Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Enjoying My Time Off!

I don't really post much about daily happenings in my life but there's no Poetry Friday word so I'll take a break from it.

I've been going in to my elementary school every Wednesday all year and volunteering in a Gr. 3 classroom. I love it! Just a few years ago I was in charge of a whole class and teaching from the same reading material so it is very easy for me to take a group out and guide them through the lesson. I don't have to discipline, mark, do anything for the report cards, and I can leave at noon. NO STRESS! And I still have the connection to the kids and teachers I miss. The teacher gets a big bang for her buck with me since I absolutely know what I'm doing. (I team taught Gr. 3 with this teacher for 3 years.) It's perfect.

I also go in on some other days and help judge presentations of projects in history and public speaking contests, do special poetry lessons on my own poetry or my favourite seasonal poems, or read a story to the kids in role dressed up as one of the characters. It is so much fun for me! Most teachers don't have the time or energy to do this so I know it is much appreciated and the kids find it interesting.

Right now, the Grade 3's are gearing up for the 3-day Provincial Standardized Testing and need a lot of training or practising. Most of us, including myself, don't totally believe in this battery of tests because it is just too difficult. Conceptually, the kids simply aren't there yet and it is nearly impossible to cover all the skills that are outlined in the curriculum. It follows, then, that we can't even "teach to the test" because the skills are never transferred and applied to the new test they will actually get.

Although I empathize with my colleagues, I am just as glad that I do not have to contend with the politics and pressure to have kids achieve high scores. After saying my good-byes, I walk home and meet a friend for a stress-free pleasant lunch!

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15 Comments:

Blogger fennymun said...

I thought kids at your side won't be pressurized to achieve high scores at such an early stage! Anyway, I still appreicate your education system in which kids are taught in ways different from here.

Happy a nice weekend!

Friday, April 13, 2007

 
Blogger meno said...

Volunteering gives a lot of the benefits of working without the negatives. Sounds like fun!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger Richard said...

I don't know much about the standardized testing, except that I think, in principle it is a good idea. Perhaps in implementation it is lacking.

A teacher friend of mine has complained about it. Though, she teaches problem grade 7s - which I don't believe are scheduled for testing.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger Rapunzel said...

We have those tests, too, and I hate them! Our school board has gone so far as to change the schedule so that the kids start in early August, ensuring more "study time" before the Springtime exams! The kids are so pressured and stressed, as are the teachers.

My friend is quite high up on the school board and assures me that these tests will be a thing of the past very soon. Probably not soon enough for my high schoolers, though.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger Barbara said...

Sounds just perfect -- to do what you love to do on your own time schedule with no responsibility if they kids fail to achieve the highest score.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger goatman said...

Hi,
Teaching is such a pleasure when it works out. I tought GED classes at a local prison (High School equivalency) and it was a thrill.
Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Fennymun: Thanks! Yes we are pressured but perhaps not as much as you are there. I used to teach Chinese high school kids in Toronto's Eastern College and they worked so hard. They were here on student visas from Hong Kong and Malaysia and were the nicest kids ever!

Meno: It feels great so no going back to teaching for me..until I retire!!!

Richard: I wouldn't mind it so much if it were based on a sound, age-appropriate curriculum. Our testing is for Gr. 3,6, and some subjects (Math/Literacy) in Gr. 7, 9, and 10.

Rapunzel: That's horrible maling them start in Aug.! I can't believe there aren't tons of complaints from parents. I hope your friend is right but right now here, they seem more focused on results now than ever.

Barbara: I can see me doing this for a long time to come!

Goatman: Wow! Sounds like a tough gig and that there might be some disciline problems...or maybe they're on super good behaviour.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Coll said...

I have always so admired teachers. Their patience is so very admirable.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger purple cucumbers folk art said...

just passing threw,come on over for a visit

Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger Jocelyn said...

You must be the favorite person of many of the teachers in that school. How cool of you to volunteer so.

I HATE what standardized tests do to the classroom...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

 
Blogger Stephen Newton said...

Walking home from work and a stree-free lunch. Too cool, Mother. Teaching at a Montessori school was the hardest thing I've ever done and I was only in my twenties at the time.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

 
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Coll:I can sit back and look at them now and I admire them too!

PC Folk Art: Thanks for the visit. You have some neat folk art.

Jocelyn: Yes, I know how much I appreciated helpers when I taught! You sound like you've had experience with those TESTS!

Stephen: Yep, it's cool with me! That must have been interesting...the parents have such high expectations and hold you so accountable!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

 
Blogger RennyBA said...

Volunteering or not, I'm sure it is your engagement and attitude that makes that good atmosphere in the classroom. That's the best environment for leaning you know:-)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

 
Blogger Kilroy_60 said...

Rewarding no doubt, volunteering feeds the soul.

Interesting how doing the same thing by choice instead of obligation makes a great difference.

Cheers!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

 
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Renny: Yes, Thanks. I did try hard to set a good tone when I taught my own class.

Kilroy: Yes, I'm glad to have the choice! Thanks!

Monday, April 16, 2007

 

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