Saturday, October 24, 2009

On being back in the classroom...

Well it was a busy week!  I fielded many phone calls and e-mails about the LOMCIRA conference.  I had staffroom duty (okay, I confess people kept emptying the dishwasher for me), a VESTA meeting, parent teacher conferences (24 interviews), a field trip to Granville Island to the International Writers' Festival  with three classes to see Gordon Korman and Tim Wynne Jones, a couple of dinners out with friends, and finally the LOMCIRA conference yesterday.

It rained a fair amount this week but fortunately not at Granville Island.  The leaves are beautiful, fall lingers in Vancouver.  After a day at the conference I walked up to Main Street to pay a debt at Once Upon a Huckleberry.  It was pouring but there's nothing like a good long raincoat and an umbrella!  And yes, on the way back I managed to do a bit of Christmas shopping.  You have  to know that Main Street even gets written up in cruise ship magazines and the New York Times now as an "in" shopping place.  When we first moved here it was mainly known for junk shops and the Red Hot Video Store.  It really wasn't a place I wanted to linger.  Times change.

At the conference I asked the new primary consultant how she liked her job.  She said she loved it.  And I said, "I honestly can't remember ever saying that!"  Living in the land of office cubicles wasn't an easy fit for me. I missed the kids, my colleagues, my classroom.  Fortunately, I was always able to get out to schools when I needed to have a kid fix.

Being the later literacy consultant was a wonderful opportunity.  I loved many parts of it- reading the latest books, getting incredible  professional development, going to conferences without having to plan lessons for a week nor having to pay my own way or even the cost of an EOC, and of course, meeting incredible teachers and seeing the big picture in Vancouver and across the province.  Plus I didn't have to make lunch every day. I loved the opportunity to learn, but I honestly didn't love the job.

There have been so many times the last few weeks where I have felt like I was almost drowning, trying to get my head more often above the waterline.  Going back to a classroom after four years isn't easy-  teaching a grade six seven split all subjects except PE and Art isn't easy especially when there are new materials and curriculum and you don't have all your stuff "left behind at your last school".  I haven't taught science in years and never grade seven science, math, nor social studies.  And I  don't really know the school, even though the school was familiar to me, each school has slightly different procedures. 

My heart really goes out to those beginning teachers even more now.  And of course there is the matter of class composition with a range of abilities, needs etc.

Talk about feelings of inadequacy.  There have definitely been times I have had to wonder why I didn't more seriously look at the possibilities of retirement.

But bottom line at eight o-clock Thursday night even as I finished my interviews, I know that this is job that I love.  I love working with children.  I love widening their worlds.  I love all the opportunities to learn in so many ways and in so many areas.  I love the diversity in my school.  My students' parents come from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Mexico, the Phillipines, Korea.  I can travel without even leaving the classroom.  My only student whose parents were born in Canada has a First Nations background.  I teach in a school with a dedicated staff and administrator.  No slackers here.  To me, now even more I am convinced there is no more important job than that of a teacher.  I also am convinced that one of the best things in life is to be able to find a job that you truly love to do.

No comments: