New Content Coming Soon!

Hello friends! Life has been pretty crazy around these parts and well, I’ve fallen behind on this blog. Can’t blame me, because it was the good kind of busy!

I just wanted to let the readers know that new fresh content will be coming soon, you just need to be patient! In the mean time, check out my YouTube channel to see some clips from my summer vacation!

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Adventures Of Miss A: Youtube Channel

 

Hi friends! After thinking about it for a while, I have decided to start a teacher YouTube channel; receiving incredible support from other teacher vloggers! I have found this whole new teaching community on YouTube, following some pretty amazing teachers, teachers that are filled with great wisdom and information. Wisdom and information that definitely helps this new teacher.

Who do I follow? Real Rap with The Reynolds, Pocketful of Primary, Too Cool for Middle School, Darin Nakakihara, Teach Like a Girl, The Kinderhearted Classroom, Teaching on Less.

The type of content you will find on my channel is directed toward new teachers like me. The internet is filled with great pages/vloggers of long-service teachers; I think that having this channel for other new teachers to find is something that is lacking out there. I hope that my journey through the education world will help up and coming new teachers, and new teachers that are taking the journey with me. What is great about having this channel, and it being called Adventures of Miss A, I don’t necessarily have to stick with 100% teacher content – I can talk about lifestyle stuff such as travel, beauty, fashion, etc… whatever I feel like. For now, it’s teacher content.

So what will you find on my channel?

REGULARLY FEATURED CONTENT

Teacher Real Talk: Sometimes with Coffee: I started this video series with my fellow teaching cohort in June, and we talked about what it was like being a student teacher. Now we’re making this a regularly featured video and hope to bring you a new video every month. There will be no video for August as Jacquie has moved to the Canadian arctic to teach the young minds there. We’re hoping that once she is settled in and in the groove of things, we’ll have a brand spanking new video for the end of September. We’ll also have discussions with other new teachers as they enter their journey in the education world! NOTE: This idea started as an education course project and took off from there. We had a lot of fun with the first video and we decided to keep going with it!

The Adventures of Miss A: With this series, you will follow me along in my journey of teaching. It is not 100% solely teaching… I’ve done two videos on my summer vacation, and a few more videos are slowly making their way to the channel (EdCamp Grand Forks experience, and a video on teacher rejection).

Ask Miss A: This will be a new feature and will appear sometime next month. Here you’ll be able to ask me questions about teaching, being a new teacher, etc. Please remember to make the questions appropriate. Not only can you ask me questions to get to know me! I’m pretty much an open book!

Please check out my channel and subscribe so that you’re notified when new content drops!

Summer School Reflections


Eighteen days. I made it through 18 days, and it went by extremely fast. I can’t even begin to think of how fast it went, and how it became 18 days later. Seriously, it feels like we just started summer school last week!

But at any rate, I did it. I survived my first teaching job and with a lot of challenges. I am not going to say that I did this with ease, because I didn’t. I had anxiety, felt like I was going to be a failure, and I also felt like the heads of the division were going to come in and yank this job out from under me. It wasn’t until when my certificate of teaching arrived in the mail; that was when I was able to get rid of that thought.

Continue reading

Currently: Summer Schooling


 A lot has happened since my last post. I graduated, became an officially certified teacher… and, oh yeah – started teaching summer school; teaching grade 10 science. I am loving every single moment of it!

Teaching summer school does have its challenges:

  1. Shortened time with students. While my course runs M-F, 8am-10:30am, we only have 17 days together (last day is the 26th). It is an incredibly short time, where as some summer school programs that are taught south of the border for almost a month. This brings me to my next point…
  2. Curriculum Challenges. In Manitoba, a high school teacher typically has 5-ish months to teach an entire curriculum… I have 17 days – that’s 42.5 hours. The Manitoba grade 10 science curriculum has four clusters (units): Ecology, Chemistry, Physics (motion), and Weather. Each cluster has at least 10 learning outcomes, and I have to conqure the most important ones. That’s a tough call. Thankfully, my cooperating science teacher from my final student teaching block graciously helped me plan the learning goals my students should be acheiving.
  3. Recognizing and supporting different learners. I am big on supporting all of the different learners that are found within a classroom. Education is not one-size fits all. We’re halfway done and I am just starting to notice this with some of my students. I have had a general classroom discussion with my students about learning types and they’ve been great at telling me this. However, there is a small number that is not being vocal about it. That is difficult. But I am not giving up!
  4. Building meaningful student-teacher relationships. Seventeen days is not a lot of time to really get to know my students. This is my biggest struggle. There are a few that I clicked with right away and some not at all. I have 4 female students and 12 male students. There is a unique dynamic and at times, you really see it. Again, I will not give up!

 But here is how I am staying ahead of the game.

  1. Incredible organization skills. My copies are photocopied AT LEAST a day before, paperclipped and ready to go for my lessons.
  2. Staying late to lesson plan and mark work. I try not to stay longer than an hour and a half. Everything gets done in my classroom and not at home. I need to have rest and rejuvenation for myself. My time is just as valuable as those who get to rest at the end of their work day. Teachers work so incredibly hard to ensure that their students are learning key concepts and our “work day” extends beyond the school day. I feel accomplished when I am able to prepare before going home for the remainder of the day.
  3. Asking for help when and where it is needed. I am so incredibly lucky to have amazing teacher contacts, and those teachers are more than willing to help a new teacher out! Teachers Pay Teachers is another great resource and so is reaching out to teachers on Instagram via the stories feature! I ask questions all the time and receive wonderful feedback!
  4. Not trying to save the world. When I started student teaching, I wanted to save the world. Well, I am not Superman and I can only do so much. I still want to be a positive role model for my students; however, trying to “save everyone” will only lead to burnout. There is only one of me.

Once summer school is done in six days, I plan on sleeping in and resting! I have a teacher PD to attend in August, then after that I am leaving on a road trip! I’m looking forward to that!

    What are you up to this summer? Leave your comments below!

    Why It’s OK To Not Do End of Year Countdown

    Hour Minute Timer Countdown Clock Time Watch

    The final days of the school year are upon us. Some are just about to end the school year, while some have to wait until the end of June. Either way, you’re excited for summer break and ready to celebrate with your students. You’ve spent nights searching Pinterest and Instagram for fun and creative ideas. Let’s face it… it has been a long school year and you’re just ready to put away the lesson plans and hit the beach, or even take a road trip. You can barely contain you’re excitement and your ready to share that emotion!

    But wait… not every student may share the same joy that you do.

    You may be starting to notice behaviours that are popping up in your classroom. You may chalk it up to end of year exhaustion or excitement. But could there be another reason? Could your students have anxiety about summer break?

    The answer is, yes.

    Having worked with at-risk youth and inner-city schools, I have seen students “act up/out” as the last few weeks/days of school approach. This has happened before Christmas Break, too.

    Two months of summer break can put the fear into these children.

    Let’s be real – we have students that live in poverty (or close to it); students that do not live in the most ideal home environment, or are children in care. Some students fear the two month break because they may not have food every day to eat, they may have neglectful parents; or, parents  may not have the money to help students participate in summer activities. Your classroom provides a safe and caring environment with a daily routine that they have become comfortable with, and look forward (even if they don’t say it) to being with you, their peers, and within the walls of the classroom.

    It is their safe space.

    I will admit. In my first year of student teaching, I did a Christmas break downtown. Then I began to notice behaviours – acting out, not wanting to complete work, spacing out mentally. Why were my students acting this way? Christmas is right around the corner and that means sleeping in and relaxing!! How could they possibly not enjoy this. That is when it hit me and I felt completely terrible for not thinking of it before. I grew up in the same area and saw it all the time – my students that were acting out were terrified to go home because of their home environment and not having guaranteed meals every day. That is when I sat down with each student individually to ask that question, and I received the answer I was looking for – going home means instability and the unknown. “Your countdown is making me nervous,” one student said. “It’s only my mom, me, and my other siblings. My mom doesn’t work, we don’t eat every day, and there’s nothing for us to do.” It is enough to make you heart shatter into a million pieces. Mine sure did.

    Students are worrying about adult things – no food and no money to have fun. Having a countdown can look like the doomsday clock to them. Uncertainty. Hunger. Crime. Loneliness. Shame.

    I no longer countdown to school breaks.

    Instead, conduct fun summer like activities such as:

    • Scavenger hunt (indoors or outdoors)
    • “Beach” movie day – students dress up in beach wear (shorts, tank tops, sandals [according to your dress code], and bring in beach towels [if they have]). You provide the snacks and beach like decor [from a dollar store of course! Students LOVE leis!], and a fun summer themed movie
    • Summer reading club in the last few weeks – choose a summer themed book for your students to read and have them complete reading comprehension and activities pertaining to the book
    • Classroom Camp Out – create a camp theme with a fake campfire to tell stories around the fire, and make “s’mores” with a solar oven!!! (according to allergies). Read camping themed books.
    • Organize a school wide summer fun day where students create game stations for everyone to try out. Some organizations will donate money to purchase games, or, companies will donate their fun games/bounce houses to the school
    • Hot dog cook out! Have a cookout in your classroom, or outside if the weather permits
    • Ice cream in a bag – a simple and fun activity that incorporates science and math
    • Create a list of FREE things to do during the summer (this will help ease anxiety for those students whose parents cannot afford summer activities) – this will involve researching local activities
    • Community Walk – promotes health/exercise and students can learn about the community that they live/go to school in!
    • Water Balloon Toss/War – be sure to ask parent permission before throwing water balloons at eat other
    • Diet Coke/Mentos experiment – must be completed outside, and includes science
    • Make homemade bird feeders
    • Take a virtual road trip using Google Maps
    • Make a little goody bag for each student that includes a summer activity – bubbles, sidewalk chalk, activity books (dollar store is great for this)
    • Nature walk (can be done with Community Walk) – have students find and identify the types of trees/birds found within the community; students can research their findings and then present to the class

    As you can see, the ideas are endless. I understand. Your intentions are well and you truly do mean the best for your students. You want to share your excitement with your students and hope that they share the same feelings. I am not chiding you for your intentions. By no means. I am simply sharing the reasons why I do not conduct school break countdowns. If they work for you and for your students, continue doing what you do!

    Do you conduct school break countdowns? If not, what summer-like activity/activities do you do to replace countdowns?