Being Mindful with a Full Mind

Fewf – what a full and busy week. I’ve been practicing mindfulness in my teaching and let me tell you…my mind is very FULL! I’m officially moved in to my new grade 8 classroom and am continuing to settle a bit more, day by day. Several people have sent me text or Facebook messages asking how things have been going, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to write down my “very-own-classroom/grade-8-teaching” experiences thus far. My “personal posts” (my Wednesday posts) have been rather choppy, fragmented notes lately and today’s is no exception, but that’s just how my brain is functioning right now.

Meeting parents/families: I’m currently writing this post in between parent-teacher interviews, and I’ve been involved in several other meetings with families over the past week, so all this energy and information is very fresh! Let me be open and honest here…I absolutely adore meeting my students’ parents and families. Love, love, love this part of my job! Some of you might be thinking, “For real?” and I say, “Yes, for real”. I enjoy meeting new people and I am a talker and a schmoozer; parent teacher interviews and meetings give me the opportunity to meet new people, talk and schmooze. What’s not to love!? On a more serious note, I deeply care about who my students are as people. I find (in most situations) meeting students’ families tends to shed a little light on the student as a person. Having the opportunity to meet with families and discuss how we can work together to best support the child has grown to be one of the most cherished parts of my teaching practice. Thank you parents and families for being incredible this past week!

Getting to know my students: I’ve been in my class for one week now and my students and I are getting to know each other better by the day. So far we haven’t focused a whole lot on the academic side of things. This is not to say we haven’t done any work, because we have, but I’m the kind of teacher who would rather form a relationship with my students before administering a test or assigning homework. My students probably think this is great right now because it’s 80% fun (at least, I think it’s fun) and 20% work. I’ve learned funny things, serious things, saddening things and uplifting things about my 75 students (I teach three divisions) in five school days…I’m very intrigued to get to know these amazing kids even more!

Our pretty looking interactive science notebooks.

Our pretty looking interactive science notebooks.

Best and worst moment so far: I try to keep things positive and smiley on our blog, but to be this way all the time would not be truthful or realistic. Let’s start with this past Monday…which was terrible. I’ve subbed at this school before and I know that coming in off the weekend high (or low, in many of my students’ cases) can be beyond challenging. This past Monday proved to be one of those Mondays where nothing could or would go right. To keep things short, my science lesson ended with a lecture about respect and proper behaviour from the principal to my entire class. Fewf. I went home Monday entirely exhausted and deflated, but, because I have experience working at this school, prepared for a MUCH better Tuesday. Shout out to Karen for talking me through my day later that night and offering wise insight, as per usual.

Yes, I DID take a selfie as soon as my first "very hard day" ended.  Don't I look exhausted?

Yes, I DID take a selfie as soon as my first “very hard day” ended. Don’t I look amazing…ly exhausted?

Moving on to today, which I think was one of many best moments so far. In science this morning we were talking and reading about the three scientists who were recently awarded the Nobel medicine prize for their studies in “cell communication”. We read a short article from Reuters and I had my students respond to the article in their interactive science journals (more on those coming in future blog posts). Most of my students were actually totally engaged in their task and got straight to work. We didn’t finish the journal entries yet because we ran out of time, but from what I’ve read so far, this lesson was the first truly successful learning my students have done with me. One student in particular tugged at my heartstrings today during science because last week she “hated science” and today she wrote her response/journal entry in letter form and addressed it to these three scientists who won the Nobel medicine prize. She wrote lines and lines of congratulations, asked questions about their research and even challenged some of their thinking (as described in the article we read). After she moved on to another class, I read her letter to the scientists and beamed with pure joy for this student’s success today in class. Knowing that today’s lesson helped this girl to engage with the scientific world, even just for one block of time, makes my little teacher heart swell!

I wrote the first Feel Good Friday messages for my class to really set the tone for an awesome year together.

I wrote the first Feel Good Friday messages for my class to really set the tone for an awesome year together.

Parent-teacher interviews are over for the day and my voice is tired and I think I’m getting a fever. Bedtime and snuggles, here I come!


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