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Are Circles Really That Important Anymore? Taking Care of My Whole Self

The day after the announcement came that schools were cancelling all classes indefinitely, I sat in my empty classroom pondering what my next moves would be. Although it was strange not being met by my students that day, I couldn't help but appreciate the solidarity. Loud and busy students were replaced with a quietness that served as my unexpected confidant as I trailed off into deep thought. Despite other staff in my building, there were few conversations apart from a short meeting, for every teacher stayed in their own rooms, trying to process the news of what would be our new normal.  As my thoughts wandered, I couldn't help but wonder if students were feeling the seriousness of the situation or enjoying a 'no school high' that likely follows a 'no more school for the rest of the year' announcement. Surely students will be hit with the new realities of not seeing their friend, teachers or school community for a while eventually? Waiting on news of what lea
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Switching to Online Learning in the Midst of a Pandemic

If you had asked me back in September what I thought my second year teaching would look like, I doubt I would have answered with,  "stuck in an apartment teaching my students online from my kitchen table." Like many educators in North America right now, it is quite the shift going from seeing students every day to being confined to teaching students at home using an electronic device of your choice.  Perhaps, in some ways, this new teaching predicament warrants gratitude because it does give us some time to reflect on our practice and find rest from managing challenging behaviours every day. However, despite these challenging times I can't help but be reminded of that common phrase "the grass is not always greener on the other side, it is just different." I get it, it is a global pandemic that has everyone's lives turned upside down, perhaps it is only natural for all people (including teachers) to have waves of fear, anxiety and restlessness. Even though t

Working with Educational Assistants and Volunteers

Safe to say that even the most experienced teachers could benefit from an extra set of helping hand to help them navigate through their lesson in their classroom. This is especially true when you look at the continually growing class sizes in schools located in urban areas. When you mix a large number of student all showcasing different personality types and learning styles with some students with special needs or exceptionalities. It can present any teacher with a variety of challenges they need to maneuver through. So how does a teacher teach a class in a way where every students individual and collective needs are met? Depending on the class this is where educational assistants and volunteers can come in handy. Most provinces do not have a very specific job description regarding the job of an EA other than to educationally assist where needed. Often times, EA are hired or assigned to a particular student, students or class to give individual attention to a student with specifi

Preparing for a Substitute: 6 Ways to Help Minimize and Manage Classroom Mischief While You Are Away

We have all heard the stories of a classroom full of students acting up for the substitute teacher. The moment where a substitute teacher takes over the class for the day is such a classically iconic moment, that it shows up in blockbuster films as well as best selling children's books. I know what you might be thinking- If entire children's books such as the Berenstain Bears Substitute Teachers can be written to depict children acting out in a variety of ways for substitute teachers, then there must be some truth behind the concept. While spending time in the field as a pre-service teacher, I learned fairly quickly that students do behave significantly differently while their regular teacher is out of the classroom. On several occasions throughout my practicum I was placed in the position of working along side different substitute teachers, or taking complete control of the class while their regular teacher was away. So how does a regular teacher prepare their classroo

Dealing with Parents: Your Guide to Effective Parent-Teacher Relationships

Before being a pre-service teacher in the field, I thought dealing with adults was easy. This was however until I realized many adults of all ages do not only double as my peers, but as a parent of a student - a student I could one day come into contact with in my classroom. This student could either thrive in my class or struggle, or have a dream they desire to reach - with or without parental support. Either way, in today's society, there is the growing trend that both the parent and the student now face the demanding pressure to ensure excellent grades are achieved. With students coming from a variety of backgrounds, whether it is a newly mixed family, or a single parent home, teachers face the never ending obstacle of building success for all students in their classroom. But how can this be done without proper formal or informal communication with parents? That is one of the many loaded questions for teachers and parents in today's society. If you come up with the ultima