TJ’s Talk

Chat about teaching, teacher education, business education and lots of other stuff.

Officially Miss Jordan September 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 4:15 am
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WOW…teaching is hard! Not just that was a tough day I’ll relax for the evening tough, but I don’t even want to move except to reach for the Kleenex box hard. Okay I am being a bit dramatic…but even after four years of university classes telling us how hard it would be and four months of internship to test our ability to handle the difficulty, I have realized that there is another level of hard! And I am living it…

Don’t get me wrong, I love to teach. There is not a doubt in my mind that I want to be a teacher, in some capacity, for the rest of my working life. But this career will test even the most mentally and physically strong person. It has only been three weeks of being an actual, employed teacher but I have learned a few things…

  1. Nothing replaces a great staff and support network. I have already made some great friends that operate as my second family here in La Loche and I am so grateful for them. From potlucks, game nights, to offering their expertise and resources they are truely wonderful people that I am blessed to have met!
  2. Some days it will never be enough. I had a student ask me how much I make in a day…the dialogue went something like this:

Me – “I am not sure what it breaks down to on a daily basis.”

Student – “$50”

Me – a little chuckle “No it is more than that, not many people will teach for $50 a day”

Student – “Why?”

Me – “Because teaching is hard and some days no matter what I was being paid it would not be enough!”

It is so true…on those days that a student tells you that if they ever became affluent (one of our words of the day) they would buy a new teacher so that I wouldn’t teach them anymore, or that they would give me a million dollars to quit teaching, or the whole day feels like it was a complete flop because you only got through a third of the lessons and even then you have no idea how much the students even learned…yeah money is just not enough.

3. All it takes to make teaching worth all of the difficult situations is to have one student smile, have one student get the question right, or have one student look at you like you are no longer the enemy and maybe just maybe  see the flicker of respect in their eyes.

Teaching can be a volatile profession, one that I am very happy to be part of. There have been a few bad days, okay more than a few. But there have also been those days that I don’t want the class to end because the students are engaged and because things are going so well. There are those students that make my job extremely difficult and then there are a few students that I would do whatever I could to get them to their graduation and to see them succeed.

It is hard to believe that it has already been three weeks…at the same time I feel as though it is hard to believe that it has only been three weeks.

Until next time…I will be updating my blog much more regularly so keep checking!

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The Trip

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 3:48 am
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I have to apologize for the tardyness of this post. I have been trying for three weeks to get this post done. I have been having a hard time of knowing what I should be putting on this blog and what I shouldn’t be…as a result I have not put anything. Today my writers block has been brocken and I am a blogger again.

Lets take a few moments and catch up…For those of you that don’t know I am teaching in the Northern Lights School Division in Northern, Saskatchewan at the K-12 La Loche Community School in the Dene Building (7-12). Grade 8 is now my specialty, specifically English Language Arts and Social Studies. I also have a grade 9 Physical Education class and next semester (fingers crossed) I will have Entrepreneurship 30. Okay you are caught up!

The move up here was really good, and although I was freaking out for days before I left as soon as I got here I felt so much better. I knew what I was getting myself into, working at Ranch Ehrlo definitely prepared me for many of the “issues” that I will be facing up here. My place is small, but very nice and clean…except for Abbott’s toys that are strewn everywhere! I met most of the first year staff at the new teacher induction program in Prince Albert in the middle of August. What a phenomonal idea that was, cudous to whomever planned that event.

It was a long drive...but it was done safely!

It was a long drive...but it was done safely!

It was really nice to get up here and not be alone because I already knew so many people! My mom stayed with me for two nights and then she made the trip home. It was so nice having her here, gave me a bit of time to get settled in before being actually alone!

All in all it was a good move and nothing too eventful happened…then school started! But that is for another post…

 

Mentorship Update April 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 5:26 am
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My mentorship project for ECMP 355 has been sorely lacking…due to my own issues and downfalls. I received an email today from Eldon Germann, one of my mentorship teachers, telling me about the projects his students were blogging about. Digital citizenship/responsibility/safety are all things that are important to me, as you might have noticed from prior posts. I was excited to see that Mr. Germann’s students were learning about these issues!

http://voicethread.com/share/339690/ – Here is an example of some of the student’s work! I really like the first picture, very colourful, gets my attention and it gets the message across. (For some reason it will not embed so a link will have to be good enough)

Here are some of the comments that I have been making on the student’s blogs:

mentorship-picture

mentorship-picture1

mentorship-picture2Most of the students were also blogging about their Google Readers and their favourite sites that they subscribe to. Many of the students expressed their favorite as being a celebrity gossip site. I guess it never even crossed mygossip-comment1 mind that this would exist. I posed some questions to the students about what they think of this site, is it just gossip, is there any truth…those kinds of things.

celebrity-gossip-postI pose this question to all of you, not really sure of the answer myself…are sites like these just a form of cyber bullying?

So that is the newest update on my mentorship, there should be a few more over the next week or so!

 

Final Project Update March 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 1:51 am
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So the final project for ECMP 355 is coming along pretty well. I have mostly finished my part of the Business Education PLC that we have been developing on wikispaces. Here are some screen shots of one of the pages that I have been working on:

wiki12

wiki22

wiki31

At the SBTA Annual Conference this past weekend we started the next phase of the project. Getting the wikispace out to Business Education teachers so that they can use the resources and add their own to the project. This is probably the most important part of the project as we really want to get this page to be a learning community for Business Education teachers. We want it to be a place where we can come together, share resources, and communicate best practices with one another. We want it to go beyond the realm of just creating a wikispace for a class project, it has been designed in a way that we think will be useful for Business Educators in the field, and that is very important to us as we work on the project.

If you go to the Business Education PLC you will notice that it is not yet complete, there is a group of 6 of us working on this project and although some people have completed their work not all parties are done yet. The deadline has been set for March 31 so the expectation is that everyone will be done their peices by this time. Then the second phase of the project really takes shape. We will get the wikispace out there to other Business Education teachers and associations using email, Twitter, and other social networking sites. The site will be opened up and anyone will be able to add their resources to the wikispace, further expanding the number of resources and teaching ideas that will be available through this wikispace.

I am going to be doing a post over the next few days about the joys and sorrows of working in groups, I think that this is an important topic – not only in terms of this project but also in terms of being a classroom teacher. Stay tuned!

 

“Individually we are one drop.

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 12:46 am
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Together we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

As part of ECMP 355, each of us was given two classes (at a minimum) to mentor. Some people are having amazing success with their mentorship project, others not so much. I fall into that latter category. From what I have been reading in her blog, Robin has been having a good experience. You can see Marcy’s experience here and here,  Christa’s here, Dione’s tutorial for her mentorship class here. There are many more that I could share that are really connecting with their mentorship classes.

working-togetherUnfortunately for me this connection has not happened for me, partly because of my own shortcomings. Living in my small town for the majority of the time over the last three weeks has meant that I only have access to slow dial-up internet. While I love spending time at home, not having access to the internet is a challenge that I am not sure I could deal with on a large scale…yes I know that may sound silly but when you have things that need to get done (papers, assignments, tech tasks, etc) not having the internet is a challenge. Throw in getting a new puppy, having to move three times over the next month (including from the home we lived in for 14 years), having to put my dog down, painting in my brother’s new house, and tyring to get ready for my competitive golf season and I have barely had time to sit and think over the last thee weeks. Okay enough of my rant, back to the mentorship thing.

I was at the Saskatchewan Business Teachers’ Association Annual Conference this past weekend and had a great time reconnecting with many of the teachers that I have met over the last four years of my education. Not only that I was able to get back to my old stomping grounds, A.E. Peacock in Moose Jaw where I completed my internship. While there I was talking to an instructor from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) about the job that I have taken for the fall teaching in Northern Saskatchewan. She teaches 100% Aboriginal students, I will be teaching probably very close to 100% Aboriginal students. We put our heads together and all of a sudden we are talking about how we can connect these two populations. I have heard many times how Aboriginal students do not see role models of their own cultural background in schools or in successful positions. While I may not be able to directly give that to them as a white female, maybe this connection with Aboriginal students at the post-secondary level would give them that opportunity. The SIIT instructor also thought that this would be an excellent experience for both groups of students and this might be able to happen through blogs. Each student could create their own blog and then be paired up to work on projects across the distances or they could just communicate through their blogs. There are nine SIIT locations across the province that I could make connections with for my students, possibly in different areas of interest for my students. Ideally if I end up teaching any Business Education classes there would be an awesome partnership as they focus on business and technology courses. Even if I don’t end up teaching Business Education classes I think there is a real possibility here to make an awesome connection for my students.

I also think that this will be an awesome experience for me, the SIIT instructor taught in Prince Albert for 5 years and has been at SIIT since leaving there. Her entire education career has been made up teaching mostly Aboriginal students. I am a new teacher that will be in a new world up North, in a setting that will be totally new. Not only will my students be engaged in a mentorship project but I will be too. I will be able to share my experiences with the SIIT isntructor and she can do the same for me. I can learn from the experiences that she has had teaching Aboriginal students. What a great resource for me to have in my first years of teaching, or throughout my career. Also connecting with her students maybe I can get some insight into what they found successful in their education careers, I can get some pointers on how to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives, how to approach elders, etc. The possibilities are endless! And these posisbilities have left me very excited about what next year will hold and the success that I can have in my first year of teaching.

I am sure that there are going to be growing pains, that there will be trials and tribulations, that there will be great successes as well. But  that is part of being an educator, part of taking risks to be a better teacher and make learning more engaging for my students, part of wanting to make a difference. So it will start in the fall…I will keep you updated!

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Kicking it up a Notch! January 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 3:19 am
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http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=340

That is a link to the K-12 Online Conference that I viewed today. Parental Engagement in the 21st Century – Leveraging web 2.0 tools to engage parents in non-traditional ways is the title. This session was run by someone from California and a person from Ontario, they did it together, one of the great benefits of the internet and technology!

This session talks about how our students are growing up online, they are growing up posting content, interacting with others content, teaching and learning from one another. It also discusses who is being the responsible, guiding hand for students/children in regards to responsible use of technology and web 2.0. Many schools are using firewall blockers but this does not teach students/children how to use the internet responsibly, it just skirts the issue and often times blocks good education information.

Social networking to reach out to parents, parents are able to see what it is like to be a teacher and teachers are able to see what is going on in parent’s lives everyday.

There is a Parents as Partners group on Facebook which allows parents to join a group of people that are going through many of the same things as them and they can network with these other parents to solve problems and build a support group.

There are many ways to involve parents through the use of web 2.0 tools. You can upload parent education videos to a website for parents to view at their leisure, you can have nightly video sessions from a class trip where the students interact with their parents and talk about their trip,

They also start discussing a Ning – there is a Parents as Partners Ning that they are talking about. Many of these tools allow many non-traditional voices (those parents that are not involved in any other way) to speak their mind and get involved.

Dean, I even heard your name…your voice…it was surreal!

As Dean talks about it is important to think about what we commonly talk about as ‘internet safety’…is it really unsafe, are the limited risks worth the rewards to our students, parents, school and community? How are we talking about web 2.0, if we talk about ‘internet safety’ that just infers that it is dangerous and that there is constantly someone looking at our students/children and they will fall prey to these people.

At the end of their presentation they gave the link to this wikispace to help parents get started on the road to being partners in their child’s education and to their experience on web 2.0 tools: parentsaspartners.wikispaces.com

Okay, so the assignment was to watch a K-12 online session, to give the link, to write a synopsis and then to give a personal reflection. All is done except for the last part, although I am pretty sure that I put my personal reflections into the synopsis as well. When I was interning I set up a wikispace, each of my students, my cooperating teacher, the school administrators, and the parents of my students had acccess to this wikispace. I did this for a few reasons. First, I would put what we did each day up on here so that parents would be able to see what their child was doing, and students that were missing would be able to catch up on what they missed. I would also put all the assignment and evaluation tools up with their due dates. I was hoping that this would increase the responsibility of my students for their learning, for their assignments, for their work. I also had tasks posted on the wiki that the students had to to each day when they came to class, often I gave out prizes to the first students done the tasks. This was in an attempt to get studens settled quickly in their seats and ready to work. I had also hoped that parents would be able to see what we were doing, that they would have access to my contact information or could just post to discussions on the wikispace.

That was the plan, the plan however, failed. Or at least from the parent point of view. I had very much wanted to be able to interact with the parents, I never got the feeling or the inclination that any parent ever checked this wikispace. Don’t get me wrong it served its purpose in the classroom, outside the classroom, I am not so sure. I definitely know that it is important to involve the parents in their children’s education and this does not just mean on the bad days but everyday, I think that with continued effort this will happen, with continued expirementation it will happen. It will happen!

 

The EXPO and the Job Offer…

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 1:47 am
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So anyone that is education at the U of R knew that yesterday was the big Career Expo, over 40 exhibitors looking to hire the most qualified teachers in the country. That is right…the program at the U of R is arguably the best in the country and I am so proud to be graduating from there.faculty-of-ed

Okay back on point, I spent some of Friday and most of Sunday night getting ready for the Career Expo, getting application packages together, resume, cover letters, photocopying, scanning, etc. All in the name of getting a job…or I was hoping that would be the ending. The other part of this process was to spend time looking at the different exhibitors to decide where I wanted to apply, where would I want to work, where do I want to spend the next few years of my life and maybe longer. There were three places that really appealed to me: the Government of Northwest Territories, Northern Lights School Division #113, and Prairie South School Division (where I interned).

I prepared packages for each of these places, took some extra resumes along and when my friend Nic picked me up we were on our way to make decisions about the rest of our lives. Yeah, I know that is a bit dramatic, but is a big deal…

I talked to a number of the exhibitors including some of the overseas agencies, a school in Mexico, Peace River School Division in North East BC, and some others as well. I spent the most time at the Northern Lights and Northwest Territories exhibit. Now I am not sure when I decided that I wanted to go up north, but whenever I made that decision it sure stuck with me. I signed up to interview with Northern Lights and got all the information I needed about the Northwest Territories. My interview was for Tuesday, January 27 at 4:30. I thought that I would go to that interview and see what happens, if I didn’t get a job through them I could always follow up with Northwest Territories.

My interview went really well and I got offered a contract that will commence in August 2009. Woo hoo! No more job hunting, no more interviewing, no more applications! I have a job, a full time teaching job, my own classroom, students to impart my knowledge on…I can’t wait. I am not sure to this point where I will be teaching or even what I will be teaching. From the interview, it is probable that I will end up teaching in La Loche, about 10-12 hours from Regina, with a few people that I know from the Faculty of Education. I am very excited and I can’t wait, although I will miss my family and friends and the convenience of being in a city with all the ammenities. I will keep you all updated as I find out more about the contract and the details of my job!

Miss Jordan…full time teacher!