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This is the life I chose!

on January 28, 2015

chaning the world

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher.  As a child I played school, I created tests and assignments for my “students” and marked them.  All the girls made 100% and the boys failed! In my childhood, I believed teachers gave tests/assignments and marked them, what an easy job they have:)  As a teacher I know that is not true.  Teachers do not work a 9 to 3 job with week-ends, Christmas, Easters and Summer off.  Teachers are by nature workaholics, our job is never done.  We are always learning, improving, changing to meet the needs of our ever changing classrooms.  What would I change?  Nothing!  This is the life I chose.

Teacher workload is a hot topic these days.  What is our job, are we over worked, are we doing too much and what can be taken off our plates?  When I think of my job what would I change?  Again, I would say nothing.  I love my job and I work hard.  This is not a job, it is a calling, it’s my passion.  My role is to do what is best for my students and my staff.  Our students come to us with challenging behaviours, learning needs, emotional needs we do not always understand and the list goes on.  If I take the time in the beginning to truly understand each of my students needs, abilities and interests I am better able to crack the puzzle to make them successful; that is my fuel to keep going.  That feeling when you make a difference in a child’s life, there is no explaining it.  It is what I signed up for and agreed to be for my students and staff.  I must support their needs.  This is the life I chose!

It is far too easy to dwell in the negativity.  “It is too hard.” “Do you know what “Billy” did today?”  “Nobody finished the homework.”  “Parents do not support us.”  “There are too many needs, too much paperwork.”  Report cards, parent meeting, PTIs, we must differentiate for our students…. and I could continue forever.  We have a professional obligation to educate the students that have been in-trusted to our care.  To work to the best of our abilities to give our students and staff what they need to support their learning. We need to move pass the negative talk and all the pitfalls of our job and focus on the positive and the reasons we became teachers in the first place.  Change will not happen because we complain, it will happen with the action of supporting each other.  This is the life I chose!

What’s my story?  I have to say that this year has been the most positive year of my career.  I have a fearless leader that works hard to push you to be the best you can been.  Corny I know, but true.  She has high expectations for herself, her staff and her students.  She walks the talk.  I work with a staff who are professional and will stop at nothing to advocate and work for/with their students to make them the best they can be.  As a staff we do not give up.  Our staff is working hard to collaborate and support each other needs.   They all work hard and I know that at times they feel overworked/overwhelmed but you do not hear that rumbling in our staffroom or hallways.  They talk about the successes and ask for help when they are struggling.  There is a difference between complaining about our classrooms and realizing what we are struggling with and asking for help or advice. We can not do this job alone, it is necessary to work and collaborate with each other in order to improve.  These are troubling times but also exciting times in education.  And remember this is the life I chose!

I have also looked at what I do during the day/evening and what I can eliminate to reduce my own workload. I used to spend hours decorating my classroom, creating things to make it appealing and beautiful.  Was that the best use of my time?  Or would my time be better spend creating lessons and assignments that consider the needs of my students?  I used to have students answering question after question and then spend my time marking into wee hours of the night, just to wake up the next day to do it all over again.  I now create lessons/assignments/projects that give my students the opportunity to showcase their learning or I do quick check-ins to see if they are understanding. These small changes have greatly reduced my marking and my workload. I have moved away from the photocopier, the eater of time, and create projects and assignments that are engaging.  Behaviour issues have reduced greatly.   Google docs has become my best friend, giving me the opportunity to go almost paperless and share assignments with my students.  Some will even continue to work on assignments at home without being asked to! I no longer spend time looking for assignments for missing students, it is all in their google docs.  I could spend time caught up with the I don’t know how or I can learn the new technologies which has reduced my workload!  I am a life long learner, this is the life I chose!

Does that mean that I never feel overwhelmed or overworked?  No.  And my family does suffer during certain times of the year when I put in late nights and long hours, but it is not all the time.  My family also benefits during Christmas Break when we can have 2 weeks of uninterrupted quality time.  One week at Spring break where we have time to go on ski vacations and then there is the summer! We all long for our summer break, it is our time to rejuvenate and become mentally prepared for the following school year. I can make up for the time I missed with my family to make real memories without the pressures of everyday work life.  I do spend time learning, creating and preparing for the new school year but with no pressure. This is the life I chose and it makes me happy, my family proud and it is exhilarating!  I would not change this life, I will promise to continue to grow, learn and improve my craft.  This is the life I chose!!!

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2 responses to “This is the life I chose!

  1. Thank you Lee, you’ve acknowledged that teaching is hard work and sometimes overwhelming which I can appreciate very much. You’ve described sentiments and parallel experiences to how I experience and feel about my own career as an engineer and as a trustee.

  2. Selena Munson says:

    Thank You Lee! I loved it! So insightful and positive. We work hard, but really love what we do!

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