And This Is Why I Teach… (Plus Teach it Tuesday)

Well it was Canadian Thanksgiving on the weekend which means my brain hit holiday mode and I totally forgot to get my post up. So I’ve combined the Teach it Tuesday post this week with my regular post. If you enjoyed our Olympics unit for French last year than you are in luck! We just finished a new unit to start off French this year – L’École. With lots of games and activities along with French vocabulary practice, we would love your feedback on this product if you end up using it in your classroom. Grab a copy of our unit here on our Teachers Pay Teachers site.

This year I am teaching math, language arts, social studies, French, and PE. I absolutely love this teaching schedule and the balance it provides. I have taught language arts and French a lot so I find that I have lots of creative ideas and planning is very straightforward. Math is my focus this year so I have been putting a lot of energy into planning my lessons and assessing the students. PE is a subject that I am very comfortable with, especially after coaching multi-sport kids programs for four years during university and lots of summer camp work too. So then comes social studies… I absolutely LOVE social studies! I love travel and history and politics and social change! But I have never taught social studies and despite the help I’ve been given by friends and colleagues I was feeling uninspired (my best guess is that I was feeling uninspired because deep down I was feeling insecure about how to best teach Socials).

So on Friday I planned an “easy prep” lesson to get going with our short unit on Mesopotamia: a video from Discovery Education and an activity looking at the roles and jobs of citizens in ancient Sumer. It was not well planned or inspired. I wasn’t dreading it but I definitely wasn’t excited for it…

But then it happened. The simple discussion became something so much more. There was thoughtful responses, deep questions, and full class participation. I reminded myself not to lecture but to question students to draw out responses from students thoughts and knowledge. And they had so much to offer! Pure inspiration right from the source…

quotes-inspiration8

And this is why I teach.

As much as I often love to lose myself in the planning and prep work, that is not what it’s about.

As much as I want to challenge myself to become a master of the curriculum and different ways to teach it, that is not what it’s about.

As much as I love creative, inspired, well planned projects, that is not what it’s about.

It’s the moments of connection, learning, and growth. It’s the moments I can’t plan. The ones I can’t force. It’s the ones that catch me off guard when I’m feeling uninspired. Those are the moments when I come alive in this teaching job.

And this is why I teach.

Meaghan

My “Someday Job”…

So around here “Back to School” fever is just starting to set in. This involves waiting impatiently by your phone for calls about jobs, thinking about lesson planning, trying to fit in those last few “must do’s” of the summer and all the rest!

In amongst that I’ve started working summer camps as I needed a little bit of income after a summer of not working. The camp I’m running is a food prep/nutrition camp offered throughout the city at a very low cost to families. I was a little nervous stepping into the role as it isn’t within my realm of experience but I have really loved the mix of teaching and summer camp that it has brought. It’s really started me thinking about what my ideal teaching job would be. Now being a new teacher in a tough district means I will take pretty much anything and everything in the next couple of years until I build up my seniority but until then I can dream about my “Someday Job.” My “Someday Job” isn’t the for sure be all end all of my teaching career because I change my mind about what I want to do daily if not hourly; my “Someday Job” is just the job that I want to do for sure for at least a year because it has the components of a lot of my favourite aspects of teaching.

20130821-204056.jpg

A “dream job” kind of feeling…

So what would it be?

Grade: 7/8

I absolutely LOVE middle school! Most people I tell that too look at me like I’m a little insane but the ones who don’t, the ones who “get it”, just nod and agree because there really is no place like it! Every middle school I’ve been in has been different but there is something at the core of this age group that I just absolutely love. Grade 6 is a little on the young side for me so I’ve ruled that out. I absolutely love both grade 7 and grade 8 for very different reasons so I think a grade 7/8 split class would be my favourite (and yes I know most people don’t wish for split classes but I like the balance of combining age groups!)

Subjects: Math, French, English (and maybe Phys. Ed)

Math is my favourite subject to teach because I love using manipulatives, working out problems and watching those “Aha!” moments. French is a new one to this list – over the past year it quickly became a favourite because of the flexibility of the curriculum and the ease of tying it in with my passions in global education. English or Language Arts makes this list easily because I love watching students develop their communication skills and I love how much insight and connection you can gain through a subject that you can easily relate to their passions. And then there is PE… I love physical activity, sports, nutrition, and health education in general but I haven’t had too much opportunity to teach it at the middle school level. Elementary PE I could do in a heartbeat but I think I need some more professional development to feel totally comfortable with PE at the middle school level.

Other factors…

When I get this job I think I’d like to know at least 2 weeks before school starts so the panic isn’t as crazy as the “one weekend to plan everything” kind of stress. I don’t really care what school I’m at as long as I get to work with some of the amazing staff that I know in our district. Also, I’d obviously like to have a classroom right next to Karley so we can team teach, idea share, and blog about it all – We know that you readers would love this too right? Come on school district!

So what about you…

Are you in your dream job or “someday” job right now?

What grade/subject would it be? Or what school would it be at?

Meaghan