Tuesday, 3 September 2013

It's the end of summer; first day of school in Ontario public schools

It is a poignant time of year for me, as a retired teacher. You miss the sense of commu
nity, having spent the week before in the school, meeting with colleagues, catching up on their summers.
Classroom Covenant
Preparing class lists, creating day books, tidying, cleaning, rearranging the classroom. Doing up bulletin boards. Staff meetings with endless new notions, not yet good ideas, from principals, who had already changed my assignment and/or my classroom, from a great one, to a punishing one. (Heaven forbid we speak truth to power!)

I adored working with the special needs students. We were a community. We respected one another in my classrooms.
I loved teaching art
How do you feel today?
Integrating technology
We wrote songs

Negotiating with parents, colleagues, psychologists who knew everything, giving me a checklist of 10 things to do with ADHD kids, 4 things checked off for this child's $500 assessment. (I had files of these!)
Framed poetry writing

Grabbing supplies, before they disappear, negotiating with the young teachers who have taken all of the new math books for themselves. Oh, yes. It wasn't all sunshine and light.

Rushing into the library to book a convenient time, creating a weekly schedule, fitting in a slot into the crowded computer lab.

Hoarding of supplies was common, which would soon disappear by the end of first term.
I taught gr. 4s web page design.
Everyone had their own page.
Bulletin boards prompts
We wrote plays, this one about
'caring and sharing.'
One of my student teachers created this poster,
explaining how to structure a paragraph.
My favourite first day memory was seeing my students line up in front of me. My gr. 6's were set to go. The parents standing, nervously wringing their hands. Watching their kids. Holding their back packs for them, filled with new supplies, lunches, important stuff.
Remember when we taught them skills?
This is Katie's step stool

Homework chart
I told the parents, smile, back up slowly and go home. I've done this before, don't worry, we're going to have a good year!

Everyone and everything seems to be lining up!
Birdies on the wire

Then were are clumps of those heading back for home. Boats and seagulls...
Clumping seagulls in
Cardinal, Ontario

Grackles at The Cove Inn
Locks in Merrickville


DeniseinVA said...

What a marvelous post, and lots of interesting insight as seen from a teacher behind the desk. I have always had the utmost respect for the teaching profession and it was lovely reading this post.

Red said...

After about ten years of retirement I lost the sense of excitement of school starting. After 16 years of retirement, I don't even think about it.

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, I'm exhausted just reading this, Jenn.
I'm sure I told you my husband taught grades 5 & 6 for 29 years before he took up selling Registered Education Savings Plans.
I always grumble about him not replying when I speak, but I'm sure he got into that habit while teaching. Maybe if I put my hand up, it will help. What do you think?
Luv, K

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Oh my word, I doooo hope that is "10 reasons for NOT swearing?" - this is a classroom for anyone to enjoy and it is clear how much passion and patience you had! Marvellous post. YAM xx

eileeninmd said...

I can imagine how you feel missing teaching and the children. But, being retired is wonderful too. Great post, have a happy week!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Enjoy your Autumn Jenn -- free of schedules (and principals). You did your part -- and did it beautifully, I can tell from this post. NOw it's your time.

Kay said...

I'm always feeling nostalgic at this time of the year. My granddaughter has a new teacher who just graduated just three years ago. This teacher actually has a website where she informs parents of the curriculum, the snack schedule, her own qualifications, a contact spot, photos, etc. Pretty impressive! I'm wondering if I could have done everything I did AND maintained a website. I'll be checking to see how my granddaughter's year goes.