Saturday, 27 September 2014

Math is SCARY!

Alright, time to make a little confession here. I'm terrified of teaching math. I teach it. I try my best. BUT I worry that I'm not doing the best job all the time. When I was growing up this was the most difficult subject for me to learn and I remember my brain hurting A LOT!!! Phew, feels good to admit that out in the open.

Giving my best to teaching is something so important to me, so when I finally admitted to myself that I wasn't giving the best to my teaching when I was ignoring my fear of math I knew something needed to change! What did I do? Well, I signed up to take an Additional Qualification course in Mathematics for the Primary/Junior level learners. And was it ever the right choice! I'm one week in and I already feel more confident. I've met other people who experience some of the same feelings surrounding math. I've also learned a bit more about myself and how NOT scary math is...boy is that a relief!!!

I am a creative thinker and everything but a mathematical thinker. At first this made me really nervous to enter a course with people who were probably really MATH SMART....however, some sort of magic led me to the right course, where I got to meet a colleague/professional who is also a creative thinker BUT she is also a math thinker...does this give me hope or what?!

This week has been a reminder for me. A reminder that we do the best we can with what we know and where we are. As long as we strive to do better than our best we are doing a big favour to ourselves and students!!! I can already tell that this course will make me a better teacher and person...

If I could figure out how to upload my first powerpoint presentation that I created for my course to share I would...instead I will share a link on how math and our emotions connect...we have to take care of us before we are in a state of mind to learn...Heart Math

5 Pics that make me smile...

 So, I decided to join in on a link up this week to share 5 pics that make me smile...the past 4 weeks have been pretty busy with back to school (I know this word "busy" seems to be a pattern in my posts - maybe I need to evaluate some things). It was really nice to wake up this morning and not have anything to do - except get a hair cut and enjoy a trip to the farmer's market! Mmm fresh baked goodness and fresh produce from local farms! When I came home I noticed that my good friend Shaunacey had shared this link up and I thought - yeah I'd like to look through my pics and find some that bring a smile to my face, and share them!

This is a flower one of my students gave me at the end of the last school year. It pretty much sums up my blog and I was incredibly grateful for this gift of appreciation. It brought a smile to my face the day she gave it to me and it still brings a smile to my face!

Here's a picture of me thinking my groove moves are so cool. Just your average day in Brooklyn ;)

Clearly I'm sharing my expertise on solving crime with Spiderman!

Ahhh the joys of allowing an 8 year old to doll you up!
Hair and makeup...I'll share her number if you ever need to be

My sweet little niece, how could you not smile at such a beautiful angel!

Looking back at pictures makes you think about people, moments and special memories...and sometimes it causes you to feel gratitude or makes you want to pick up the phone and connect with people that make you SMILE...seems like a nice start to my Saturday!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" - George Eliot

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"
                                                                                                    - George Eliot

I came across this quote the week before school started. It is so powerful and thought provoking.  When I read the quote, it made me think about all the ways that I extend and help others. It also made me think about the amount of people that I know that spend WAY too much time thinking about themselves and way to LITTLE time thinking about how to help others or how they might be impacting the life of another both positively and negatively. This needs to change.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't take care of ourselves - my blog is about taking care of yourself...what I am saying is, we need to constantly recognize the light in one another and we need to understand that life is abundant and there is enough for everyone. There is no need to be intimated by what others have and what others are. We all hold beauty in our being, there is no need to compete for it. Beauty shows up in all of us in unique ways, we need to celebrate that for ourselves and for each other.

And sometimes, just sometimes - we need to remind one another that we each hold beauty...because sometimes we forget and need someone to lead us back in the right direction.

Don't ever forget...

                                                                                          ...and so is everyone else.

This quote also made me think about where I could work on this, and how could I make things less difficult for both the people in my life and the ones I meet along the the risk of sounding conceded I think I do this naturally, I'm always looking for ways to help others. Can one do this too often? Hmmm...perhaps in my case that might be true, except it's something ingrained in me and I believe I can't help it. I've tried to not be as helpful or backfires and makes me feel awful. And so, I find myself extending a helping hand before I even realize what I am doing...the part that I am challenged by is the lack of people in the world who are like this...while I respect that we all show up differently I can't help but wish that people were just a little nicer. And sometimes it feels like I don't know many people who try to help make life less difficult for me when I am going through a tough time. Maybe people do try to make life a little less difficult for me. It's just I just don't see this showing up in my world all to often. This makes me wonder whether it is happening and I'm not open to receiving it or if what I'm noticing is actually a truth...perhaps I need to practice being open to the same amount of help as I give out. Meditation time? I think so...

I'll leave you with are you making life less difficult for others? What are you doing to increase the joy and success in your life by lifting others up? Are you doing it enough? Could you do it more? Are you receiving and not giving? Are you giving and not receiving? Where can you work to hold balance in this idea of working to help others and humbly accepting the help of another without fear of judgment...

Monday, 1 September 2014

Back to School: Behind the Scenes

Many people have been preparing over the last week for back to school...Parents are getting all the gear ready for the hustle and bustle to begin, while teachers are getting the rooms and supplies ready for all the little munchkins. While I recognize that most parents respect and have some idea how much work goes in on the teachers behalf, I'm not sure they fully understand the amount of preparation that goes in on our behalf - it's A LOT!

For the last 3 years (I've been a teacher for 6, yet only teaching for 3 - whole other story) I have spent so much time and energy setting up a new classroom. This isn't just including the material things, like the bins for workbooks, table bins with supplies, it's so much more. I want my room to be inviting for the children, so here is a glimpse at all that it takes for me to prepare: climbing up a ladder to put up bulletin board paper and borders in those hard to reach places - this is physically exhausting when done alone (which is almost always the case), rearranging desks (sometimes including the table height), shelves, organizing books, materials, writing out the poem of the week, posting inviting posters around the walls, etc.

It is so important to me to create a space for learning that is inviting for my students - it needs to be calm yet stimulating in just the right way, it needs to provoke creativity and a desire to learn, it needs to make them feel safe and respected. For me, it takes some mental preparation and I usually rearrange the furniture about 100 times before it's just right for the year. It's like classroom feng shui. My classroom is made up of colours of purple, blue and green - my three favourite colours...not actually allowed to have 3 according to most children...but I like to bend the rules ;)
Sometimes I feel like pulling my hair out during the process of setting up my class and perhaps I shed a few tears of exhaustion but in the end it feels good - because of "the moment".

The moment when...those little faces see their classroom, their desk, when they soak up the excitement for another year - it's totally worth all of the effort that I put in. It really is amazing to see the children become so excited for a new classroom and eager to learn. The back to school buzz is pretty awesome.

Back to the 'behind the scenes' part of this blog...the amount of work that goes in on the teachers behalf is pretty much endless...Besides setting up my classroom, preparing notebooks, name cards, pencil bins, etc. I've spent about 2 hours a day over the long weekend getting some things ready for the first week. I've made play-doh, a little treat for the teachers, first day activities, day plans, I've laminated, I've gathered, I've meditated on just the right welcoming for my little ones this year, I've worked on a calendar, I've gone supply shopping, and literally dotted my i's and crossed my t's with all that I can think of. Will it be enough? It never is in teaching. There is always something to do, plan,'s the nature of the job. Do I love it? Bottom line - yes I do - I even get excited about back to school and planning for my students. Is it hard work? You bet it is...Will I sleep tonight? Probably not...I'll be playing over the day in my mind and stressing over whether I've forgotten something.

So for all you parents out there who have excited little children tonight...know that the teachers are excited too...we won't sleep well either, and I hope you respect that. We won't sleep because we are preparing for how best we can care for your children this school we can transform their lives and bring magic to life ;)

Wishing all you little ones and your families a happy first week of school!!!