I went through a roller coaster of emotions this week. I felt lost. I felt proud. I felt underprepared. I felt defeated. I felt insufficient. I felt accomplished. I felt overwhelmed. Mais, ultimement je pense que j’étais à la recherche de mon identité… Has anyone found it? I think I lost it somewhere?
I lived a lot of self doubt this week, in relations to my efficiency of being a teacher. And, that confidence I had last week faded. Why you ask? I’m not exactly sure because nothing went terrible, I just simply felt as though I was trying to stay afloat and survive my 3 periods each day. However, I look forward to finding more of a rhythm, where I can have a system, keep things in order and flow from class to class.
PUTting ME TO THE TEST...
The first week of teaching really showed me that the students will test you no matter if you are a student teacher, a new teacher starting out or even a teacher they have never met/seen before.. This can happen with any class at any age. That being said, I was often tested this week, which made me question some of my teaching values, beliefs, strategies and philosophies. Some questions I have been pondering are: What kind of teacher do I want to be? How do I want to be perceived by the students?
shh, listen... YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU SOMETHING
I would never have guessed how much my body would indicate how I was feeling. I noticed by Thursday that my shoulders were up to my ears. And last week, even though it was only 3 days, my legs were finished. All of the stresses of teaching truly affects your body. And Wednesday, for the first time in forever, I needed and wanted to go for a run to let out the emotions and energy inside of me from the day. I think the lesson here is the importance to take time out of the day to listen to your body. And, understand that some days you’re going to need a run, others a nap and others... well...
The best thing about going into your old high school is the conversations you get the have with old teachers. I have gotten the chance to be mentored, guided and supported, not only by my associate teachers but also by some other teachers in and around the school. Whether it was for future school board choices, whether giving a pop quiz is a good idea or not, or even how to deal with students who might decide to disrespect you... I have had some insightful conversations with multiple teachers who have given me some great tips and advice along with expressing their excitement to soon having me in the profession.
I even received a heartwarming and supportive message from a teacher that I had worked with during a paid position. Unexpectedly, this teacher reached out, wished me well and offered her support if I ever had any questions. This made me extremely happy and showed me that creating relationships with staff members is just as important as those with students. I admire that teacher for everything she does in the classroom. She has no idea how much a simple message affected me so greatly.
some good advice...
Speaking of supportive staff, during an on call supply - I was accompanied by a teacher I know fairly well. We spent the period together and afterwards got to chatting (as teachers usually do I've noticed). And, as expressing how overwhelming teaching can be at first she simply said:
"just be the best that you can be"
She continued to explain that she found it difficult in her first years of teaching and quickly realized that "you can’t do it all, so just do what you can..". This advice is going to stick with me. And, when I am feeling flustered or defeated I will recall those 8 simple words.
All this being said, I am feeling confident for next week! I am optimistic to regain my confidence, continue to learn about and from students as well as vary my teaching styles to test out new things!
I am so proud to be writing this blog as Madame Lalonde…
I want to start by saying that for the next 9 weeks I will be publishing, either a blog post or a podcast that reveals my reflections towards my placement. I am writing this so that I am held accountable!! This is not an assignment for Teacher's college - it is strictly for my own personal growth and professional development!
I am doing these reflection posts for a couple reasons:
This blog post and the upcoming ones will be divided into 2-3 themes that have emerged during the week in my reflection notes. Every day, I take the time to note my observations, thoughts and critics. At the end of the week, I will be publishing a summary of those thoughts.
De plus, ces réflexions seront parfois en anglais et parfois en français. Puisque je vis une dualité linguistique très extrême (j’étudie en français, je fais partie d’une Faculté francophone, j’enseigne dans une école francophone - mais j’enseigne English et beaucoup de mon RAP est anglophone, je veux que ces billets de blogues puissent être appréciés par tous). C’est la richesse de ma réalité et je crois que ça reflète bien ce que je vis tous les jours.
That being said, on Wednesday February 14th (Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday) I started my first day of my second placement at École secondaire catholique La Citadelle in Cornwall, Ontario… my old high school. And, well… aside from the flashbacks and some weird looks from some of my old teachers, it went really well!
I have to admit though: what a change of pace. Teaching 3 classes is not going to be easy.
And, compared to my University routine I was deadbeat by Friday first period. It was impossible to hold back the yawns even with my double shot Americano from Starbucks in hand.
Talking about change of pace. I need to mention the drastic change there is between being in an elementary school vs. a high school. It is a whole new world. I felt a little lost not having students line up in a straight line, proudly sing the O Canada, give stickers, come up and give hugs or ask you to open their water bottle. This is going to be a big leap and a big transition for me. I can already feel it… I am anxious to see how I am going to grow into my roll as a high school teacher.
Let’s get to the first order of business:
THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
Even three days into my placement I know that one of my biggest challenges and goals is going to be to creating relationships with my students. Before I even started, I knew that these interpersonal relationships were going to be key to my success as a student teacher. I wanted to reach out to my students, as of my first day, in order to let them into my life. That being said, I created a fun Kahoot that allowed students to interact with me, figure out who I am, not only as a teacher but as a human being as well. I also gave them a Google Forms (Learner Profile) where I invited them to answer some questions about themselves. I am teaching a Grade 10, Grade 11 and Grade 12 English class. I have a wide range of students sitting in front of me, going through different things, with different goals and different interests. This Google Forms was such a good idea. I got some really great feedback and responses from them. I believe it was a great ice breaker…
Précédemment, j’ai mentionné l’écart entre l’école élémentaire et l’école secondaire. L’idée de créer des relations, d’après moi, est beaucoup plus facile à l’élémentaire. À mon avis, tu peux plus facilement être leur modèle et idole. Au secondaire, cette relation doit se construire plus lentement et tu dois gagner leur respect à travers de tes paroles et tes actions.
I am proud to say that I am feeling confident. At first, I was scared to feel intimidated by the students. (Considering I am only 5”4) A lot of these students stand much taller than me. Not only that, I was nervous as to how the students would react to having a student teacher in their class. All butterflies aside, these past three days were great and I am looking forward to starting a new week!
Par contre, il y a quelques fois que tu entends les élèves chuchoter entre eux: “C’est la nouvelle enseignante”. I just smile as I walk by, simply looking to make a good impression.
CELL PHONE USAGE
La bataille des cellulaires. Oh la la… C’est n’est pas aussi évident que je pensais que ça allait être. Il y a beaucoup de chemin à faire avec les élèves afin qu’ils puissent bien maîtriser l’utilisation de leur cellulaire et la citoyenneté numérique. Il faut utiliser cet appareil en tant qu’outil et non en tant qu’arme.
A huge piece of this is having them learn to resist their urge to constantly be checking their phone. Living in the present and being attentive in class is key. I am all about being connected, but there is a time and place. I am such a strong believer in embracing these devices, it will simply be an adjustment period to see what works best with my students.
The cell phone situation is going to be tougher than I thought. Je ne veux pas être la police qui circule pour dire de ne pas avoir ton cellulaire. Je veux trouver un moyen pour que les élèves ne sentent pas le vouloir ou la nécessité de le vérifier lorsque j’enseigne OÙ l’utiliser en tant qu’outil pédagogique lorsque j’enseigne!
I want to continue to be confident, believe in myself, ask questions, take risks and build relationships with students.
I cannot be more grateful for my two Associate Teachers who have been more than outstanding. Not only did they meet up with me before my first day to go over everything, but I was also given my own desk in the back of the class…
Words cannot describe how happy this made me. This space to call my own is more than I could have asked for. My AT’s classroom quickly became OUR classroom which ultimately made me feel so much more welcomed and comfortable.
We have already started working together to co-plan lessons, shared resources and suggestions concerning classroom management. They are so open to my suggestions and observation, it is extremely rewarding to have a voice but also learn from such dynamic and innovative English teachers. They ask me what I am comfortable doing and are willing to give me the space and the necessary coaching to succeed.