authentic reinforcement goes a long way
- Letting the students be the experts is exciting!
- Your attitude in the classroom reflects the student’s attitude. So smile, be happy and spread the joy.
- Being on top of your game with marking is SO IMPORTANT (especially in English)
- You should always let the students surprise you (not hold grudges)
- Questioning and reflecting on your practice helps you grow as an educator
- You have to be adaptable to change (at all times!)
- Il ne faut pas toujours réinventer la roue...
- Reward the students and giving them a break (sometimes with a good Kahoot is FUN!)
- making the students be accountable for their learning is I M P O R T A N T
- You can’t say yes to everything in your first few years of teaching….. Oops
- Teaching is a full time job that you end up bringing home with you every night
- Finding balance is absolutely positively important - but not easy.
- Technology will not always work and / or be on your side (prepare for a PLAN B,C,D…)
- Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. x100
- Being passionate about what you teach will always shine through
- Taking the time to eat is beneficial (Still learning this one)
- TEACHING IS A LOT OF WORK BUT IT IS SO WORTH IT
ce que j'ai adoré de l'école secondaire
J'ai aussi adoré le contenu. Ce n'est pas toujours facile enseigner les langues, mais cette matière est très flexible. J'ai capoté sur le fait que j’étais capable de faire les choses autrement en English et incorporer plein de nouvelles idées, technologies et stratégies d’enseignement. J'ai beaucoup appris de moi-même (points forts et faibles) de mes connaissances dans la matière elle-même. Les élèves m'ont aidé à apprendre des nouveaux mots, concepts, principes historiques, etc. Ceci m'inspire à apprendre davantage chaque jour afin de continuer mon développement en tant que nouvelle enseignante.
what i am still working on...
Almost every teacher I spoke with told me that the first 1-3 years of teaching are always the most difficult. Don't get me wrong, teaching is already super energy draining and exhausting if you are a veteran teacher, let alone having to build units from the ground up, get to know your curriculum, build your resources and teach a full course load in your first years. That being said, since you spend a lot more time planning and prepping (and figuring your life out) in the first few years of teaching you can't necessarily take on 101 other projects (sigh). I know that this is going to be difficult for me (who is someone always looking to get involved!!). However, I know the importance of knowing your limits, taking time for yourself and not burning yourself out - because that is the LAST thing I want. So, I can admit that I am still working on finding that balance in my life (professional and personal).
I am also still trying to figure out if I am suited for elementary, intermediate or secondary. I JUST LOVE THEM ALL, HELP! What level do you teach at and what do you love about it? Let me know in the comments below...
Finally being able to say that I am wrapping up my 2nd degree.. But not only that, my teaching degree is exciting but nerve wracking and a huge relief but still overwhelming. I would have a very long list of people to thank who have mentored me, helped me, spoken with me and shaped me into the educator I have become and continue to grow into. You all know who you are - so finally - Thank You.
Sarah Anne Lalonde
Il me reste encore la semaine prochaine, ainsi que 3 jours lors de la semaine d'après à mon stage. Pour moi, il est absolument nécessaire de poursuivre avec mes billets de blogue et de terminer en force. Commencer et finir une tâche ou un but, pour moi, est fondamental à ma philosophie personnelle et professionnelle. Aussi, j'ai bien hâte de retourner lire ces billets de blogues dans 2,3 ou même 10 ans!
taking on a full course load
Some of the uplifting lyrics are:
"I still mess up but I'll just start again
I keep falling down, I keep on hitting the ground
I always get up now to see what's next"
"I won't give up, no I won't give in
Til I reach the end and then I'll start again
No I won't leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail"
Entre autres, je crois que le tout s'est bien passé. Le beat est tellement différent avec un cours de 12e préuniversitaire que c'était plus familier! Les élèves ont aussi été géniaux avec moi, très respectueux et à l'écoute. Heureusement, le groupe a toujours envie d'apprendre! Ce qui fait en sorte qu'on peut passer à travers beaucoup de matière et avoir de bonnes discussions!
Some may wonder why I did not write this blog sooner, you know, when there was still some buzz going around the Ontario Summit. Still, I decided I wanted everything to sink in and see the “long term” ripple effect before I truly wrote down my impressions of it all.
- DOUBT: “Am I crazy? Why did I decide to do this? I am not capable. I can’t do it.”
- FEAR: “What have I gotten myself into? I’m
- CONFIDENCE: “Okay, I can actually do this… I’ve practiced it a couple times without screwing it up. Maybe I will be alright?”
- ANXIETY: I would visualize myself on stage just simply screwing up, time after time...
- EXCITEMENT: “I can’t wait to be on stage and spread my message!! This is my chance!”
It’s funny because my Ignite was about taking the JUMP, taking the RISK, saying YES and how it’s not easy, you go through tons of emotions, your PLN will support you and in the end it’s worth it! Well, I lived that whole process from the moment I agree and said ‘Yes’ to Emily Fitzpatrick. That was my jump. Brainstorming, drafting up ideas, getting feedback, building the visuals, getting more feedback and practice, practice and more practice was the free fall until I presented it and I began to soar.
Now I was to focus on the summit weekend itself. My Saturday morning Starbucks run allowed me to receive a message from the universe that deeply affected me. Who would have thought, right?
Have you ever seen those “Take what you need” boards? I found a message that resonated with me quite flawlessly; it said: Inhale Confidence. Exhale doubt. I will admit, I believe in the power of “it was meant to be” and I truly believe that was meant for me to find and pick up.
Considering how quickly Saturday came and left, that means that Sunday morning arrived even more rapidly. I hadn’t eaten and barely wanted to drink my Americano. I will always remember that morning, Emily asking me if I had eaten and how important it was to do so. I took her advice. (Who wouldn’t?!)
We did a full run through Sunday morning alone in the gym. I had the cold sweats. And, I was the last presenter. Everyone was going up, 1 by 1 and delivering their Ignites like experts. I loved, in this moment, that I felt as though we were a little family. Encouraging, supporting and clapping for one another. Although I had just met 80% of them for the first time, I felt safe to fail in front of them, because I knew they had my back. After I presented, I knew that next time I was going to be on stage, there was going to be a full house.
I cannot finish this blog post without mentioning how INCREDIBLE the other presenters were:
I don’t think I can put into words the feeling you get when the person that went before you hands you the microphone. I took a deep breath, counted backwards from 5 and I jumped.
After it was all done, I had goosebumps. The flood of congratulations and connections that I made was unreal. The best part of this whole experience was not only getting to talk on stage for 5minutes. Rather, it was all of the connections after the fact! I encouraged the educators in the room to be accountable and share their #Jump with me, and did they ever. As I mentioned, the connections after the fact was overwhelming. How could I, a Teacher Candidate have inspired educators to take action? I still wonder…
Having been given this opportunity to make a difference and inspire others on such a large scale still gives me chills because my thoughts, my words, my voice actually inspire people to do something and that is the power of these summits.
For example, on Tuesday I focused on “Allowing students to teach each other” and “Step outside of their comfort zone”. I did this by creating Literary Device experts, where students represented their literary device and had to lead a discussion on an element of their device in the novel. This was empowering not only for them, but for myself, to see them take the lead and explain the device in their own words showed me mastery.
I would love to take a deeper dive into each of these different habits and aspects of a modern teachers (Wilson), but due to a time crunch and a Hamlet Unit waiting to be constructed, I will simply showcase two aspects of that I believe to handle well and 1 that I need to improve on. A fun name for this is: 2 GLOWs and 1 GROW. I want to start doing this with my students… Having them reflect more. I do it, but I realize that I do not have them do it enough.
my first 'glow': Question everything
my second 'glow': being comfortable not knowing what is going to happen
MY 'GROW': Believe they can learn anything, given the right attitude and effort
I want to know, what your your 'GLOW' and 'GROW' when considering this profile?
KEEPING AN OPEN MIND
It is so easy to be overwhelmed by all the things that we have to do as teachers - dare I name them all? No. Because of all of this worry to accomplish everything looming over your shoulders and checking off our To Do List, we often forget to appreciate the little things in life. I live this constantly. I often become stressed, but when I overthink all of these things and feel my anxiety building up, I simply take a big deep breath and be grateful. I think about all of the things I can be thankful for and appreciate.
Here is a list of some of the things I have been appreciating recently:
- Hearing birds singing outside my classroom window
- Holding a warm coffee cup in my hands
- Smelling the warm FRESH spring air
- Standing sunshine, rays of light, getting
- Taking the first sip of coffee in the morning
- Being able to listen to the radio when I get into my car and drive home
- Coming home to a hot cooked meal
Actively feeling grateful for these things make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside; they seem to give me the energy to be perseverant and carry on. I want to know, what are some things that you can reflect on and be thankful for? Inspire others and let me know in a quick list below :)
Cheers to the 4 day weekend! And, Happy Easter everyone ! 🐰🐰
Quelle belle semaine! Wow.. Je dois avouer que c’est la première fois depuis semaine 1 que je me suis sentie confiante, authentique et dynamique devant mes classes. J’ai trouvé un rythme de travail qui me convient, j’étais plus préparé et j’étais aussi plus proactif pour des imprévus.
FINDING MY GROOVE
Well, checking in with them; talking with them in the hallways; giving them constructive feedback; having difficult conversations with them (when needed); being honest with them; telling them how PROUD I am of their work; sending in des “bon coups” e-mails; building on things I already know about them and showing them that I care about them and their success - I want them to succeed! With all of these things came more genuine conversations, I was able to joke around and kept things fun.
Sincèrement, je me sens comme si le fait que je me sens plus confiante devant eux affecte grandement mon efficacité de leur enseigner. J’ai pris le vol!
STUDENT LEARNING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
NE PAS RÉINVENTER LA ROUE
The next period, when students walked in they had a sticky note with their names on it. “Before receiving your Chrome, I want you to set a #goal for this period. “This goal has to be attainable and realistic. For example: completing my Works Cited, completing 3 slides, putting all of my slides point form, writing out my cue cards… etc.” was written on the board. When students had set their goal I checked it over and handed them their computer.
I did find a big difference in their work ethic and believe that simply writing down their goal, being aware of what they wanted/needed to get down helped them stay on task. Throughout the period, I checked in with each of them.
This made me think even more… Are my reflections creating this feeling within myself and diminishing my confidence? I am evidently striving to be the best that I can be, I am very self-aware and I am always looking to grow and better myself. As much as I need to be aware of these shortcomings, I also need to continue to have good self-talk and inner dialogue
Help me out? Have you ever felt the IMPOSTER SYDROME? Is this a real thing? What did YOU do about it…
An EDU-Hero, warrior and inspiration to me also posted a tweet that highlighted how self-doubt can impact you towards reaching your goals. Mentally we have to make sure we aren't getting in our way of reaching our goals.
Comme je l’ai mentionné ci-haut, je La dernière partie de ma semaine (jeudi et vendredi) j’étais au REFER à Montréal.
Premièrement, un gros merci à Nathalie Couzon pour l’invitation de collaborer avec elle et les élèves du Collège Durocher Saint-Lambert de la ville afin de promouvoir la #voixdesélèves. Pendant les 2 jours de la conférence, j’étais choyer de travailler alongside une collègue dont j’adore : Joannie Girard. Notre équipe dynamique a travaillé fort pendant le congrès afin d’animer une activité de clôture vendredi. Je suis tellement fière des élèves qui ont pensée, réfléchit, coopérer et discuter de sujets qui leur tiennent à cœur. Le tout a été très bien réussi. Bravo les filles! Voici quelques idées de ce qui a été dit :
Deuxièmement, j’adore réseauter pendant ces congrès. Plusieurs gens m'ont donné une nouvelle énergie! En interagissant avec des leaders pédagogiques comme Maude Lamoureux, Marius Bourgeois, Jean-Pierre Dufresne, Marie-Andrée Ouimet, Stephane Hunter, etc. Ils continuent de m’inspirer à travers les beaux projets qu’ils animent et leur ouverture à discuter avec moi.
Presenters get 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds.
The result is a fast and fun presentation which lasts just 5 minutes.
Ignite events are held in cities around the world.
Don't get me wrong; I have asked myself quite a few times... "What have I gotten myself into?" I am knee deep in practicum readings, plannings and marking... But, so far, the experience has been so exciting. I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been asked to present this year along with so many inspiring educators (A big shoutout to Jen Giffen!). In my tweet below, I mention how it has been on my Bucket List to present at a conference:
However, I will admit, I didn't think it would be happening this soon!!
Lastly, you might be wondering what my talk is going to be about? Well, it will go something like this: Learning to jump and build your wings on the way down is a lifestyle I have embraced throughout my journey through Teachers College, thanks to one of my mentors. As a Teacher Candidate, I have learnt that putting yourself out there, saying YES, taking risks and trying new things are so rewarding! Hoping I will inspire you to take a jump with me.
This morning, I was lucky enough to score an interview with Stephen Hurley and Kim Pollishuke on VoicEd Radio! We spoke about our perspectives on education and how we are preparing for the Summit Ignite event! Check it out bellow ⬇️⬇️
For more information, (speakers, location, and ticket info) be sure to visit: events.edtechteam.com/Ontario2018
Si j'attends pour la perfection, je n'écrierais jamais un mot...