Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Sophmore Year of University

One regret I have for this blog is not posting anything about first year. Well to be fair I did have a few posts but I took them down and kept them in drafts because I didn't want to expose so much about myself but who am I kidding, this year shall be different! Second year of university has been really interesting to put it simply; I've moved into my first apartment shared with 4 other girls and it has been a whirlwind of adventures and some tensions (not gonna lie).

Living on my own (first year doesn't count because dorms made the transition too easy almost) was such a nuisance in the beginning. I disliked cooking, cleaning, buying groceries, and all those grown up chores. Now it's not so bad I supposed, the issue here is that I'm lazy. Meals have gotten less creative, whereas in the beginning of the year I would make chicken, broccoli, Alfredo pasta, but now I just make instant noodles and broccoli. Whoops. Second year academic wise has been easier? Now that I know how to study for my courses and have somewhat of a routine (compared to first year which was hectic) school isn't too bad. I'm doing relatively better than first year and I like almost all of my first semester courses which is nice.

The one thing about living away from home that sucks it the homesickness. Sometimes I can go long periods on my own and feel okay and that I can take on the world, but other times I miss home real bad. Having a job where I had to work on Saturdays also inhibited me from going home because it's so difficult to find replacements. I probably felt really bad homesickness twice which isn't so bad I guess.

Randomly, I've decided to look up publishing/editorial/writing internships just to change up my typical summer job path (AKA lifeguarding...). It's crazy how much stuff is out there; certain ones I'm interested in are this Harlequin Enterprise Editorial Intern position, any Simon & Schuster positions really, Elle Canada writing internships, and Corus Entertainment (AKA the production company that has W Network). These jobs all sound so exciting to me because they all have to do with production and the entertainment industry which is different. I might just apply to them all and see whatever comes back (if anything comes back) because it would be so cool and nice to experience something different!

With exams coming up who knows when I'll see this blog again, but it's definitely nice taking the time to relax and write. It's not like anyone reads this so I'll be free from judgment (for now). It's just a place for me to be open and let the words flow whether they are coherent or not. It's different when you're writing rather than telling a friend all these things because you don't remember what you say. At least for me that is, it's also interesting to see how my writing has progressed over the years because it's definitely improved.

Anyway, let's end it off with a selfie and a memorable memory so far of my second year.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Friday, 15 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Ten

       Today is the last day of my placement, and I'm so sad! We started off the day with a field trip review and talked about the issue about Jonah and this other boy getting punched in the face. Man there is a lot of 8 year old drama who would've thunk. So we spent quite a bit of time talking about that situation and trying to resolve it and tying all loose ends together which I thought was great because it brings closure to the situation. Next was home journals where the students write about what they did that week in a Dear So and So format (mostly their parents) and then their parents write back to them and I thought that was adorable and a great way to have memories and see improvement in writing. And one of the topics was I saw that many kids wrote "I'm sad it's Miss. Zhang's last day" and I was like "awww, that makes me sad." And Quentin wrote, "I don't want Miss. Zhang to leave" and that broke my heart. I hope they continue working really hard and that the stuff I taught them actually sticks so they don't keep having to ask Miss. Anderson about everything. It was so interesting to see what the kids wrote to their parents, and it was interesting to see the kids' responses. In one of Quentin's journals it was a short letter but whatever he's just a kid, and his dad's response was something along the lines of "that was short" and he replied "that was mean" aw poor thing. His parents are supposed to be super supportive but it was interesting to see his response to the situation. After that was recess and when they came back we had math and we continued with ordinal numbers and the students got to present their work which was cool. We had several literacy centres and I supported the students with their tasks and I think that it was helpful for them.
        At lunch I was listening to the teachers talk about their drinking social they were going to have after school and I thought that was cool because they were all getting together to have a cool little event. After lunch we had literacy centres and measurement and I noticed how good the students were getting at telling time so I must have done somewhat of a good job to help them achieve that. Then after recess we had a popcorn and movie party, and to my surprise Miss. Anderson planned it as a goodbye party for me and got everyone ice cream sandwiches but I didn't take one because I don't really like them too much. But that was so kind of her to do that and way out of her place, if anything I should have brought something. Then she talked about how good of a help I was and how I supported the kids and everyone said "thank you" and a bunch of kids gave me hugs. And Kate was being especially clingy and she was like "Miss. Zhang are you going to miss me?" and I was like "of course!" and she hugged me. And then she gave me a drawing of a snail which was funny. She's such a character, she always charges at me with her head which is pretty hilarious and stands in front of me so I can't walk and so that she is blocking me. And Quentin hugged me twice, and Drew too which was surprising, and Abby KS was like "do you have to leave? Can't you stay longer?" and I was like "no, my placement was only for 2 weeks" and then he got really angry which was cute. And the most surprising was Noah who was like "bye Miss. Zhang, thanks for giving us a good education." And as I was leaving I saw Jonah, and because he left early he didn't get to say anything, but when he saw me he came running and was like "Miss. Zhang!" and gave me the biggest hug and I told him that I was going to be back soon. Ahh, I miss those nuggets they were so sweet and nice to me, and I love helping people a lot so much that people tend to walk all over me. I'm going to have to go back and visit for their science fair because that would be really cool. This was one of the greatest learning experiences I've ever had.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Thursday, 14 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Nine

        Oh my! It's the second last day of my teaching placement! It's such a strange feeling because I've been so productive for the past two weeks and waking up at 7 a.m every morning (not 6 a.m anymore because that's just unrealistic and too painful) and coming back at 4-5 p.m everyday, it's like a set routine. Anyway today we went to Forest Valley and let me just say that being the student and the teacher are two very different experiences. As a student, you just need to worry about yourself and having fun but as a teacher you have to make sure everyone is paying attention and not running away and that everyone is safe. It's quite stressful, I never really realized before. So we started the trip with the bus ride to the location and this boy Jonah was begging to sit next to me so I was like "fine..." I mean he's a really nice guy and all, it's just that he's too close to me and is really touchy so that's kind of weird. So it's kind of difficult to establish a teacher and student relationship when he thinks of me as his friend, it's difficult to draw the line there sometimes. So we started the trip with an introduction and I think that the Forest Valley lady sounded like Miranda Sings so that was pretty hilarious, and then we went on a hike. The hike was alright but the lady spoke a lot and as an "adult" it was difficult to hear someone speak so condescendingly for such a long period of time haha. During the hike some kids fell, some cried, some rebelled, but other than that it was fine I guess.
         Now it was lunch and after we ate, we played at the playground and boy was it ever difficult. The boys and girls were playing this game where they were against each other and only one gender could claim territory of this shack but they had to fight for it, literally fight for it. Like I've never seen kids so aggressive before. One of the other kids punched Jonah in the face and then he bursted out crying and ran to me and hugged me and then in my head I was like "oh god, here we go again" so I had to console him. Then we had some games and most of the students didn't want to play so that was interesting. Then at the end of the day they gave us lemonade which was too sweet but it was nice of them to do that and on the bus ride home Jonah had to sit next to me again for whatever reason. And he was getting way too comfortable with me like he kissed my arm which was weird and he invited me to his home and I was like "what would we do at your home" and he was like "talk" and I was thinking "wow.... okay this kid is so strange" so yeah he's very attached to me to say the least. The day was overall really nice and Miss. Anderson let me go an hour early so that was so good. Also, yesterday I think, we had a really tough day with screaming at the students and all that and she was like "I need to go home a have a drink" and that killed me haha.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Eight

          Today is the third last day of my teaching placement, and it was pretty hard to be honest. Like I'm starting to notice all the students and their exceptionalities and how difficult it is to keep them focused and learning. So we started the day off with a lesson about main ideas where Miss. Anderson used a powerpoint we found on the internet, then we had some silent reading time. I mostly tried to read with the students who were not very good or had a difficult time. So I was helping Georgia read, and we were sitting on the carpet next to each other and I guess Harper saw and was jealous so she was like "Miss. Zhang, look at how many pages I can read" and was kind of boasting, it was pretty hilarious that they were prying for my attention. So I just smiled and continued reading with Georgia but you can tell that Harper was jealous because she's used to getting a lot of attention. Then it was recess and after that we had math which was a continuation on ordinal numbers and then we had Roots of Empathy and the lady brought in a baby and it was so strange to watch. The baby was like displayed for the class and it seemed so weird and unnatural. The lady teaching was talking about the baby's needs and how it looks like when she eats a food she likes versus something that she doesn't like. It was weird how the students needed to be taught how to behave like this or notice these kinds of changes in facial expressions and what not. The teacher was a little bit psycho but I understood her good intentions nonetheless.
        After lunch Antonia saw me and came to me and was like "Miss. Zhang I was bullied at recess again" and I was thinking "ugh here we go again" so I told her to come into the class to talk to me and she started to talk to me and then I noticed that the kids were trying to come into the class but I don't like when they do that so I held the door closed. And then the kids thought that it was a game and started pulling at the handle, but I really didn't want the kids to come in because then I can't get them out so I was holding the door handle. And then Miss. Anderson saw and lectured them about how inappropriate their actions were and I felt really hopeless and realized how bad at classroom management I am. Then I taught a lesson on movement and it was okay? Some of the students weren't too engaged which was frightening but that was because I was talking a lot but it seemed okay, not great but mediocre. It was definitely an experience for me for sure! Then I gave them a worksheet to do which was pretty good because they did it. Then it was already the end of the day, and I realized that these kids are a lot more psycho than I previously thought. Tomorrow we have a field trip so that should be fun!

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Seven

         I can't believe that there's only 3 more days of my teaching placement! It's a very bittersweet kind of feeling because I'm excited for it to be done because it's quite a bit of work and very exhausting but I'm very sad to be leaving the little munchkins because I've developed a bit of a relationship with some of the students. Anyway, onto the day! So first we read a book called "Not Norman" and the students had to listen to Miss. Anderson read it and then identify the main point of the story, and I had to help the students a lot with that. Especially Quentin and Drew because they never know what to do, and they always ask me for help so I always help them. Then we did some math problems about ordinal numbers and a worksheet. And I had to help the same five struggling students with their math worksheets and yeah that was okay. Then I believe it was lunch, and lunch is becoming like a routine where I listen to the teachers talk about the strike and just eat my lunch. But now they're noticing me a little more and talking to me now so that's nice.
        After lunch we had literacy centres and I got to explain the different stations so that was cool, another teaching experience. And then I just went around and looked at what the students were doing and helped them and what not. After that we had measurement and it was a substitute teacher and she was an old lady and she was not good at all. She had a very old school method of teaching and the students had to sit for a long time and the were getting all antsy and couldn't pay attention for long period of time so they would act up a little. Then she was holding a clock and it said 11:45 but she said that it was 12:45 so I told Miss. Anderson and she was like "excuse me, it actually says 11:45" and then she whispered to me "okay, I better leave the classroom before she hates me even more." Haha, Miss. Anderson always stands up for me it's so nice and funny. Then for the last period we had computers which is basically the students going on the internet and playing some games, mostly snail bob.
       There were a few problems today that I had to deal with, like Antonia. She is a drama queen and leaves a trail of drama behind her everywhere she goes. It's difficult to be really nice and understanding to her and strict at the same time but I kept my cool the whole time so I don't look like the enemy in her eyes. She was literally crazy like she was standing on the table, and rolling around on the ground, and she kicked a girl in the shin, and she ran to my crying about her monkey bar problems at recess, it was so overwhelming. Anyway, I think I somehow helped her out in the end which is good, but that left me thoroughly exhausted so yeah.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Monday, 11 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Six

          It's officially my last week being a student teacher! It's kind of nice how I won't have to wake up at 6:30 a.m every morning and now I can finally enjoy my real summer, but in reality I will have to go a whole school year eventually waking up at 6:30 a.m. It's not so bad after a while but I can see it becoming a drag, but at least each day is very different in the classroom which makes it exciting. Anyway, onto today! So we started the morning off with pool and drama so it was basically prep time for Miss. Anderson and I, and she gave me a lot of stuff to photocopy. As I was photocopying, this teacher was like can I use it real quick because my class is going to start soon so I was like sure. And then she broke the machine! She jammed the paper then opened the compartment to take it out but it wouldn't close and then she was like "sorry you probably regret letting me borrow it" and then had to leave because she had a class. Wow it was so awkward, and I was annoyed because now I had to go somewhere else to use a printer, so I went to the office. And I was happily printing away the copious amounts of work, and then the vice principal kept coming in and was like "can I use it for 5-10 minutes" so I was like sure. And then I finished all my printing and went back to the room and Miss. Anderson gave me another package to print so I went back to the printer in the office and the vice principal and I kept colliding because she needed the machine and so did I. And then she was like "can you come back in an hour, I'm doing really important stuff and I need the printer." Initially I was like "rude" but okay I suppose her work is more urgent but not more important so I let her have it. So I went back and told Miss. Anderson and then she gave me other stuff to do like write this problem on the white board so I did that, and when she came back she told me that she talked the the vice principal and she was like "no no she (as in me) was so sweet, I just had a lot to do." Haha, I didn't mean to make such a big deal out of it, it was just something I casually told my host teacher, but anyway crisis was averted.
         Then I believe it was lunch? When Miss. Anderson and I went to drop the kids off in the cafeteria I noticed that one of the students was eating pickled wrapped in ham! Gross! No offence of course, but that must be a very sodium filled meal. Every lunch I basically just listen to the teachers talk because I don't know the students, abbreviations that they use, or their family lives that they talk about. They normally just talk normally and pretend that I'm not there, which I'm totally fine with because I cannot relate to them at all and I have nothing to say about their matters. I really like being the wallflower in this situation because I can just observe and listen.
       After lunch we decided to go watch some band, string, and choir students rehearse for their music night. To be honest, the choir lady is psycho, I understand that she is flustered and under pressure of trying to rehearse the whole ensemble in a limited time but man she was mean! She didn't know how to control her anger really well and she lashed out on students a lot. But other than that, the kids were absolutely adorable, I really enjoyed hearing the choir because their voices were so high and undeveloped.  Then it was a late recess after that and I noticed that some students like Kate, and Jonah were getting more and more attached to me and it was so cute.
       We ended off the day with an intro lesson to ordinal numbers like first, second, third, etc. And Miss. Anderson used methods like shared writing where she made a chart and then had a student draw names and they had to come up and write on the chart, so that involved all the students and made it engaging, great idea actually. So that was basically my day, pretty good and easy going. Also, my sister gave me her TDSB student account so now I can use the wifi and it's so nice. I would bring my phone in my pocket to the washroom and just go on it for a little while haha. Talk about addiction and deprivation.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Friday, 8 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Five

           Thank god it's Friday! It's finally the end of the week and I am looking forward to the weekend and sleeping in, mostly sleeping in. So today was a special day because we had a woodwork workshop and it was quite cool. The students were responsible for creating these wooden helicopters which was controlled by a lever that made the propellers spin, it looked really complicated and all but it was really easy to make actually. The students really enjoyed making these funny wooden helicopters and it was fun to supervise and help out all the munchkins. After the event, the man who hosted the workshop was like "my company is always looking to hire students, so here's my business card" and I was like whoa that's cool, actually being recognized for my work. But to be honest, I'm not going to do it because I don't want to do that kind of work and it does not seem enjoyable at all, so thanks but no thanks.
          Now it was lunch and there were no staff meetings so I got to eat with all the teachers again, and now it's gotten a lot more comfortable. I normally just listen to the teachers talk, mostly because I have no idea what they're talking about but I find their knowledge and experience quite enlightening. It's pretty awesome hearing what they have to say because they are (for the most part) really passionate about their jobs and strive to help students all the time, and I find it quite inspiring.
         After lunch it was measurement, where the kids continued to learn about how to tell time and it was okay. The teacher who taught it was alright, she could have been more understanding, accommodating and nicer to the students, but that was okay. I helped the students having trouble figure out the rest of the answers to their problems so that was good.
        Last period, we painted our helicopters that we made which was a fun but crazy arts and crafts afternoon. I literally made a random gradient of purple on my helicopter propeller then all the girls were like "Miss. Zhang can you do that for me pleeeeease." And being me, I was like fine okay. So I painted like several gradients for these girls. Who knew having some sort of artistic side would be so useful as an elementary school teacher. I literally have drawn, painted, and created so many things because of my ability to do art, weird huh? So that basically led the end of the day, it was a great end to my first week of my teaching placement. Crazy, but very valuable experience. I'm glad I blogged about it everyday, although it takes up quite a bit of time and I needed to incorporate it into my routine but it's okay. Also, waking up at 6:30 has become a lot more bearable now, it's not as hard as it was on Monday.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Thursday, 7 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Four

          Today was more slow than the other days, and a little boring? I don't want to say that it was boring, but it was definitely less eventful than the other days, and I was feeling particularly tired (I mean it's Thursday, I'm allowed to feel tired right?) Anyway, we started the day off with a science discussion about water conservation and ways to save water. Then the students were sent to their desk with the task of inventing their own water conserving products, and I saw some funny things like car washes and showers that reuse water, and mind-powered T.Vs, and the most hilarious one was a toilet that creates flags every time you flush it, haha! That kid is obsessed with flags and soccer and anything of that sort clearly. Next was Roots of Empathy and I don't really know too much about what that is, all I know is that a lady comes in and speaks to the children about mindfulness and that sort of stuff. The teacher doesn't seem to like her and neither do the students because she's "mean" apparently and she is demanding, but I didn't get to witness her teaching so I can't really form an opinion. But during the time I talked to her, she seemed alright, and she told me that her daughter goes to the same university as me for commerce, but yeah. Cool I guess? I don't know.  So during that time I just went to the staff room and printed, cut, and stapled stacks of paper to make little booklets which was a repetitive task but oddly relieving. (Maybe because I was finally able to sit down for once, haha)
        Now it was lunch and the teachers had a union meeting which I wasn't allowed to sit in on so I sat by myself in the staff lunch room and when I finished I just stapled the rest of the booklets and went back to the class. And while I was stapling and stuff, the other substitute teachers were talking about, get this, public transit for like half an hour! I couldn't believe that they had formed such opinions about that and they just kept going on and on about it, and I was like so that's what teachers talk about. Also, my water bottle spilled in my bag today so that sucked because it made all my stuff damp. Ugh.
        After lunch it was library so I helped a student pick some books about drawing and a cookbook which was fun. I like when the students can approach me and ask for my help because it makes me feel important and wanted, and that they actually like me. After that I watched some students watch a YouTube video about Shopkins (these little animal toys) which was interesting. It's like a big thing in elementary school, and a huge deal. Like all the kids are collecting them these days. Last period was prep so I watched Miss. Anderson and another teacher plan for the rest of the year and it was literally like how I make lesson plans for swimming. Except that they have vague instructions and expectations from the outline and they have to make their own ideas and subjects to teach. But nonetheless it was very similar to what I'm used to doing, so that kind of surprised me. Also, she showed me her book that she published about her quadriplegic brother and that was quite sad, but it really showed a lot about herself and how they overcame this problem and live a very positive life, quite inspirational actually. Yeah that's pretty much the day, not too eventful, but tomorrow should be fun because we have a guest coming in for wood shop. Yay!

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Three

          I am one fifth done my placement today and it's passing by surprising fast. I actually don't dread going to my placement everyday, I mean waking up is definitely the hardest part but once I get over that the whole day is a blast really. The day goes by so much faster when you're the teacher, like when I was a student in elementary school or just school in general (especially high school, oh god) days were just so long and it felt like an eternity. Anyway, onto the day! So this morning we started off with the open house where parents were allowed to come in and see what it's like in the classroom from 9 a.m to around 10 a.m. and Miss. Anderson showed my video that I edited and filmed of the students reciting their poetry presentations. It was so funny watching their embarrassed expressions and they seemed to really enjoy watching it. It was such a cool experience, and I know that it helped Miss. Anderson a lot because her voice is slowly going away and she was able to catch a small break. It also made her look really good in front of the parents I suppose because it showcased all the students' work. After that we discussed a worksheet about man made and natural things and the differences between the two. Then it was recess, and after that we had a whole hour of math. It was still the same word problems and figuring out with symbol to use in each math sentence. Math is actually really hard to teach because it seems like such common sense for us but children don't get it at all and it's such an abstract concept for them. But I eventually picked up a few tips that helped the students understand but it's still a long work in progress. I mean math is not easy and especially for me, it's really difficult to understand and grasp the different concepts.
         Then it was lunch and I ate in the staff room again but I sat at a different table with teachers I didn't know. And they were having a staff meeting and it was interesting, they basically discussed issues about the condition of the technology they have and any sort of ideas and tips for teaching. Basic protocols were also discussed as well as numerous other boring, teacher things, catch my drift? After lunch was media literacy where students were split off into different stations and I didn't really know what to do so I went outside where some boys were to see what they were doing and they were playing Pokemon. So I basically joined them because I was so bored, and I wanted to show them that I cared about what they were doing and I wanted them to feel comfortable around me. So I played Pokemon and I had no idea what was happening but it was nice connecting with them. Also I made them do math so it seemed like their card game was some what of a learning experience.
         Finally, Miss. Anderson told me to make an example Mothers Day card so I randomly created one and she asked if I wanted to teach students how to make it and I was like sure! So I taught the students how to make it and I had students read out each of the steps to make it all engaging and stuff and I think that I captured their attention enough. I walked around and children were all tugging at me to help them create their cards and it was overwhelming but so awesome. Everyone didn't want to think of their own original cards so I basically had to help them make theirs and there was this one kid named Ewan and he was literally crying that he messed up his card and I had to do some damage control. But I made his squiggly into a peppermint candy and then everything was okay again so that's good. And then there was this other kid who was obsessed with the illuminati and tried to incorporate it into his logo but I was like no that's no appropriate and your mother would probably not appreciate it. And then this girl made me a drawing (well I asked her for it haha) but it was very cute nonetheless.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day Two

         Alright, let's get to the nitty gritty. Today was my second day of my teaching placement, and to be honest I already feel like I belong here. We started off the day with some Science and discussion about water pollution and what not. I wrote some notes on the dry erase board for students to reference to and I felt like a real teacher then. Afterwards the students got worksheets to work on and I helped this girl named Antonia the whole time because she's a bit more behind than the other students in her inability to read. I noticed that she had really low self esteem so I did my best to encourage her and help her read and finish the worksheet problems and you could see a sense of pride in her as we were ripping through the questions. It was so nice to see a change in expression from a student who was so unsure about herself to becoming more open to learning.
         Next was a little cooking session after recess where we made Mother's Day gifts, peppermint scented bath salts. To be honest, whenever I heard the words "bath salts" I think about that crazy man who got high off bath salts and killed someone, but that's just my crazy mind thinking about irrelevant things. Anyway, it was so messy but you can tell that these kinds of hands on activities and engaging things were very enjoyable for the students. It allowed them to move around and work with their hands rather than sit and do worksheets all day. I noticed that after our cleaning session, this boy Duncan's desk was particularly messy so I asked him to clean up and he literally took all the salt on the table and swiped it onto the floor. I was so shocked by his actions but I wasn't mad at all, I just told him to help me clean it up and explained to him why we don't do that.
        After I ate lunch by myself (because the teachers had a union meeting and I wasn't allowed to go) I spent about an hour in the staff room photocopying papers all day and making little books for the students. There were three different reading levels for students who need more simple books versus those who are more comfortable with reading. So that consumed a lot of my time but it was nice to be able to sit down for a solid hour. Although I did notice that there were two teachers (I think?) sleeping on the couches behind me, I don't know but I found it kind of funny because they were teachers napping on the couches and you don't really think of staff or professionals just napping like that. It was cool seeing the other side of how things are and work in a school, I don't know.
       I think this led to our second last period which was called Measurement and there was another teacher who taught this Math class and it had to do with telling time. And the teacher was not very effective in teaching it because I could just tell that half the students did not know how to do the worksheets that she assigned. I had to go one on one with several students and explain them everything from the start, who knew telling time could be so hard for children. For last period, it was Computers where the kids were basically allowed to use the computers and go on any educational or game site, and I found it really interesting how they were given the freedom to do so. Many of them went to PBS Kids or TVO Kids, but many of the boys played a game called "Snail something" I forget but it was funny to watch. I was basically just watching them play their games and asked them what they were doing and all that jazz.
       After school, Miss. Anderson and I debriefed a little and I asked her about some teaching stuff. And she said she would show me her lesson plans and year long lesson plans, and her teaching portfolio, and she basically gave me a lot of tips. She is such a wonderful person honestly, I really admire her and look up to her. She is really knowledgable and understanding of the students' needs especially because many of them have exceptionalities.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang

Monday, 4 May 2015

First Year Teaching Placement: Day One

          Today was my first day ever of being a student teacher in a real classroom setting. Sure I've taught classes, but mostly swimming classes my entire life, and that is much different than teaching non-swimmers. I was so nervous the night before that I could barely sleep. So many questions and thoughts were racing through my head, like "what do I do once I get there?" "who's my host teacher?" "will she like me?" "what if the kids don't like me?" "am I going to have to eat with other teachers during lunch?" "is that going to be awkward?" and several other thoughts of paranoia. However upon arriving at the elementary school, it wasn't so bad. When I walked into the office, I was greeted by the most lovely secretary and vice principal who were very accommodating and a grade 3 teacher named Alana (I think) walked me to my host teacher's classroom. My initial thoughts were, "wow this school is predominately white" and "all these teachers are moderately young." My host teacher Miss. Anderson was lovely right from the beginning. She was extremely helpful in showing me the ropes of the classroom and explaining to me about her classroom set up and her expectations of students. She gave me a thorough tour of the small yet cozy classroom and I was already starting to feel comfortable and less anxious.
        The first two periods of the day were prep time for us because the students had drama and pool so Miss. Anderson made me mark a bunch of work and file some of the students' completed work. That passed by really quickly, and it was time for the students to come back. Miss. Anderson introduced me to the students but she kept getting my name wrong haha. She would say Miss. Yang for a while, and then the students even started correcting her. She said that the "Zh-" sound was difficult so I told her the "H" is basically silent and it's the same as "Zang" essentially. Anyway, she was nice enough to play introduction games with the students so I could learn their names as well as provide them with name tags. Then it was recess, and when the students came back we did some math. It was the kind like "If Bonnie has 3 apples and Betty has 2 apples, how many do they have together?" She basically was speaking the whole time when teaching it and I didn't particularly agree with it because it was probably difficult for the children. I don't know I feel like math should be a visual subject because it's easier to envision it that way, but most of the students understood so that was an effective method for her I suppose, and she has a lot of experience so it's all good in the hood.
        Then we had this long lull in time so I made a sign for the CN Tower art work display about foreground, middle ground, and background (or something). And Miss. Anderson was impressed by my craftiness so that was good. Then I can't really remember what happened too much, just some station work that dealt with literacy and art. And while Miss. Anderson was reading with some students I just walked around and looked at what students were doing and tried to encourage them and check out their work. Then it was lunch I think? I ate in the staff room with the other teachers and I was nervous at first but it wasn't so bad. I noticed that teachers swear a lot haha. And one of the teachers offered us Haagen Das ice cream which was really nice.
          But the best part of the day was probably when I got to film the poetry presentations for the students. I made this my little project and had several little helpers that helped me film and recruit students. I'm supposed to edit this video and have it in time for the open house on Wednesday, it should be fun!
          Anyway, I'm looking forward to more craziness tomorrow and we'll see how it goes! I'm going to post a blog post everyday of my placement (hopefully) because I really enjoy the memories, and I might be able to look back and reflect and find ways that might help my teaching in the future.

Until next time!
Suzy Zhang