Tag Archives: Community

A Joyful Day – Back to School

4 Feb

How would I describe today? JOYFUL!

Well, the words that I started the day with were NERVOUS EXCITEMENT but 5 minutes into having my beautiful class in our room the word was JOYFUL.

I regret that I didn’t do a first day reflection post last year so I have decided to do a quick brain dump for future posterity.

When you receive your class list, they are students that you learn about and make name tags for but when you call their names in assembly and see their smiling faces ready to go and they become ‘yours’.  There is something magical about students walking through the door of their new classroom with their parents – eyes lighting up when they see their name tags and activities to begin the day.

A school tour (even in the freezing winds) was a wonderful way to have a bit of an adventure, give new students with important information and practice working as a team to move quickly and quietly around the school.

A game that I love to begin the year with is “Find someone who…”.  Not only is this a great get-to-know-you activity but it also provides an opportunity for me to suss out students literacy skills, reading and writing.  There is no pressure on students to get things ‘right’ and they just loved interviewing one another.  It was a beautiful chance for my older students to take the younger kids under their wing – helping with spelling and finding people to interview.

We finished the day by brainstorming what we would like the year to look like – things we would like to learn, things that will help our classroom run smoothly and words that we use to describe what our class should be.  I just adore hearing students’ ideas and feeling their growing sense of one-ness.  This is such an exciting conversation to have; knowing that these expectations, expressed by the students, are what will support them in doing their best and being successful in their learning.  The team vibe grew so quickly today and I just cannot wait to nurture it as we create a supportive classroom community.

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So, I am buzzing after a day of laughter, friendship forming and pleasant surprises.  Future self – please remember this day…in all of the nerves, sleepless nights and restless anticipation – remember that meeting your new class is joyful (and exhausting). I love how my dear teaching friend describes it: “It’s like Christmas for teachers; you are given 20 presents to look after for the year”.

Joyful Reflections

1 Feb

I have just completed my first two days of school professional development as a real, live teacher.  The focus for the two days has been on unpacking and becoming conscious of our school ‘brand’. I hope to do a post very soon expanding on the wonderful things we learned and talked about during this P.D but for now I would like to share my reflections on my personal journey that occurred.

We were asked to reflect on and share our favourite and least favourite memories from primary school, our time as pre-service teachers and teachers, as well as considering the school values and guiding principles which resonate with us most (and least).  A seemingly easy task stirred in me a plethora of unexpected emotions. Thinking about my own positive experiences and hearing those of others stirred in me excitement at the prospect of being a part of joyful memories for my students.

However, it wasn’t all warm and fuzzy.  Doubt crept in moving me to question my ability to be creative enough, exuberant enough and memorable enough.  The sharing of negative experiences kindled anxiety, fear and further doubt – will I be able to withstand the tough times? Am I passionate enough to stick it out through the inevitable hurdles? How can I make a difference amongst so many challenges?  To be completely honest I felt like hiding and having a good cry.

Thankfully, the day didn’t end there!

Our second session involved discussing the strengths and weaknesses of our school and ourselves.  Discussion uncovered the abundant strengths of our fabulous school.  When remembering my first impression of the school, nearly a year ago, I recall being overwhelmed firstly by the delightfully cheerful, helpful and welcoming administration staff. Relationships were quickly formed as my professional experience placement progressed. I have been struck by how friendly, collaborative and child-focused the staff at the school is and how this is nurtured by our executive team in a whole school approach.

As we delved into the aspects of our school which we would like to improve we were surprisingly not confronted by negativity and disappointment. Rather, we were led to critically consider our role in creating change as we noticed, perhaps for the first time, the impact of things seemingly out of our control on the way in which we are perceived.  We became excited at the prospect of embracing change and improving ourselves.  I was touched by the incredible support system surrounding my school and the way in which our whole group values are aligned, our visions are shared and our hopes for the future ignite a common passion.

At the end of the day I did not feel fearful, anxious or doubtful.  In fact until it came time to share the day’s events with my husband I had completely forgotten my earlier feelings of trepidation.  I was not focused on the words “I”, “Me” or “My”.  I did not desperately wish to curl up in a corner in the foetal position.  I was excited about US!

I am amazed at how becoming vulnerable opened me up to sharing more deeply with others and encouraged me to celebrate my community rather than dwelling on my own weaknesses and doubts.  My participation in this school or in the broader education community is not about ME.  It’s not about doing it all myself.

We will encounter challenges, we will struggle and we will have moments where we question ourselves but it’s not about ME.  I am overjoyed to have entered a profession and, more importantly a school, that is about collaboration, support, encouragement, growth and lifelong learning.

YIPPEE!

TOT(W) Launch

13 Jul

Even though I have a few weeks before my training wheels are officially handed over I thought I would get started on this blog early (plus I need some excuses to procrastinate in the midst of my final 4 weeks of uni – BONUS!).

Firstly, TOT – what and why?

I like the term TOT for a number of reasons:

1. TOT – Young Child

Whilst policy, funding, agenda and curriculum are all important, at the end of the day teaching is about the children in my class – it is about seeing these young children grow; learn from experience and develop as members of our society.   No matter what happens in my teaching career I want to remember it’s about the TOTs.

2. TOT – Train of Thought

I want to be a conscious teacher; in the habit of reflecting, evaluating and putting my theory into practice.  In order to do this I need to be kept accountable.  I am blessed to have a number of wonderful, experienced teaching friends who I have no doubt will hold me to my commitment to reflective practice.  I am also lucky enough to be graduating with many other TOTs who are keen to make a difference.  This blog will act as a medium through which I can reflect and evaluate my practice.

3. TOT – Teacher on Training Wheels (Silent “W” :P)

The acronym seems fitting as I am a fresh graduate teacher leaping out of my own education and into the teaching profession – I am just a TOT in the world of teaching; excited to get my hands dirty but unsure of where to begin and definitely needing guidance along the way.

I believe that new teachers become great teachers by creating community with their peers and those more experienced than them.  I want to be that kind of teacher! It has been so exciting to see how our cohort have pulled together to help each other through our last semester of uni.  The familiar stress, common ambition and mutual need for motivation began a community spirit that was somewhat lacking in previous years.

My hope is that as we venture out into the teaching profession we will continue to support each other through our achievements and mishaps– encouraging one another to stay true to our mission to BE THE DIFFERENCE!

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