Kim’s Blog

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Changes

A few years ago a book was recommended for me to read – it is called Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson.  At the time I thought “big deal, I’m capable of changes, I thrive on changes, I’ve had many big changes.”  True enough, in a matter of six years I had moved communities, been married, had a child, changed schools, moved to a new house, had a second child and changed grades.  Change was no big deal for me; it was my norm.

As I sit here and reminisce on those years I realize that was nearly ten years ago and since then I have been teaching in the same classroom, living in the same home with the same three people.  Professionally I am confronted with change, changing my ways, my teaching styles, even my beliefs and I don’t really know how to change or even if I want to change.  In many ways I am comfortable where I am at.  Lately though, I have not been comfortable with how my students have been behaving nor how I have been unable to teach effectively regardless of initiatives within our school division. 

Maybe I need to crack open that book one more time and think about what I need to change and how I can make positive changes.  A comment by Stephen King on a previous blog seems to be pointing me in a direction I would like to explore in an effort to make the necessary changes to improve my teaching methods, my interactions with my students, my professional life as well as my personal life.

Student/Teacher Parallels

I’ve been struggling lately with a feeling of inadequacy when it comes to interacting and teaching my students.  The students I have in my classroom this year are emotional, needy and deeling with huge issues that I’m not sure how I would handle as an adult.  I have beat myself up telling myself to be more understanding, more patient, more whatever and yet in the meantime, I can see the rest of the students waiting patiently for me to deal with the issues that crop up continuously throughout the day.  I feel incompetent as I try to establish a supportive learning environment within my classroom.  

As I was driving to school today, feeling sorry for myself, feeling sorry for my students who come from unsupportive, neglectful and abusive homes, I realized that I was feeling out of control.  And frankly, as teachers, we are trained to control nearly everything.  Throughout my experiences I have realized that I am a control freak.  I have realized that I feel incompetent because I can’t control my students’ responses, behaviors and attitudes.  I can’t control my students’ feelings.  Throughout my Differentiated Intructional journey I am learning that I don’t need to control every learning experience of my students.  I get that.  But it still doesn’t help quell my feelings that I am supposed to be the one in charge, I’m the one who is responsible for everything that happens in my classroom, I am responsible for the learning experiences of my students.  I see it as a double edge sword.

So as I nurtured my feelings I began to think about these children and how I can’t control anything in their lives outside of school hours.  I can’t control what they are fed, how much sleep they get, how much love they receive, how many learning experiences they acquire.  Then I started to think about my reactions.  I am always telling my students “You can’t control how someone else treats you, but you can control how you react to other people.”  Great advice, maybe I should take it!  Then I started to think of my students and some of these inappropriate responses to various situations.  My students can’t control any more than I can how much food they are provided with, what kind of food they are fed, how much sleep they get each night, how much love their parents give them or how they are treated by other people.  I can control how I treat them and as an adult, it is my responsibility to put my feelings aside to treat these precious children with respect, love and caring.  It is my duty and I guess I have to put those issues I cannot control on the back burner.  I also need to realize that just as I want to jump up and scream in frustration, my students feel like they would like to do this too and on many occassions they do!

Time Flies

Wow!  How time flies.  I had really enjoyed reflecting on this blog throughout my Master’s classes.  Since I completed all of my courses, I kind of left this alone.  I can’t believe my last blog posting was from 2009!

Today I attended a Technology Boot Camp and realized how much I miss reflecting online.  I am feeling frustrated and over-whelmed in my teaching practice and as I glanced over this blog I felt a calm which encouraged me to continue the blogging journey albeit not a Master’s journey but beyond.  It seems the more experience I have under my belt the less confident I feel as well as less competent.  Difficult as it is to put these thoughts and feelings out there, they are real and they are the truth.  I read a blog today title “RollerCoaster” by Shelley Wright and she stated that teaching has a beautiful side and a dark side – I can relate!  I love the demands and challenges of this career but I also dread the demands and challenges of this job.

Viva Las Vegas!

My husband and I returned from our trip to Las Vegas.  We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary this past December and had never been on a honeymoon so my husband surprised me with the trip.  We have never spent more than a couple of days away from our children so after carefully arranging grandparents to stay with the kids, we applied for passports and began to plan the trip.  I used to travel quite a bit before we were married so after a ten year hiatus, I have noticed a number of differences in travel.

First of all, we printed our boarding passes off at home before we left for the airport.  Everyone is aware of the tight restrictions at the security gate.  On the aircraft, I had my own personal TV.  There were no TV dinners provided (I had always loved those) but I did have my green tea and a cookie to dip.  As we went through Customs in the US, they simply swiped our passports to gain all of our information instantly and in some cases, travellers were required to provide fingerprints (on a screen) and eye scans. 

So with all of this technology, I was surprised to discover that debit cards were not used in the States.  When I obtained some American currency, the bank teller told me I would not be able to use my debit card, but I had assumed it was because of the difference in currency.  My credit card was ready to melt from over-use though.

The Shows.  We went to Elton John’s The Red Piano show and what a show it was!  His commentary between songs was quite funny.  He had lots of blow ups props throughout the show as well as a huge screen which showed various video montages.  Yet, with all of the amazing visuals, the best part of the show was his voice and the piano.

We went back in time to the Tournament of Kings.  Cutlery was not even provided at this medieval feast so I shall not describe the technology incorporated into this show (fanastic experience though!).

Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil – I guess it depends who you ask.  My husband found the show to lack the magic and be too theatrical.  I come from a theatre background – I loved it and I was astonished by the props.  They must have had an enormous area backstage for everything that arrived on stage from the wings and from the ceiling.  The costumes were phenomenal.  And there was magic too.  Like Elton John’s show, there was a huge screen for video support.

In 1997 I spent six weeks in Europe on a tour of a number of countries.  I brought four or five rolls of film with me.  I had to be careful of what I took pictures of because it was not easy to find the film I needed and I also knew how costly it would be when I got home to process the film.  Digital cameras are essential for any traveller.  Granted, I didn’t take hundreds of pictures, but I didn’t worry about how many or what I was taking pictures of. 

Seeing Paris in Vegas

Seeing Paris in Vegas

Despite the changes in technology in the world, it still saddened me to see people on the street all day handing our cards for girls on the strip.  Technology continues to bring us closer together and yet, I can see that I live worlds apart from many other people.

Reflecting

Upon reflection regarding my recent vlog, I realized that it’s easier for me to type my thoughts than say them.  It’s easier for me to edit my work when it’s written.  Once something is said, it can’t be edited or taken back.  It is true that when one is vlogging, one can edit and rework the thoughts but the whole vlog must be edited rather than one word or thought.  Yes, I think I’ll stick to writing my thoughts.

Vlog

I never thought I would do this, but to truly step out of my comfort zone, I felt I must post a vlog.  This has probably been my most uncomfortable experiences thus far.

New toys online

Oops, sorry – this was an unfiltered publication.  On Friday I was at an amazing workshop with Kathy Cassidy.  I played with some new tools and toys on my class blog and I was trying to embed some of these neat things here.  The Internet went down in the afternoon so I didn’t get a chance to finish this and then I left town for the weekend.  I was able to embed this shelfarion my class blog which is an image of a bookshelf with the books you have read, are presently reading, or are planning to read.  It’s really cool and I’m hoping it’s another communication tool for parents.  Perhaps if parents see the books we are reading in class, they may be encouraged to reread the stories with their children. 

I also added the Weather Pixie and the ClustrMap.  I think the ClustrMap was mentioned in our class but I hadn’t had a chance to try it until Friday.  I used Imagechef to add a picture to our blog.  With this tool you can choose a picture from their files and add your own message.

Question – I have been able to use these tools with ClassBlogmeister but I’m stuck trying to add these images to this WordPress Blog.  Does anyone know what I need to do to make these compatible with this blog?