Switching the Focus

Things have gone pretty quiet over here on Tale of Two Teachers.  We didn’t officially plan to stop posting, we just kind of stopped.  We could blame it on this teachers’ strike and all the excessive drama that’s stemmed from it, we could blame it on the super emotional and impromptu “end of year celebration” day we had to whip up on a night’s notice last week, we could blame it on the fact that summer vacation is just around the corner.  But if we’re honest, we’re just so tired.  So, so exhausted.

For both of us, and likely many other teachers in BC, keeping up with the incessant Facebook and other social media related teachers’ strike news is essentially a full time job in itself!  Seriously, if I sit at my computer with my Facebook feed open, new things pop up every few minutes.  Then add everyone’s opinions and emotions into the mix of this political mess and it’s almost a bit too much.  As we’re both inexperienced in the terms of teacher strikes, the past month of job action (and escalation of job action) has run these two new teachers to the ground.

We’ve decided that we will write a year end teaching related post today and then for the summer, or at least a decent chunk of the summer, we will become “lifestyle bloggers” here on Tale of Two Teachers.  We aren’t concerned if people read our lifestyle posts or not, but we do want to keep writing and just need a break from teaching for a while.  We did a similar thing over Spring Break this year.  We hope you enjoy our lifestyle posts, but if you’re more into the teacher posts we write, we wish you an awesome summer and we’ll catch up with you later in August!

Q&A with Karley

Best moment this year…  I had many stellar moments this year with my class, but last week I was given a letter and a gorgeous piece of artwork from one of my toughest, most challenging, most loveable and adorable students.  The letter had me in insta-tears (surprise, surprise).  The student who wrote me the letter has faced extreme adversity, but was able to reflect upon the year as an opportunity of personal growth and change.  It floors me to realize that a 13 year old can be so cognitive of their own social-emotional development throughout the course of ten school months, and yet I am incredibly honoured to be the recipient of such a beautiful, honest piece of writing.  This particular student will remain in my heart for a long, long time.

Biggest challenge this year… The last four weeks of job action (and escalation) have been challenging.  I think this whole job action experience has made me more aware of how public and political my job actually is.  I don’t really know where I stand with those mixed emotions right now; I need more time to let this all settle and resonate.  Ending the year on this abrupt, “just kidding you don’t get to do any fun stuff with your class” note is pretty uncool, in my opinion.  Un.  Cool.

How I’ve grown as a teacher throughout the year… HA! If you haven’t already, go back and read the letter to my class that I wrote and read to them on our last day together.  If this letter is not a reflection on how I’ve changed as a teacher this year, I’m not quite sure how else to describe it.  I think what I learned the most this year is tolerance and patience.  I now know that if I can not only survive, but TEACH a class like the class I had this year, I can do absolutely anything.  I’m not kidding.

Current mantra… I actually don’t have a manta right now.  I am pretty zoned out of the whole school thing, to be quite honest (thank you teachers’ strike for that abrupt mind shift).

Plans for the break…  Not too much, actually.  A few road trips up to see my in-laws, who live on Shuswap Lake.  Some serious house renovations.  Some boating adventures with my parents, who now live a 20 min drive from my house.  Reading.  A lot of reading.  Oooh – and I want to bust out my grandma’s old sewing machine, find a YouTube tutorial on how to thread it (it’s been years, like since grade 9) and then I want sew some yellow chevron patterned curtains.  It’s no vaca to Indonesia, but hey 😉

Goals/intentions for the new school year… Unlike Meaghan, I haven’t given this too much thought yet.  My mind is still recovering from the insanity that was this end-of-year debacle, and I didn’t really spend much time this year thinking about what I want to do next year.  I was pretty good at “living in the moment” this year because I didn’t really have a choice; up until about February I was just trying to survive! I guess my only intention is to get a full time job for next year.  I don’t care where I work, I don’t care the grade level I work with, I don’t care which subjects I teach/don’t teach…I’m open for anything.  So open that in fact I’ve applied for 62 jobs knowing quite well that I very likely will not get one in this round of postings, or the next round.  My hope is for late August, but even then, I’ll take a September posting too!


Q&A with Meaghan

Best moment this year…  Ahhh so tough! I think it was saying goodbye to that first group I had in the fall because although goodbyes are hard and awful, those were the strongest relationships I have ever built as a teacher and I worked so dang hard to get where I got with them. Plus, it put me in a very reflective place and I realized just how much I had learned from them.

Biggest challenge this year…  Looking at the big picture. This year was full of some extreme lows and highs which often made it difficult to really look at the big picture. I am so happy with all of the opportunities I was given but in the moment it felt very frustrating to not understand why things were going the way they were.

How I’ve grown as a teacher throughout the year… I can’t even describe how much I’ve changed as a teacher this year. One of the biggest changes I’ve found is in my confidence, even though I’m a new teacher I still can speak up and have a say when it comes to what I think should be done in different situations. Last year I really took a back seat when it came to sharing my opinion but I am feeling more and more comfortable and confident in sharing what I think I/we should do.

Current mantra… One step at a time.

Plans for the break… I have a VERY exciting break coming up but first and foremost – relax! This has been a really tough end to a great year and I need a break. I am running a youth leadership course for a couple of weeks (yes this is work – but it’s work that I truly LOVE to do!) and we have a bunch of weekend trips planned. The two biggest things for the break are my brother’s wedding and a three week trip to Indonesia! So excited!!!!!

Goals/intentions for the new school year… To change my teaching practice in some big ways – I want to become more hands on (manipulatives, interactive journals) with math, I want to try a centres based approach in French, I want to “re-invent” the fitness run for PE (stay tuned for my ideas on that one), and I want to continue to make the centre of my teaching practice focused on Creativity, Passion, and Compassion.


Thanks everyone for your readership and support during the last ten months of school! Stay tuned (if you want) for our lifestyle posts, coming up soon.  I have a sneaking suspicion the first lifestyle post might be about a certain someone’s first marathon…just a hunch.


2 thoughts on “Switching the Focus

  1. Reading this makes me fear next school year already. Our contracts are set to expire and there is already talks of strikes/job action because of what happened last year in Ontario. I know that last year we cut out extra curriculars from September til March in my school – no strikes in the high schools though

    Hang in there! Looking forward to your summer posts 🙂

  2. Pingback: Stronger For It | Tale of Two Teachers

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