End of Year Q&A: Meaghan

Three favourite things from this year (because one is not enough!):

1) The first week of my contract back in October when for the first time I had the thought “Ohhhh I DO know what I’m doing!” Somewhere between the crazy planning over Thanksgiving weekend and the end of the first week with my students I had that realization that I would make it through and it was a great feeling!
2) Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and making new professional connections and friends. I am shy – very shy sometimes… So every conversation and connection I’ve made this year has made me so proud!
3) Finding that balance between teacher and friend with my students and building relationships with each and every one of my incredible students. I’m going to miss them so much – I am so thankful for the best first class ever!

Worst moment from this year:

I’m going to combine a whole bunch of moments into one for this… The STRESS of not knowing if I’ll be working or not! Holy was that a steep learning curve for this girl! It took a lot of deep breathing, running and distractions to learn to be okay with the on-call thing. The first few months had me feeling as if I was pitted against my friends for my paychecks. I remember Karley and I both saying sorry over similar matters (i.e. “Sorry I went to YOUR school to hand out my cards”) and we both ended up laughing about it. In the long run, we get enough work and days off should feel sacred because come May and June I don’t think I had a second to breathe between all my shifts!

A mantra I continually used this year:

You are a teacher. You are meant to be here. There were so many times this year where I felt unsure of what I was doing or way too young to be a teacher (I could fill a whole blog with this “too young” perception I have of myself) . It took me a while to find my voice in conversations with other staff and to make decisions about what I thought was important or not in regards to my teaching and students. Reminding myself that there is a reason I am where I am was so helpful. I know I am a teacher in my heart and soul – it just takes a little reminder here and there 🙂

Something I wish I’d known last year at this time:

Man, Karley’s tip is pretty much right on the nose for me as well… I’ll add something else though! Please keep in mind that this time last year I was in a really bad place (think anxiety, unstable home environment, loss of a few people close to me, and just overwhelmed in general).

If I could go back and tell myself anything it would be that I will be genuinely happy at this time next year. That all of the hard times will help me to grow stronger and become more of who I am. And I would remind myself that it all happens for a reason because I truly believe it does even though we can’t always see the reasons until later on.

I cannot believe it has already been a year since we graduated!

I cannot believe it has already been a year since we graduated!

Going into my second year I plan to do _____ differently.

One word – assessment! I am still learning so much about assessment: what works, what doesn’t, how to organize everything, and on and on and on… I will take any and all tips and tricks you can send this way but I need to be more efficient and organized.

What I’m going to do during my first official summer as a teacher:

I will be doing a French course in July, running a leadership course for the first two weeks of August, and then taking some time off to enjoy my lovely new neighbourhood! Also starting my half-marathon training this week and playing some softball and volleyball. And my book list has grown unbelievably long this year so I have a good chunk of reading to do – stay tuned for the book reviews!

Plus I got a lovely bookstore gift card today... Uh oh!

Plus I got a lovely bookstore gift card today… Uh oh!


My June Survival Guide

So this has been my first year teaching in the month of June. And I think I’ve learned more about teaching in June than anything else this year! (Well that might be a bit of an exaggeration… But still!)

So many “wish I’d known that” moments… Here is my advice to myself for teaching in June

1. NO PROJECTS! Don’t assign projects due in the middle of June. The kids don’t want to do them and I sure don’t want to mark them while I’m trying to do report cards.

2. KEEP IT SIMPLE… I thought they talked too much in class the rest of the year? Just wait! June is the cant sit down, can’t stop talking, can’t pay attention month of all months! I am learning to keep my instructions short and virtually fool proof the closer we came to the end of the year.

3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. No matter how much I am in love with my job by June I am tired! Soooo tired! Don’t plan to do huge, elaborate, takeshourstoplan lessons or activities! And please just try to get enough sleep because it will never feel like enough!

4. PLAY GAMES! I will never be more thankful for my 8 years of summer camp experience than I am in June. Games, games, games… My saving grace!

Field Games

Field Games

5. KNOW THAT TIME WILL NOT BE ON YOUR SIDE… Between all of the talking, the yelling, the assemblies, the field trips, and the craziness that June brings – I will never have the class time I think I have! Don’t plan too much and don’t stress when it doesn’t all get done… It’s June!

6. YOU’RE IN THIS TOGETHER. Remember that the kids feel done and so do I… I think reminding each other of this fact is helpful in remaining respectful to each other and somewhat productive.

7. IT’S FOR THE KIDS! In the end, those kids come first and matter the most. Soak up every last minute with those beautiful souls! Have those meaningful conversations and take time with each and every student!

So I had a lot to learn this June… But guess what? I survived! And although it was truly crazy and frustrating and joyful and stress-inducing… It was totally worth it! I’m so glad to have those last few weeks with my students and have the time to spend without worrying as much about the curriculum or marking or assessment.

In June, I got to enjoy playing games and chatting. I got to shake their hands as they graduated from middle school. I was able to reflect on those little things that matter the most. I built better relationships with my students. In June, I learned a lot as a teacher and a person… and in the end I had a great time!

Being new in the district I am unsure about job prospects for next year but it worked out so well this year that, although I’m a little anxious, I am mainly just excited to see what is up next!

Can you add to my list of things to remember in June?

How was your last month of school?