World Teachers’ Day

8d9b966e07312dd20f1a451f467d564b--scripture-art-couple-stuffWord Teachers’ Day was on October 5th 2017.  It was a normal working day.  Another day of giving my all to my wonderful students.  But I will admit that I was disappointed that not one parent saw it fit to acknowledge the day.  It’s like that in the school where I teach.  Nevertheless, it didn’t affect my day and our staff was treated to breakfast and lunch courtesy our Principal.
However, today I was brought back to World Teachers’ Day when, as I was browsing Facebook, I saw a video about schools in Finland and their methods of educating which produce some of the highest ranked students in the world.  Shortly after, I read a post about ‘unschooling’ and the freedom it affords students in finding what they love and learning all the ‘subjects’ along the way.  Both methods seem to have the same goal – student happiness.
I thought about the education system that I was in and started to feel like I was totally wasting my life pretending to be a teacher. The sinking feeling was real.
 
Then I remembered what our Principal shared with us for the month of the teacher. “Think about the teacher that impacted you and what he/she did to make a difference in your life, then do that.”
 
As I reflected, I realized that for me, it had nothing to do with the curriculum.  It was the teacher who took interest in me as a person. The teacher who loved my middle name so much he started calling me by it.  The teacher who made me feel special for being the only friend of a girl who everyone else shunned.  The other teacher who sat me down and asked about my family and home.
I remember the ones I disliked as well.  The teacher who made class time feel like preparing for my beheading.  The one who put me to the back of the class for not having my recorder – as if it were my fault my parents couldn’t afford it.
Then there were the ones who were just indifferent or partial.  Did I become creative as an adult?  No.  So how come Art class was so dreary and Music was torture?  I discovered that I was a natural at badminton and lawn tennis on the courts with borrowed rackets, but the PE teacher probably didn’t even know my name.  In other words, they were uninspiring.  They didn’t see what was in me.
 
So it was a time of reflection.  What kind of teacher did I turn out to be?  I’ve always believed in getting to know my students.  But had I gotten lost in the constant meeting of deadlines, testing, record keeping, committee meetings, keeping up with the curriculum?
Then I remembered the students who gave me feedback that had nothing to do with curriculum. The one who remembered that I prayed and it really happened. Who said, “Prayer really works.” The one who said I was the kindest teacher to her. The one who said he wished I was his mummy; the one who said Mrs Mendoza is fun and the one who agreed, “But you are!”
 
So this is the reason I chose this quote to put on my classroom wall.  “They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”
I will do more to show that I care.
Kaden made this

He made this all on his own and presented it to me.

 

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5 Year Old Children – Authors and Illustrators

This story was written by 5-6 year-old students of the Infant Year I class of my school.   It was part of a class project in keeping with the school’s theme: “Making Every GLMS Child Literate”. The sub-theme chosen for the class was “Exploring our world.”

The idea for this book started off when I presented the class with a picture of a fish as a stimulus for a Reading lesson using the Language Experience Approach. Apart from oral reading, I wanted to use it to introduce capital letters at the beginning of sentences.

After the lesson the students wanted to continue the story and this led to five chapters of the story of Aries The Fish! The children were very eager and excited to work on the story and they looked forward to adding to it every day.

Many, many lessons came out of this including: Phonics, Capitalization, Punctuation,  Identifying sentences, Types of sentences, Media Literacy, Comprehension—main idea,  sequencing, self-to-text connections, answering literal and inferential questions, Oral reading, Grammar, Sight words and more.

We were sad to end the story but the cliff-hanger left it open for a Part Two! Hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it!

 

Sending Them Off

This post is rather late.  I had it laying in ‘draft’ stage for the longest while and reading it today almost brought a tear to my eye.  The children are already gone but here goes.

“I’d rather be jumping around with some noisy children than doing all this paperwork!”  This I said to the clerical officer at my school yesterday.  The school year is coming to a close and for some reason I had a lot of paperwork to complete.  I didn’t know that the paperwork was a blessing in disguise.  It kept my mind off of the fact that I was sending these children off to another teacher next year.

It was my first year in the Infant Year One class.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to deal with a bunch of crying five-year-olds entering school for the first time but what a rewarding experience it was!   I had a lovely group of children and even the most troublesome one I love and will sorely miss.

She is the girl whose name is known throughout the school.  The Principal knows her, the teachers of the upper level classes know her, the cleaners know her.  She is the girl whose name is always followed by dramatic sound effects in my head.  You remember Darla from “Finding Nemo?”  Try it.  Say “Darla!”  Did you hear the dramatic sound effects?  Now that’s my girl.  Yet, I miss her when she’s absent and I will miss her when she’s gone on.  By the end of the year she’s hugging me and telling me that she wished I was her mom.

Then there’s my ‘popular girl.’ From the very beginning she declared that she wanted to be a popular girl.  It took only a little while to realize that she wanted to be a pop singer.  She is the girl who wants to sing for you every minute of the day.  She is also impulsive and blurts out answers while raising her hand and standing up.  She is helpful and respectful, constantly wants to hug you and verbally expresses her love for you.  By the end of the year she had a song book with written songs in it.

Then there’s the tiny boy.  His shoe size is amazing to look at.  They are the tiniest shoes ever and they still fall off his feet when he walks.  The uniform is huge on him but it’s the smallest size.  He is obsessed with tops and would spin them throughout the day even when he should be working.  He is heart broken when the top breaks but always seem to have another soon enough.  He is an excellent reader and although he takes all morning to complete one writing exercise, he is right on target.  By the end of the year he is patting his friend on the shoulder and telling him not to worry about his (the friend’s)  broken top, and that he’ll get another one.  Awwww.

Then there’s the shouter who cannot speak softly but is enthusiastic about school and life; the chubby dancer boy who never, ever stops dancing and who never, ever stops laughing; the all round, mature girl who is always neat, polite, well behaved and gets everything right; the quiet, shy boy who now takes part in class; the boy with the bright smile who you can never be upset with no matter what; the boy with the small smile and a mischievous look in his eyes who says the most funny things very softly; the girl who struggles with Reading and is the kindest, most helpful one of all; and all the others.

I will miss these children who made me laugh and made my life so much better for knowing them.  I will miss these children who have grown and blossomed and who will continue to do so as they move on.  God bless them.

See you next door!