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The Rookie Teacher



Optimism Vs. The Supply List: What I’ve Learned So Far 3

Posted on February 02, 2016 by Allison Dyjach

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek

Scenario 1: Wake up at 6:45am, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, pack up your bags, wait patiently. Stare at phone, stare at phone for longer, stare at phone while you still don’t get a phone call to teach. Check email in desperation. No jobs. Force yourself to continue on with the day while checking phone at 15-minute intervals. Continue attempts to be productive, checking that the volume on your phone is still on every hour. 1pm, no use checking anymore. Carry on with your day, go to bed, with hopes that tomorrow will be better.

Scenario 2: Wake up at 6:45am, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, pack up your bags, wait patiently. Phone rings, listen for job, accept job, rush around the house collecting your things. Hang out with kids all day, mingle with teachers and administrators, wander around school looking for the bathroom, encounter technological difficulties of some sort, have a great moment with a student, have a challenging moment with a student, remember why you fell in love with teaching. Bell rings, send them on their way, tidy classroom and go on your way. Carry on with your day, go to bed, with hopes that tomorrow will be even better.

Overhead of smartphone with pen

https://tribktla.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/table-thinkstockphotos-495842183.jpg

Every Tuesday and Friday since January, this has been my life. I was one of the fortunate ones that managed to get myself onto a supply list within a year of graduating teacher’s college, but due to a previous job commitment can only supply two days a week for the time being. When I tell my friends excitedly that I have been supply teaching, they ask about the schools I have been to, what I have had to teach, how the kids are, etc. I tell them about how good it feels to be in a classroom again, and a few funny anecdotes that seem to come with each job. Then, this next question always seems to come up: “So how do you know if you’re going to get a call or not?” I laugh and tell them the truth—you don’t. There is no way to know if I will receive one of those random calls each morning. I go on to tell my friends about my morning routine, how I wake up early and am ready to head out the door by 7:30am, in the event that I do get a phone call. I explain all of this to them, and then I am generally met with a look of disbelief. Compared to 99% of other jobs, it may seem ludicrous that I get dressed up and ready to go to a job that might not even exist that day. But, as I said, this is my life.

For the past four weeks I have experienced almost every emotion imaginable when it has come to my job prospects. The first day that I was available to supply and did not receive a call, I spent the majority of my morning listening to sad music and napping on the couch. In contrast, the second time I was left without a job, I read a book, completed a whole list of work for my current online course, applied to summer jobs, did laundry, cooked a healthy lunch, and several other productive and positive things. This is one of the great difficulties of being an occasional teacher. The days that you teach can make you feel on top of the world—feeling like you are making connections and impacting students and inching closer towards that dream of having your own classroom. But then, the days when you sit at home praying for the phone to ring and it simply doesn’t, it can make you feel a little bit, well, defeated.

 

So, advice time. Like I said, I am still very new to this. It has only been a month, so I would say I am still in the “honeymoon” phase where getting calls 50% of the time makes me jump for joy. But there are some things that I have learned already that seem to make a difference about whether I am going to spend the day napping on the couch, or running around the house actually getting work done:

  • Focus on the good. I know it’s hard to; I have days where optimism is not even on my radar (ie. the couch days). But, if you are on a supply list–guess what–that means that that a school
    44aa6dce773d6c97d0a4f568ad48b940

    This will hang in my classroom someday…

    board likes you. It means that you met with school board administrators in an interview and they thought you would be a good teacher. Your skills are valued and you have the opportunity to engage with students, even if it’s only for 6 hours of their entire lives. Remember why you got into teaching in the first place (hint, to spend time with kids!), so when you’re having a low day, you can think back to some of your favourite teaching moments to get yourself back into your “happy place.” Slowly but surely, you are making a difference in peoples’ lives, and supply teaching is the first step for all of that.

  • That being said, starting out in the teaching world can be frustrating (for those of you reading around the globe, the teaching market in Ontario is a tricky one to navigate right now). Now this is the important part: it is okay to feel frustrated, and upset, and sad, and depressed, and really, really angry. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about being upset, so deal with these feelings in a way that works best for you. Talk with friends or family, write, create art, or work out. And remember, there is a difference between dealing with negative emotions and dwelling on them. It’s healthy to be sad about something, but if you find that the negativity is impacting other aspects of your life such as sleeping/eating habits, social life, or motivation, reach out for help so that you can get the support that you need.
  • Find productive ways to spend time on days off. At this very moment, I am writing this article because I did not receive a supply call today. Enroll in an online course or look into other professional development opportunities; use a day off to prep meals/lunches for the week; start that teaching blog you’ve always wanted to create; or use it to actually make some of the Pinterest teaching DIY’s you’ve been putting off. Just because you’re not “working” doesn’t mean you can’t get work done.
  • People will comment, and question, and try to give advice…take it all with a grain of salt. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they have a nephew or a cousin or their boyfriend’s best friend went to China or England to get a teaching job…I wouldn’t need a job anymore. I could also get rich from the amount of times people have told me “the teaching job market is so difficult right now!” or that it will be impossible for me to find a job. I am very aware of these things. I did not expect to land a full time teaching job the year after teacher’s college, but yes, I still want to be a teacher. I find that because teaching is such a widespread and public career, it can come with a lot of unwanted commentary. Many people will give you advice that is genuinely helpful; in cases like these, keep your ears open and take all of the advice you can get. But other times, comments can catch you off guard and make you doubt the decisions you have made (maybe you should have gone to China…). But, if you have a passion for teaching and you have dreams of having your own classroom in a school, then this is the route you have to take—don’t let others shake your confidence.
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Another favourite. Thank you, Pinterest.

Do these tips make me an expert? Not a chance. I don’t know everything, but what I do know is that I have a long road ahead of me when it comes to occasional teaching, long-term occasional placements, and part time contracts, so I want to do everything that I can to ensure that I am not in a state of burn out when the opportunity for a full time position does come knocking. Remaining optimistic, taking care of ourselves, and working as hard as possible are some of the only things that we can control when it comes to supply teaching. I’m sure all of you have seen one of those “Attitude is Everything!” posters in a classroom before. Well, those posters aren’t just for students. Attitude is everything and remaining positive in the face of uncertainty can help keep you focused and grounded. Each morning, one of those two scenarios will happen…and it’s up to you to make the most of whatever side the coin lands on.

 

We want to hear from YOU too! What did you do/are doing currently to remain positive during your first couple of months working as a supply teacher? Any advice to share with our readers? Leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter!

 

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What’s behind the food we eat? 2

Posted on March 08, 2012 by Sarah

Here’s an update on what we’ve been discussing in my Pedagogy of Food course at OISE. First of all, we have a severely broken food system. Do you ever think about just where did your orange come from? Was it handpicked in a developing country? Was the worker paid fairly? How old are they? Are they happy? We partook in a mindful eating experience that reflected on these questions while also slowly, mindfully experiencing one raisin at a time. This blindness is called commodity fetishism. It’s an unhealthy attention to a commodity without regarding the social relationships that brought the commodity to us. It’s a product of our economic and political systems, creating a veil so we are unable to make informed decisions as consumers. We are unaware if the

The New Fred Meyer on Interstate on Lombard by lyzadanger

photo: lyzadanger, flickrcc.net

orange was picked by a child or by a woman who was sexually harassed. These types of veils are found everywhere in systems that affect us everyday, but when a small handful of corporations control the entire food distribution of the world, it becomes quite worrisome and dangerous. A phenomenal amount of money is spent selling and buying food, eating out, transporting and storing food, yet such a public necessity stays in a fairly private light, rarely being discussed. So what can we do as educators? Help foster critical thinking! Encourage, nay, praise questions! Excite students to make a difference and challenge them to form values and stand up for what they believe in. Model what active, citizen engagement is and have conversations about food. Plus, the only way you can inform others is to inform yourself.

 

An excellent resource for more information is “The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food” by Toronto author Wayne Roberts. It’s an essential read for everyone!

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Occasional Teacher Mini Series: Planning/Prep Coverage: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 7 7

Posted on February 20, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

Welcome to our Occasional Teacher Mini Series.  On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss Life as Rotary (Planning/Prep Coverage) Teacher: When you only have 40 Minutes.  It’s no secret that as rookies, most of us will begin our careers as a supply teacher, 0.## contracts, planning, rotary, long term occasional teacher, etc. Chances are that you will begin your permanent (or LTO) in a part-time contract with prep coverage, even .18, is better than nothing!  Listen in to hear Andrew share his experiences as a French Teacher, including: his classroom management strategies, the routines he built, and how he manages assessment and evaluation for ~200 students.

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Life as a Rotary (Planning/Prep Coverage) Teacher: When you only have 40 Minutes

photo: creativeorganizing.typepad.com

photo: creativeorganizing.typepad.com

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Magazine Boxes (for yourself, for students who require accommodation, and to keep your students organized). As a bonus, you can have students decorate them (according to The Arts: Visual Arts curriculum). There are many DIY magazine box projects on Pinterest.com.
  • NatashaPermanent 4-corner sheets (put them in page protectors with butterfly clips for easy transportability)
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
  • AndrewIndex Cards on a Ring (assessment/evaluation strategies, observation notes, handy to pass off to someone else). Option: colour code them!
  • Natasha: CDs (or websites) that come with resource/text books – USE THEM!  Often contain lesson plans, printables, assessment/evaluation strategies
Quick Shout Outs
  1. New Teacher Chat <#ntchat> on Wednesdays at 8:00pm EST on twitter > twebevent.com/ntchat [using this website saves you from having to add the hashtag to each post]
  2. Thank you to all the guest bloggers who have submitted an article to the site – we really appreciate your support and willingness to share your stories and experiences
photo: Neon Mic by fensterbme

photo: Neon Mic by fensterbme

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss So, you’re the new one, eh?

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BEd Alternatives: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 5 5

Posted on January 16, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

On this episode, four RookieTeachers discuss Bachelor of Education Alternatives: How are you using your BEd outside the classroom? With special guests Rebecca Jess and Rob Kempson, Natasha and Andrew investigate how Bachelor of Education graduates spend their time working outside of the classroom.  Listen in to learn how Rob manages his time between Occasional Teaching and working in the drama communities in Toronto and how Rebecca’s interest in the arts and summer camping has led her to a full time job as a Summer Camp Director.

Rob Kempson and Rebecca Jess

Guest: Rob Kempson and Rebecca Jess

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Bachelor of Education Alternatives: How are you using your BEd outside the classroom?

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Procedural Writing using Origami
  • Rob: Super Sonic Simon Says
  • Rebecca: Grabbing Attention with Jingles (i.e., Sleep Country; Justin Bieber’s song Baby)
  • Natasha: WallWisher.com
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
Quick Shout Outs
  1. Happy New Year! 2012 is going to be a great year for TheRookieTeacher.ca.  Stay tuned, we have LOTS of amazing things planned.
  2. We reached our goal of 100 Likes (and counting) on Facebook.  Thank you for helping us spread the word about our page.  Please continue to share and post questions.
  3. Don’t forget about the great discussions happening on Twitter.  Edutopia with Lisa Dabbs host the #ntchat every Wednesday night from 8-9pm EST on twitter.

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCA, Facebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks again so much to our guests:

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss Life as a Prep/Rotary/”drop in” Teacher: When you only have 40-60 minutes.

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Resumes and Interviews: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 3 0

Posted on December 04, 2011 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss resumés and interviews.  Being a Rookie means starting from square one.  It’s never a bad time to update your professional resume (in fact, it may not be a bad idea to constantly be keeping a record of your experience, accomplishments, and certifications).

resumés and interviews

photo: N.Dunn

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Resumés and Interviews (& a bit about portfolios too)

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: A Story Line (Art Lesson)
  • Natasha: “To Be Successful Today…” (routine, success criteria)
The Rookie Resource Bank:
Quick Shout Outs
  1. www.HiredTeacher.ca: sharing ideas and information in order to help new teachers find jobs – follow on twitter @HiredTeacher
  2. We have had request for running a #RookieTeacher chat on Twitter.  At this time we are going to hold off – but please check #NTChat (twebevent)/ NewTeacherChatWiki (hosted by Lisa Dabbs @teachingwthsoul) every Wednesday from 8:00-9:00p ET.
  3. We want to welcome all our new contributors to the table.  Watch out for blog posts and words of wisdom from: Marsha Pritchard, Sarah Lowes, Lauren Hughes, and Michelle Horst.  If you are interested in teaching overseas – keep an eye out for our special UK blogger, Jenn Graham.
  4. Like us on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher to receive web updates and join the discussion about teaching, education, and being a Rookie. We would love to see 100 Likes by the end of November

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

We want to hear from you, please comment on the blog, follow us on twitter @RookieTeacherCA, join us on Facebook, or send us an email to info@TheRookieTeacher.ca.

Find Natasha (@yoMsDunn) and Andrew (@ABlakeTeach) on Twitter.

Listen Live

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To Survive and To Thrive: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 2 0

Posted on November 21, 2011 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

avoid getting sick

Avoid getting sick. photo: N.Dunn

On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss how to survive and to thrive.  From communication to collaboration to organization, Natasha and Andrew explain how taking the time to develop a routine that works for you will go a long way.

As we hit the November crunch (or slump) progress reports, paper work, and interviews are coming to an end and it’s important for us to remember to stay healthy and avoid coasting until the holidays.  As teachers, we need to keep our energy up and keep the energy of our students up as well.

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: To Survive and To Thrive (communication, collaboration, and organization)

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Re-Tell Glove (Setting, Character(s), Beginning-Middle-End, Palm Connection)
  • Natasha: Exit Tweets (PDF found here)
The Rookie Resource Bank:

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss RESUMES & INTERVIEWS.

We want to hear from you, please comment on the blog, follow us on twitter @RookieTeacherCA, join us on Facebook, or send us an email to info@TheRookieTeacher.ca.

Find Natasha and Andrew on twitter @yoMsDunn and @ABlakeTeach.

Listen Live

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Teaching and Summer Camp: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 1 3

Posted on November 08, 2011 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss how their #summercamp training and experience has affected their teaching practices. From building community to classroom management techniques, Natasha and Andrew explain how they bring camp to the classroom and the how their experience as summer camp staff has had a positive impact on their work as teachers.

Teen Week Campfire

photo: N.Dunn

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Teaching and Summer Camp

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

The Rookie Resource Bank:

Thanks for listening.

We want to hear from you, please comment on the blog, twitter @RookieTeacherCA or send us an email to info@TheRookieTeacher.ca.  Find Natasha and Andrew on twitter @yoMsDunn and @ABlakeTeach.

Listen Live

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    Rookie Teacher Boards:

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