Thursday, April 23, 2015

Questions on Teaching

Last week I shared some questions I've been asked on substitute teaching.  You can view that post here.  

This week I'm sharing with you some questions (and answers) that I've had about teaching.

How long did it take to get a teaching position?

Years! Gosh it took a really long time. It's a hard job to acquire. But in late August 2013 I got my very first full time and full year job teaching grade 4, grade 5 French, and grade 8 ELA. It was a crazy year but I survived. I actually recently found a blog that I never posted from part way though that year as a way to encourage new teachers... I'll post it sometime (maybe).

What grades have you taught?

I taught a short term of kindergarten, a short term of gym, then a full year of grade 4, grade 5 French, and grade 8 ELA, and now I'm teaching a grade 5/6 split. I used to apply for any and all jobs but in a way I feel lucky that I've been exposed to so much these last couple of years... it has helped me to realize what kinds of jobs I should be applying for.

How did you get your current job?

To know how I got my current job we have to go back to the last school year.

The simple answer was, I applied for it.

My boyfriend at the time had a sister who had worked at the school and had suggested that I apply for the job there. I wasn't going to because the grade 8 one scared me. I wasn't sure what it was - if it was grade 8 science I wasn't sure I could do it. I had an interview for it at the end of August (I was a very late hire) and had the job before I even got home.

I'm not sure what stuck out on my resume that attracted them to me - I wish I knew now! But I feel very fortunate that I got the job. I may ocassionally complain about it but I feel very blessed by it.

My current job I got because it was at the same school and was only a term (until after spring break). I requested this job from my administration. I took a big risk because it only went to spring break (it has since gotten extended until the end of the year) but I knew it was the right job for me. Now, at the end of the year I will be up for permanent. Very exciting to perhaps not have to worry about a portfolio so much anymore! But also very nerve wraking not knowing if I'll be given permanent... and if I don't get it then I'm not sure what will happen.

What's your favourite subject to teach?

We recently filled out a paper at my school saying what our dream jobs would be. I wrote down art. I love teaching it to my students and we often end up with amazing pieces of work. It makes me feel really good when I get compliments on it... especially since it isn't even my work! We don't have an art program at my school... all students have to take band once they get to grade 7 and it would be my dream that they give them the option of band or art and hire me as the teacher.

I also wrote down math. I've been doing math journals with my students and if I had more time to focus on just a couple subjects rather than all of them I feel like I could really make them into something amazing. Plus, I'm not too shabby at math myself (but the highest level of math I've taught is grade 6 so please don't applaud me too much).

How long do report cards REALLY take?

They take a while. BUT if you are smart they are not so terrible. What is the smart way about going about them? You keep your grades up to date, every time you notice that one of your students is struggling with something on a test you make a comment on it in your records, and you start your reports a month before they are due.

Why a month? They take time. If you start a month before they are due you can get the easier ones out of the way. Art and health for example you can easily make your comments on before all their stuff is handed in. I like to do one subject a week until the last couple of weeks. Even if you aren't done assessing in all the subjects you can at least write parts of their comments now until the rest is handed in.

We are also given a day to work on report cards a few days before they are due. It is always my goal to be 100% done writing them before that date. I then use that date to read over their comments. I'm not perfect and I mess up their comments. Sometimes they don't make sense BUT having that extra day helps me catch some of the errors (my admin will hopefully catch the rest). I'm usually done by lunch and get to spend the rest of my day prepping for upcoming things while everyone else panics about their report cards.

Worst days?

I try not to talk about my WORST days on here. BUT, last year I was getting observed by my administration the day after spring break. I'm a very organized person who obviously had everything prepared on her USB. When I got to school I plugged it into my computer to print off my plan for my administration when it didn't come up. Not to panic I thought, and went to the technology guy at the school begging him that he had to fix it. It couldn't be done. So, I had no lesson.

I ended up having a major meltdown in the hallway and thankfully my administration was understanding and pushed it back a day or 2.

After I clamed myself down I realized that I knew what my plan was and I didn't need my USB because it was all in my head. I quickly typed it out again and went ahead with the scheduled date of that first Monday.

I don't recall exactly how the lesson and observation went. But considering that I went from what I felt like was nothing I would say it went amazingly.

Would you ever share your resources?

YES! I don't make my own because I'm not that talented on a computer. I mean I'm a fantastic writer (excuse me while I toot my own horn) but I'm not into design. I will likely never have a Teachers Pay Teachers store (even though I wish I could be that talented and motivated to have one). Anyways, because of all this most of my resources are not my own. Obviously there are copywrite laws and blah blah blah so I can't share EVERYTHING but I would love to share some of my lessons or some things I've gathered from friends. I don't want to ever sell myself because we are all in this crazy profession for the reason of educating children (although, I completely understand why some people do sell their stuff... I mean some of you put a lot of time and effort into that stuff and I thank you for that!)

I have one more week of questions left... what questions could there possibly be you ask?  I've already covered substitute teaching and teaching but apparently you are a curious bunch... so stay tuned!

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