Thursday, June 16, 2011

Teatime with Teachers!

I received a lovely gift from one of my teachers or mentors!  Thank you so much Ms. Wong! 
 She's such a sweet teacher and I aspire to be like her one day!
Hi Everyone!

Today there was a Volunteer Tea event at the school I was volunteering at and I got a chance to sit and talk to some of the teachers about me.  Yes, it was all about me.  No! LOL I am just kidding but I had a lovely time as teachers were giving me advice all day and even throughout the year I have been very blessed to reconnect and meet such passionate, caring, supportive and positive teachers who at the end of the day are making such a big difference in the world!

So I thought I would share would you all some of the things that some of the teachers were telling me as I believe sharing is caring and well you'll see.   It's a random list of things because it's all from my memory so I will list them in the way teachers were saying it to me.  Very interesting thoughts and very good insight!

  • 1. Teaching is not easy and it is a lot of work.  Wait.  Let me say it again.  It is a lot of work.  Are you ready for long hours and no pay for the long hours?  Are you ready to only have a $75.00 budget for your entire class for the whole year? 

  • 2.  At the rate of finding a job in the Vancouver School Board area, it will take right now at least 8 years of teacher's on call (TOC) before you can get a full time job.  You will most likely have to job share, work as a resource teaching and a school teacher all at the same time but at different locations which is only part-time for each just to make it a full-time like job. 

  • 3. (Everyone was telling me this!) You should travel for a few years after you teach but DO NOT go teach in Britain.  (Actually I heard about this from so many people because apparently kids there are horrible and there aren't much support for teachers there! Poor kids and poor teachers!)  If you can and if you are willing to move then teach in Sweden because they will pay for your master's degree and it's great over there! Thailand is also great as the kids will literally bow their heads to you (by this the teacher's mean that there is a great deal of respect for teachers).  Go teach in Australia as they have a great education system as well as support for teachers.  Go teach in Asia if you can so you can see more of the world.  If I were you, I would travel first and then come back when you are ready to settle down.  You are a much better candidate if you are "adaptable and flexible." (Every teacher on the table agreed with this!) 

  • 4. (My questions was:  Will they forget about me if I graduate and not apply for a school board position?) NO because they don't even know you right now so how can they forget you?  Also due to a high supply and low demand the chances of getting a full-time is next to slim as implied before it is now possibly going to take at least 8 years to get a full-time job.  (I guess it will depend on how lucky you are then!) 

  • 5. Collaboration is the key.  Don't be afraid to ask for help if needed as you need each other to support each other.  There seems to be that some students are very competitive and are unwilling to share materials.  (Hmm... I can admit that I am definitely a competitive person - in fact I am sometimes my own worst critic! Okay, I digress.)  But why not share?  We are all in this together and you will need help.  There's lot of material already made and done so there is really no need to make-up or come up with your own materials.  (So true!) 

  • 6. Proximity and most importantly eye contact is the best way to get kids to do what they are told to do at any moment.  When you tell a student to do their work and look at them they will do their work but chances are once you turn around they will start to not do their work.  So you have to continue staring at them until they do their work or whatever they are suppose to do.  Sometimes even standing next to the students will get them to stop what they are not suppose to be doing. 

  • 7. Classroom management and setting a authoritative classroom is extremely important.  You start off strict with clear rules and expectations and then you can be nicer when the routines in your classroom are consistent and clearly displayed.  Kids really want that structure.  Today, I was in a class where the kids were so noisy and they could not listen to their teacher.  I told everyone to line up against the wall and they took several tries to line up and be quiet.  Finally, I immediately starting counting and told them that the amount of time it took for them to be quiet will be the amount of time that they will have to give back to me.  So they took approximately 26 seconds to be quiet and they had to show me that they could be quiet for 26 seconds.  It took one try but the kids got it and they were quiet.  Afterwards, one of the little girls came up to me and told me that it was good that I did that because the boys are always so rude and disrespectful.  I was surprised that she would tell me this as I always knew that kids wanted structure but never heard it from a student.  So this just shows how powerful having classroom management is.  Once kids know what to expect, then they can fully be able to learn at a frequency that will allow them to grasp the concepts but if the basics cannot be achieved then those distractions of not knowing what the routine is will impede them from continuous learning.  

  • 8.  Introduce sex education early and teach kids the terminology so that they know how to deal with it when they encounter those concepts.  In this day and age, kids are not as sheltered as well I was and kids can find out information about everything (from friends to the internet).  There's so much going on and it can be overwhelming.  The more kids know, the more knowledge they have and the more choices they have and can make.  Providing children with knowledge about sex will actually empower them to take control of their lives as they will know the consequences of whatever decisions that they will make and this will allow them to also (if something like a pregnancy should happen) take responsibility of their actions.  What is animal sex?  What is oral sex?  What does sex feel like?  I mean those questions are actually very good questions as it allows for more conversations that allow for more knowledge and understanding.  Mind you, I was in university taking a sex ed course for sociology and even some adults were not informed. This allows kids and teens to make decisions for themselves.  I remember 15 years ago when I was in elementary school there were about 3-4 girls in grade 6-7 who became pregnant.  Remember, it's only weird and uncomfortable if we give it that feeling.  Life has no meaning, it is what meanings we give to it that makes it have a meaning.  So if we make it weird and awkward as educators, parents or communicators then it will be awkward.  Don't make it awkward then it won't be.  If it does get awkward then let it happen and approach it in another way. It's all about how you approach it.

Okay, I think I will stop here as I can't exactly remember everything but I am truly grateful for these experiences. I wouldn't be the teacher that I am now without quite a few (well, many challenges!).  I am always learning and growing so if you would like to share any tips on being a teacher or life in general than feel free to do that! What do you all think of these suggestions?  I think it will be interesting to see what will happen in the next 10 years!  I am going to keep faith that I will find a job and hopefully within VSB!  That would be wonderful. Well, you never know what will happen! :)

Thanks for reading!

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