Monday, 7 January 2013

Happy Ukarianian Christmas!!!  I only know this because I had an email from my friend Carol this morning wishing us all a Merry Christmas.  Carol and I go back a long ways.  We were both Winter Club brats and although she was a little younger than I we had friends who were sisters so spent a fair bit of time together.  I taught her three wonderful boys in my years at Cambrian Heights.  There are always some families in your career that are standouts and the Stone Family is definitely one of those for me!

Had coffee this morning with my friend Pat.  Pat and I go back to my Cambrian Heights days.  We haven't had much opportunity to get together so had lots of catching up to do today!

Came home and had some lunch then Boomer and I picked up Sienna and headed off to Nose Hill.  We did the full loop today and it was much easier than it was a few days ago.  I am noticing improvements every day as to how I'm feeling and with my stamina.

Have had a couple of texts from Kelli in Vancouver.  As I mentioned she is doing her ICU rotation there for the next month which is a tough one.  Long hours and challenging work.  No details but it sounds like she's having one of those days.  It's hard enough to be between hospitals in the same city let alone having to move between cities and provinces.  She has had a tough year juggling her program so that she could be there for me every step of the way.  I have marvelled at her ability to do this but don't for a minute take it for granted knowing full well it has not been easy.   As I was walking today I was thinking about being in the learning stages of my own career.  I have some pretty vivid recollections of experiences I had in my early days that made me seriously question if I was cut out to be a teacher.  Today when Pat and I were talking I said we should have kept a diary of those experiences because they would make a darn good read for people considering going into teaching.  One of my first "sideways" experiences happened during my Junior HIgh student teaching round at FE Osborne.  I was a PE major but they also wanted us to have a classroom experience so I was partnered up with a super organized science teacher.  She made teaching science look easy.  I observed for a few days and then she literally turned her class of grade 7's over to me.  Not only did she turn them over.....she left me alone with them and totally disappeared.  So there I was with a classroom full of wild twelve year olds who had the uncanny ability to sense I was as green as they come.  I had prepared a weeks worth of lessons and proceeded to do lesson #1 in my first 45 minute period.  Well, I completed lesson #1 in about 15 minutes so moved on to lesson #2.  I actually competed almost the entire weeks lessons in 45 minutes!!!  I was horrified but realized two things.  I needed to have a lot more content in my lessons and I had to slow down.  So day two I had a 30 minute movie to show which only left me with 15 minutes of teaching time.  Those were the days when movies came on the big reels on the film projectors.  Well, I got everything loaded up before the class arrived.  I was ready today!  It was going to be much, much better than the previous day.  Settled the kids down then pushed the start button on the projector. Things came to a grinding halt and the film snapped and was flapping around as the projector rolled.  I was madly trying to fix it but was not very good at those technological challenges (still struggle to this day with technology).  The kids were starting to get restless.  The noise level was picking up.  Kids were starting to move around and I had completely lost control.  I finally had to send a student to get my cooperating teacher for help.  I'm sure she thought I was a Loser with a capitol "L".  She was able to settle the group immediately and took over.  Talk about a dog with it's tail between its legs.  I was so embarrassed.  On the positive side things did improve and I did learn from those experiences.  My second round of student teaching was at William Aberhart High School which also happened to be the high school I myself had attended.  Talk about awkward.  All of a sudden you are allowed to go into the staff room, a place a student wasn't even permitted to look into.  Teachers who had taught me insisted I call them by their first names.  My classroom experience this time was Chemistry 30, a subject I barely passed in grade 12, with the same teacher who had taught me......Mr. Appleby.  I kept calling him Mr. Appleby and he kept insisting I call him Rick.  Finally I just didn't call him anything.  I would catch his eye before I spoke to him.  The gym was better but even there things were interesting as I was only a few years older than my students and actually looked a lot younger than many of them.  One day after school I was working in the PE office.  Two students were there on detention doing an assignment for my cooperating teacher.  They were talking as if I wasn't even there and at one point decided they would steal a couple of whistles out of the teachers drawer.  I was sitting at my desk looking at them in total amazement.  One girl looked at me and snarled "I suppose YOU are going to tell the teacher??!!"  I then realized they thought I was also a student there on detention.  I looked at her and said "Actually, I AM the teacher!"  You should have seen the look on those snotty faces.  Totally priceless!  My experiences continued on into my first job at Sir John  A MacDonald.  We had huge classes of up to 75 students.  There were several hundred students at the school and the first report card was a nightmare because I was only just starting to get a handle on the kids names.  I had two teaching partners but the work was quite challenging as the school was a pretty high needs school.  Interviews were much like they are now at the secondary level.  Teachers sat at various stations and parents lined up to see them.  I was soooo nervous because I knew I didn't know the kids as well as I would like to in order to speak knowledgeably about their kids.  I sat at a table alongside my two teaching partners and we had a pretty steady stream of parents wanting to talk about their kids.  Things weren't going too badly until a woman sat down and smiled a smile that wasn't if you know what I mean.  She looked pissed and snarled at me she was very pleased her daughter, Michelle, was doing so well in PE.......EVEN THOUGH HER DAUGHTER MICHELLE HAD NEVER TAKEN PE.  SHE WAS IN A BODY CAST!!!  I was mortified.  I had given this student a grade and I had never even taught her.  Now in my defence, and even I admit it is a weak defence at best, I taught probably  dozen Michelles but of course that did not appease this irate mother.  I know if I had been the mother I would have felt much the same.  Yikes!  That was one of our last interviews of the evening and I was in tears.  All the other staff thought it was funny and proceeded to tell me about the first year the shop teacher came to the school.  He gave a grade to a student who had left the school but was still on the class list.  The staff decided to play a joke on him and sent a fill in parent to interviews.  The teacher discussed the "student' with this "parent".  Well, this went on for an entire year.  He continued to grade the kid that wasn't and sat through at least two interviews with the parent who wasn't.  How mean is that!!!????  The next go round of interviews I was feeling much more comfortable with knowing my students.  We again sat at the table together and I brought some work to do during the interviews.  I was making some posters using a black felt pen.  I only worked on them for a bit at the beginning of the evening and then we got busy so I put it away.  At the end of the evening, I turned to one of my teaching partners and said with a big smile on my face...."Well, that certainly was better than last time." He burst out laughing and said to my other partner...."Get a load of her beak!"  Well, I had somehow drawn a thick black line right down the middle of my nose.  I had interviewed parents all  night long sporting a black stripe down the middle of my face!  OMG  can't imagine what they thought of me!!!!
I could go on and on.....but my point is that I'll bet every one of us has stories just like this....well maybe not quite like this but we all have times both when we are in the learning phases and even once established in our careers when we feel incompetent and lack confidence.  That, however, is how we learn as humbling as it may feel at the time.

So my message to my beautiful, smart daughter is are still learning!  No one expects you to be an are in a career where you will be learning every step of the way.  So hold your head up......remember.....You are in charge of your attitude!


  1. Oh my god Leslie - that is SOOOOOO funny, i'm laughing so hard right now! Having got to know you with about 15 years teaching experience under your belt it is hilarious to hear about the "early" and obviously less polished years! Back to school for the kiddos tomorrow and back to routine (boo!!!!!)

  2. Leslie, you have to remember that the boys had to be good (at school) as you reminded them that you had seen them (when they were just wee lads) "naked" in the Ladies locker room at CWC!!!!!!!! I think it went " You guy's can't call me Leslie any more and you best be good or I will let everyone know I've seen you naked!" LOL