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Testing out the teaching waters

I have been a substitute teacher for a little over two weeks now. I had my ups and downs, but am getting the hang of the management needed to have a successful day as a guest teacher! I have been in Pre-K, Kindergarten, 4th grade (a number of times with different schools), 5th grade, and 1st grade. The upper grades have been more challenging for me to keep the students from getting disruptive, but I am coming up with systems that work such as points for losing or gaining some recess, etc. I have also found that I like seeing all the varying schools and teaching styles – it is eye-opening to observe the huge differences based on where a school is or the principal’s techniques. I look forward to subbing until the end of the school year, and CAN’T WAIT til it is my turn to be the head teacher!

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Beaten down by bullies (31 out of 365) #blogaday

​After watching the Animated Shorts yesterday, I realized how moved I was by the one entitled “The Dam Keeper.” It was about this young pig who worked in the dam factory and his experiences at school. He was bullied all the time by other students, the bus driver, teachers, townspeople – basically everyone in the town thought he was strange for being the only pig who was always covered in soot. I won’t give away anymore of the film, just go see it 🙂 It was very powerful and I hope it wins!bullying postAs a future educator, it was very disheartening to see the adults teasing the pig and not teaching their children about accepting everyone. I really wanted to go inside the film and take care of him! Instead of simply letting this bullying happen, teachers should be there for the students and understand what is going on. The bullying programs in schools today have such an emphasis on telling an adult if something is wrong and discussing the bullying as a class. Many children learn that talking to someone about the bullying makes you a “tattle tale,” so they usually decide not to and hide inside themselves. It is very difficult to stop bullying when the adult that is meant to help actually gets you teased for being a “baby.” Bullying is such a powerful put-down for kids and it needs to stop – children who are bullies must be told that it is NOT ACCEPTABLE. I want to create a classroom space where the children won’t be bullied for telling me about their problems. I hope that if I share my past issues with bullying with them, it will make this a more approachable conversation.

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Calling ALL children for Christmas…can classes?

I went to my winter placement at the end of the term to meet my new teacher, and I noticed there were a lot of Christmas trees and decorations up in the school. I love Christmas as much as the next person who celebrates it, but this made me think about whether or not schools should have solely Christmas decor up on the walls. Not every child celebrates Christmas and there are many controversial, religious issues that come with having the holiday in educational institutions. I found an interesting article on Christmas in Texas schools: have a look!

We talk about involving all students’ cultures in the classroom, but it might be hard to connect all the Winter holidays – and what if a family doesn’t celebrate anything? How can you fit that student into the discussion? I remember when schools used to say “Christmas Break” instead of “Winter Break,” so there are accommodations like that setup already. However, many children like the excitement of talking about their holidays during December. It would be effective to have a morning meeting(s) in which all the students go around and discuss the holidays they celebrate. This will help the children understand other cultures and share some of their own family values. It is important to build a classroom community and helps if the teacher as well as students share personal pieces of their lives. There are many innovative ideas that make me think about all the worries to come with effectively teaching in a multicultural mindset. I love the values of my undergraduate and graduate school programs, but I can see the difficulty in this style while trying to follow the curriculum. Teaching is  meant to be a fun, but challenging career choice – I am still wary to take over the class in Winter term while still excited to be a teacher when this program is done!  🙂