Tag Archives: teacher

Be Saying Goodbye to Home Visit + Report Card Writing Season (2023)

When I worked in the classroom in the campus setting as a teacher, I always felt this sense of angst that I wasn’t spending time or even had enough time to get to know all students equally. I felt like I was NEVER enough.

In the campus system, almost 95% of my time was often spent with 5% of the students.

Sad, but true.

BUT, I came up with a system to at least waylay my own personal angst. For each day of the week, I would focus on 6 of my students and genuinely asking them questions and talk with them. The chat would have been a few minutes to 5 minutes with each of these six students, but I felt closer to my goal of truly “knowing” my students. 5 days per week times 6 students = 30 students in my class. BUT, I was only spending about 5 minutes consistently, authentically communicating with each student each week.

Sad, but true.

As an online teacher with the school that I have a contract with, I am asked to do 3 home visits throughout the year. I also will Zoom with families a few times, on top of these home visits, to stay connected and in tune with any “successes to build on” or “struggles to shift through”.

As of Tuesday, I completed writing report cards after meeting with my eighteen families (39 students in total) between Kamloops and Oliver, British Columbia, plus many towns and cities in between. The total distance between Kamloops to Oliver is around 275 kilometres (170 miles). In the last few months, I spent about forty hours in my car plus over forty-five hours then writing report cards.

Not ideal, but worth every second.

At these home visits, students will read with me, show me work they are proud of and we will talk about math. I will go over their personal goals that we set for the year in September. (This is ALL on top of the weekly/biweekly learning samples they share throughout the year via the sharing platform, Seesaw.) I meet puppies, listen to piano, play basketball, have tea parties with homemade cakes, play Lego/blocks, cook, make crafts and I even paint with some students at their homes.

Overjoyed and true.

I spend HOURS upon HOURS with my students and their families throughout the year. I am privileged to be invited into peoples homes to see “behind the scenes” of the learning that is taking place. It is within this family unit that I am truly given a picture of what learning is like for the student: How they fit within their sibling unit, how their parents work with them and even how things are set up in the home, are all important for learning about how our children learn (in the online world and the campus education system).

Overjoyed and true.

Sometimes people wonder why I have chosen this path for my teaching career and how I can work with so many students.

First, I truly feel like I can help inspire and support my students because I have time to sit with them, listen to them and learn from them.

Second, I really get to “know” my students, which was never possible in the campus system I worked in. In the campus system, I always tried to see/meet my students outside of the unilateral learning environment of the classroom. I always volunteer coached, ran chess club, did breakfast club and spent extra time on the playground to try and get to know my students, but I never felt like I ever had enough time or ever got to know how they fit within their family.

Last, the online learning world gives me time because I oversee each students program individually, yes one-on-one, while their parents or even grandparents on the ground working directly with the students and also managing any behaviour. What a gift! My students don’t exist within a classroom setting with other students, I am working directly with them. Their learning plan is individualized and truly their own.

Sitting.

Listening.

Learning.

Knowing.

Being.

Individual.

Students.

The gift of one-on-one time!

I am NOW enough.

Overjoyed and true.

I am grateful for the time with each of my families these last months of home visits. I am blessed to write report cards, yes official documents about each of my students, detailing all the amazing things that they can do and things they will continue to grow into.

Thank you Jesus for calling me back into this world in 2020. I am eternally grateful.

Have an epic Sunday folks and love what you do.

xoxo Joanna

P.S. We also had a Ministry of Education Inspection on the day BEFORE our report cards were due. This means that everything needs to be up-to-date in our student portals including all communication notes and individualized student learning plans. It was seriously “full on”. Time to sleep and ski now!

Imagine ~ Campus Education System vs. Home Learning Education System

Imagine a learning world where you are amongst 29 other young humans that are your age, not your learning ability, but simply your age. Next add into this scenario one or two adults, that we call “teacher”. This is the campus system.

Now, imagine a learning world where you are amongst your family, learning in your neighbourhood, community or even travelling around the world. Next add into this scenario people of all ages, that we call “teacher”. This is the online learning system.

Imagine a learning world where you must be “present” and ready to learn between 8:25am and 2:30pm every Monday through Friday. Next add into this scenario when you are able to have holidays or days off.

Now, imagine a learning world where you can listen to your body and wake-up later in the winter and earlier in the summer. Next add into this scenario that you are able to take holidays when you choose to.

Imagine a learning world where you are required to follow a certain book or program because everyone else is doing it in your group. Next add into that your individual learning style that is different from how the book or program teaches.

Now, imagine a learning world where you choose the book or program based on your learning style and what you are interested in. Next, add into the program, deletions or additions that continue to build on what you already know and don’t know.

Imagine a learning world where you are embarrassed to go to the washroom or able to eat when your stomach is growling. Next, add into the program other young people that might verbally tease you or simply comment on these two natural functions of being a human being.

Now, imagine a learning world where you have cold or hot food available to you all day and your personal washroom is just down the hall. Next, add in an environment where listening to your body and your bodily functions are encouraged and praised.

Now, imagine this woman writing this post growing up in this campus learning world and now being blessed and fortunate enough to give her children a very different learning world.

That’s what I did.

I am privileged to have discovered this second world in 2014 as teacher. And now, I have had the privilege to experience it with our own three boys the last four year. It is very humbling and it is incredibly profound. I do not take these years learning in the world with our boys for granted. I do know that this isn’t for everyone, but I am FOR everyone to have an incredible campus or home learning experience whichever system you choose.

I love you.

Have an epic Sunday folks and love what you do.

xoxo Joanna

Be Outdoor Piano Players

Life is about finding moments that fill you and make you smile.

Yesterday was one of those moments.

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A waterfront, outdoor piano.

My three boys and our wonderful friend and piano teacher.

Smiles and claps from passerby’s.

A man joining us to play some Chopin.

Steven Tyler, from Aerosmith, playing on the same piano later in the afternoon.

I am very proud of my outdoor piano players.

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What moments will make you smile today?

Be Writing An Obituary

It was a beautiful moment last night sitting with my cousins
and my dad talking about my mom.
The adjectives used to describe my mom were words that
I will never forget:
kind, memory maker, forgiving, quiet leader, athletic,
loving, servant-heart,
Super Nana, homemaker, teacher,
lifelong learner…and many more.
Have you ever written an obituary?  I hadn’t until last night.  It was hard.
I wanted to go on and on and on and on about my mama.
Our cousin, Marnie, had an amazing example of a beautiful obituary.
My dad kept us succinct and focused.
Rea had a way with words.
 Jamie slept on the couch.
My sister was able to come in and help us fine tune and edit it
before we send it off to press.
Soon to be showing in the Prince George Citizen and Vernon Morning Star –
MY BEAUTIFUL MAMA!
Nana Obituary

Be Making Gingerbread Playdough

A few years ago a friend gave us gingerbread playdough for Christmas. I must admit that we still have this playdough in our stash. It was a great gift. I absolutely love the smell of gingerbread and playing with the playdough makes the aroma spread around the room.

This year JC and I decided that we were going to make gingerbread playdough. I must admit, as an imperfect teacher and a mother, I have never made playdough. Shocking, I know.

I put all the dry ingredients into the pot. I was shocked again as I didn’t know you cooked playdough. We added in the water and the oil and began to stir. Playdough goes from this liquidy sticky dough into this chunky messy mixture and ends up being this beautiful smooth playdough. Who knew!

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Enjoy! Here is the recipe we used:

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 tsp orange extract {optional}
Instructions

In a medium saucepan whisk together dry ingredients. Next mix in the water, oil, and orange extract and stir until a thick batter is formed. Cook the mixture over low/medium heat until a thick dough forms. Turn out onto parchment paper and knead until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of dough.

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I bought some Christmas takeout containers as well as some gingerbread men cookie cutters and viola gifts for the boys friends are done.

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Happy 2nd day of Advent. Christmas is coming. Enjoy each day.