Monday, October 20, 2008

Satisfaction and Frustration: Just another day!

Every now and again things happen that restore hope and lead you to believe that all the things that cause you grief can actually be overcome by turning to your friends and colleagues. Today began with a staff meeting and we had a problem that we did not have a solution to; we had 5 staff wanting a leave for Thursday and Friday when we only had 3 subs available and 5 leaves already approved! Staff came through though; the suggestion came to have a culture day on Friday which would allow us to easily combine groups of students and cover them with appropriate supervision. Problem solved; meeting planned and leaves granted!!!

I still had another problem to contend with though as I have a teacher out on sick leave for perhaps as long as 9 weeks. I have no qualified teacher to take a term contract and no one to plan lessons for the class. I spent an hour today trying to find work we could give to the group and I was beginning to think I would have to take the group over, but again a staff member came to the solution. She would take the kids,the sub, and tutor from the other class and incorporate them with her own! Problem solved! Boy I owe that lady some Mars bars - her favourite!

The good in people surrounds us; we just don't always take the time to see it for what it is!!! It makes me appreciate the team I work alongside with and it makes me realize that together we are so much stronger than when we work in isolation.

I met with a student taking an online class today and he was feeling down. He was feeling overwhelmed by his online class, his motivation was low, and he was talking about dropping the class and picking it up in second semester. I smiled as he talked and I confessed to him that I had been having similar concerns; I admitted that I hadn't been able to support the learners the way I had hoped I would be able to and that I had another idea that was going through my mind. I plan to talk to high school teachers tomorrow about taking an interest in one online student; I would want them to check with the student frequently and be a go to person when the student is having a difficulty. I also suggested that he had to set a goal of completing one activity a day. I shared with him my belief that because the student can see the whole pie (all the class work) that he wants to eat it all at once. I suggested that if he were only shown one piece at a time it would be easier. I then helped him with one assignment and he agreed that it would be helpful to limit himself on how much he tries to to take on a day. I ended our session by showing him a Youtube video on Dalton Sherman called "Do you believe in me?" which can be found at When he left, I marvelled over the maturity I now see in him and I thought briefly about the challenging student he had been a couple of years earlier.

The work of teachers is often overlooked by those who think poorly of the profession; however, when you see first hand the impact teaching and teachers can have on individuals, you realize just how important a single meeting between a teacher and a student can be. Teachers are life changers; all this on just another day!

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