Archive for July, 2011

Dear parents…

Posted on July 27, 2011. Filed under: Blog on Blogging, edublog, educational, Kindergarten, parents, personal, reflection | Tags: , |

#Kinderblog

Imagine that a parent of one of your students, stumbling around the internet, happened to land on your blog. Not your class blog with your cute photos of all your munchkins and their amazing brilliant work. Your personal teacher-reflection blog, the one where your intended audience is mostly other teachers. Pretend that parent managed to figure out exactly who you were, and that you were their child’s teacher. What would you want that parent to know? What would you say to that parent? Write the letter that you would want that parent to read.

Dear Parents,
I want you to know more then anything that I love your kids. I really do! I try to tell them I love them at least every couple weeks so that they KNOW it and inadvertently, you know it as well. That said, you may have come across my blog, my Twitter account, or my Facebook statuses, and you may have seen that I sometimes write about your children.

I do in fact talk/blog/write about your kids often! They are important to me, and they are a huge part of my day, so of course I talk about my experiences with them.
I want you to know that I try to be very careful when I am talking about your kids. I try not to use their names, and I try not to write about anything that could be hurtful, embarassing, or confidential. That said, I have made mistakes in the past, and I have said and shared things that have later come back to bite me in the butt. I have learned my lesson, and thankfully, none of these things have been online. I am trying very hard to learn where discretion needs to be used, and who I can professionally talk to when I am struggling with a situation.  I will try to explain to you how and why I talk about your kids in the different outlets I use.


Speaking/talking in person: I sometimes have good days and I sometimes have bad days at work. You may or may not be surprised to hear this, but sometimes your 5 year old makes me go crazy! When I come home, I usually share with my husband why my day was crazy. He usually laughs with me at how crazy kids can be, and how I try to handle the tornado that is Kindergarten some days. Other days, something your child says really makes me think, or it makes me sad. Sometimes it has to do with what your home is like. Don’t worry, I’m not judging you as a parent or caregiver. I am just empathizing with your 5 year olds version of what is going on in their little world.  I’m trying to make sense of it in light of my own experience. On these days, I might share your child’s story with another trusted staff member or friend; it helps me gain perspective.  Sometimes, when your child’s story has really impacted my day, I pray for you and your family, and entrust you into God’s hands because we all know my reach can only go so far.


Blogging: Parent, you may have stumbled across my personal blog and read some articles that talked about our classroom, my own teaching, or maybe even your own child. This blog post was probably written when I was unsure about something, and struggling with what I should say or do. My blog is one of the outlets I use to talk things out. I quite often ask for other people reading the post to comment and tell me what they think I should do.  Usually, I hope another teacher reads my post and leaves a comment with their advice on the situation. Sometimes people comment, and other times no one comments, and the conversation ends there. Either way, I hope you can see that the topic I wrote about was important to me; whether that topic was your child, our classroom, or my own teaching pedagogy.  Whatever it was, it mattered enough to me to take the time out of my day to write out my thoughts. I’m not the most consistent blogger, so when I do blog about something, it matters! Please don’t feel strange that I shared about your child, or my classroom issues online. It should make you feel valued. I value your child and their peers enough to write about them and try and get a response that will help your child, his/her classroom, and the way I teach your child.  I promise you, I am blogging about the situation so that I can be a reflective teacher who has the best tools in hand to educate your child.


Facebook: If you are a parent of my student, chances are that I most likely don’t have you on Facebook. If you have added me as a friend, I probably accepted because I feel like I have nothing to hide from you, and you’re probably a really cool person.  That said, I am not the type of person that goes out looking for Facebook friends usually ever, so don’t feel bad if you are not my Facebook friend. However, if you are, you have probably seen that I put “kinderquotes” up quite frequently. These are little quotes that your child and his/her peers say throughout the day. I try and write them down because I think they are hilarious, but I have no one to share them with during the day. I hope you understand that when I write these quotes on Facebook, I am not making fun of your child, or laughing at your child.  Instead, I am enjoying them at this age and sharing that joy with others who don’t get to work with the wonderful age group that I do. I get so many Facebook friends telling me that they love it when I put up kinderquotes because it brightens their day. That’s how I feel. When your child says something funny or cute, it brightens my day as well!  And don’t all of us need a little sunshine in our day?
I hope this helps you understand why I talk about your children, and how I do want what’s best for them. However, if you ever have any issues with me putting information or stories about your child online, please don’t hesitate to let me know, and I will take them off immediately. Your best wishes for your child are most important to me.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Maley

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Faculty of Education at the University of Regina

Posted on July 18, 2011. Filed under: edublog, educational, personal, reflection, teaching and learning | Tags: , , , |

The question for #kinderblog this week is about our teacher training program. I went to the university of Regina in Regina Saskatchewan. This university is known for their education program. A lot of people (probably biased) say it’s one of the best programs in the country for education. I agree that they have a great internship program throughout the 4 year program, and fantastic professors, but I also have had a few issues with the u of r’s program as well.


It all started when I was trying to get into the education program. I had taken a year off after I graduated high school. I lived in Germany for a year and went to a Bible school called Bodenseehof. It was a great year and I really believe it changed my life. But the U of R didn’t see my year off as the great life experience I did. When I returned from Germany, I tried to get into the university’s Education program. I wrote my little essay and included all my experience with children (which was extensive). I paid the fee and waited. I got my rejection letter later that summer and was devastated.  After talking to some people, I heard that U of R chooses mostly high school grads because they believe that these kids are the real deal. They are the ones who have always known they want to be teachers, so they apply right out of high school. I don’t know, but in my opinion not every good teacher has always known they want to be a teacher!  Sometimes it takes life experience to realize that teaching is your calling.


Either way, I took regular transferable classes that year, and when it came time to apply for education the next year, my mom had a friend whose daughter had got into education the previous year, so do you want to know what I did? I borrowed her application essay!  I figured that if they didn’t like what I wrote last year, I better go with what works! So yes, kind of ironic, but I, the future teacher, pretty much plagiarized her entrance essay into the Faculty of Education. The other girl had talked about handicapped children being included into the regular classroom, so I wrote about that too. I hadn’t even heard of the word inclusion before, and suddenly I was passionate about it. I tweaked a couple of her other ideas and put them in my own words, and sure enough, I found out later that I was accepted.  Now, I don’t know if it was all because of my essay, but it’s pretty sad that I even felt like that was something I needed to do! Please don’t judge me!


My first year in the faculty of Education, we took an Ed class that put us into a classroom to observe a teacher. I think this was a good move on the university’s part because when some of the education students got into the classroom that first year, they realized education wasn’t for them.  It’s a good weeding out process.
My second year was where we learned all the theory behind teaching. We learned about all the big wigs in education, and what their teaching philosophy was.

Dewey

My third year was my pre-internship. I was put into a Pre-K class once a week for the first semester, and then for a solid 3 week block the next semester.  It was during this year that we learned how to make a full out lesson plan; which I honestly don’t think I’ve ever used since.  This was when we really learned how to teach a group of students.

My biggest issue with my third year of university was the trip that every third year education student goes on. It’s called P.L.A.C.E. Professional Learning… something or other. The idea behind it was that all of the third year education students go to an outdoor place and learn from nature, and each other, in a different environment. That’s great with me, and it would have been a fantastic time, except the faculty only told us about this outdoor ed experience 2-3 weeks before we were supposed to go. It was a mandatory trip, and everyone was expected to make it, regardless of previous plans or work schedules. Well it turns out that I was a bridesmaid for my good friend’s wedding that weekend, @kristenlknowles. I told some professors about it, and I wasn’t really given a decent answer of what I should do. I was told that I was expected to be at P.L.A.C.E. and in fact, one professor told me that sometimes teachers need to make sacrifices! I couldn’t believe that they were expecting me to tell my friend a couple weeks before her wedding that I couldn’t be in it anymore because I was going to be camping with the university! Frustrated, I decided to drive my own car up to the lake that they were going to, and then drive home that same night.  I told my friend that I had to miss her wedding rehearsal because of P.L.A.C.E., and thankfully even though she didn’t really understand, she was gracious towards me. The next morning I took part in my friends wedding, but it was kind of a gong show, because I was the first bridesmaid to walk down the aisle, and I had no idea where to stand or what to do because I missed rehearsal! To top that all off, I found out that because I missed P.L.A.C.E. I was “red flagged” and was told that I was not allowed to miss more then 2 classes for the rest of the year regardless of the circumstance. Thank goodness I stayed healthy that year!


My fourth year was my main learning year. From September to December, we were put into a cooperating teacher’s classroom, and we slowly started teaching. We began teaching 1 class a week, then went to 3 classes a week, then we moved to teaching the whole day. I really believe my internship was where I learned what it takes to be a succesful teacher. It gave us hands on experience, and helped us to play around with our teaching and management styles. I had a fantastic cooperating teacher and we got along really well. Her and I had different teaching styles, but I think we complimented each other nicely as a team.

After December, I went back to the university for my last semester, and took the last 5 classes of my degree. One of those was ECMP 455 with @shareski, who I owe a lot, if not all, of my twitter and “e-knowledge” to.  He was an inspiring professor who showed me how to take teaching to the next level and make it social, collaborative, and applicable to today’s students.  Now that I am officially done training to be a teacher, it’s time to move to unofficially training to be a teacher. I have been doing this online, through relationships, through everyday teaching, and through learning from everyone and everything I can!

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For the love of kids

Posted on July 9, 2011. Filed under: educational, personal, reflection, teaching and learning | Tags: , , |

I have been challenged to blog more because of some of the ladies on #kinderchat deciding that THEY want to blog more. I think it’s an excellent idea and I am up for the challenge. The topic this week has to do with some of our first experiences with children and the the first time we think we were considered “teacher.” I am probably one of many teachers who have always been around kids, and liked hanging out with kids wherever and whenever I could, so this was a hard moment to pinpoint.
One of the memories that sticks out for me is when I was a teacher for the four and five year old group at Pioneer Clubs. Pioneer clubs was a church based kids club (Kind of like Awanas) that happened on Wednesday evenings at Faith Baptist Church in Regina SK. The group I taught was called Scooter club. These kids were awesome. They were a fun loving, say anything, play dough loving kind of group. It was my job to teach them about Jesus, do a craft, have them learn a memory verse from the Bible and go to the gym and play a game.
Most teachers can probably admit that sometimes we get good at winging things. It’s not ALWAYS a sign of poor planning, but I’m not going to lie, in this circumstance, it was. I didn’t really have a good game planned, so when we got to the gym, I winged it. (grammar?!) We had learned about the creation story that day and so instead of just playing British bulldog, I called the game “trees” and the person in the middle had to be a tree, and their branches had to reach out and try and catch people when they ran by. Instead of yelling British bulldog, they yelled trees, and that was that. They really loved that game, and almost every week they wanted to play it again and again. I would have totally forgot about that night and that game if it hadn’t been for quite a few years later. I can’t remember exactly what I was doing; I might have been teaching Sunday school, or walking by the gym when kids were playing, but I remember being in the gym with some children and hearing them playing the game “trees.”  I was shocked. This random game I made up quite a few years earlier was still being played by kids, and it was still called trees! Who knows, maybe I will be sued by the makers of British bulldog for using their game and calling it something else! But I thought it was awesome that I started something that really caught on!
If I really want to be reflective in this post, this story makes me think of my daily job as a teacher in a more clear fashion. Our job as teachers isn’t always to make up new and exciting, innovative and creative activities every day. Most times the REALLY good stuff is already out there! It’s just our job to re-name it, or re-face it and to make it exciting for the personalities and individuals in our classroom! Taking things that work and making them work for us is one of our many jobs as teachers. And when it comes down to it, we do it all for the love of kids.

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