Courtney Langton

Courtney is an aspiring high school teacher. Her teachables are History and English, but she's happy to teach anything that doesn't involve numbers or formulas. Her particular interest is in promoting gender equity and anti-oppression both in and outside the classroom. She writes a detailed To-Do list every morning, and enjoys nothing more than a good book and a plate of bacon on a rainy Saturday.

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan's primary interest is moral education. His teachable subjects are English and Music. He encourages critical thinking and hopes to teach his students to recognize, and strive for, what is truly important to them without forgetting to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded along the way. He likes making analogies and his favourite is one that compares life to jumping on a trampoline.

LINKS: Blogger
Canadian Chalkboard
Coffee, Calculations and Colombia!
Progressively Unnecessary
TeacHer Finance
It's Not All Flowers and Sausages
So You Want To Teach?
Classroom Confessions
Teach Hub
Web English Teacher
Blogging the Renaissance

ARCHIVES: June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 March 2010

Why we keep this blog going, despite all the chaos of school
Monday, January 18, 2010

What It Takes To Become A Great Teacher by Susan Engel

Finally, young teachers need to be in serious conversation with other smart talented teachers. Most schools leave almost no time for open ended discussion about education, and most teachers have no precedent for initiating such conversations. A new teacher who makes conversation about learning and teaching a priority will be much better prepared than the one who knows four different ways to organize a lesson plan book. But this is a complex habit, and one that takes deliberate effort to acquire, and should be actively cultivated during training.

Courtney posted at 10:21 AM - Comments (0)

And all that shimmers in this world is sure to fade...
Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's been awhile since we've posted. I know, that's sorta how we preface every post. We're really sorry. But the good news is that we haven't posted because there's been such a comical amount of stuff happening that's kept us constantly busy and bewildered as we enter the "Job Hunt" phase of our year.

You see, for the first semester of Education, we were all told to focus on doing well on prac and to leave the worrying about the future until second semester. Well, second semester has officially arrived and with it, said worrying. We had a special day last week that involved a slew of school boards coming to Queen's and telling us that there were no jobs. Basically. From what I was able to absorb, the day was primarily centered around 4 things:

1. Applying to the Ontario College of Teachers
Basically, this involves paying hundreds (yes, hundreds) of dollars after we graduate in order to be granted a certificate by the OCT just to be allowed to apply for teaching jobs that don't exist.

2. There are no jobs in Ontario
See Above. Every school board presentation I went to informed me that my chances of getting a job in that particular school board were bad to even worse. Some boards like York Region tried to make us feel better about the fact that only 30% of us will get hired. Other boards tried to make us feel worse.

3. There are plenty of jobs if you're willing to work overseas
Ontario seems to have a mysterious abundance of teachers - especially those that apparently like marking English essays (we are a masochistic bunch). Teachers in other countries seem to understand that there is an improper workload-to-money ratio in this profession. This is usually offset by the understanding that the job is intrinsically rewarding and that we are making a difference in the lives of our future generation. Apparently, we are a youth-loving nation. We're also Canadian.

4. There was something else here I forgot
In its place, I'd also just like to mention that none of the above really came as surprise to any of us. But at the same time, I try not to worry too much about it. I probably should (be worrying) but I figured it's hard to predict the future and all I have control over is what I do at the faculty of Ed. and how I do while I'm on prac. So far, both ventures have proven to be fairly successful. Does that success necessarily translate into the future? Of course not. But I figured it can't hurt to hope.

Being an education is one of those careers where getting yourself to the starting line is almost as hard as the actual race itself. First, you gotta decide that you want to become a teacher and then apply to get into the program (easier if you do it through Con-Ed, though it means you have to decide early). Then you have to make it through the program without losing your desire to teach (no small matter in itself). And then in the end, if you do decide that teaching is the right profession for you, you have to get a job in an incredibly thin market.

Mom wanted a doctor in the family. But would I listen? Nooooooooooooo

Labels: , , ,

Jonathan posted at 5:15 PM - Comments (0)

Your well-being = your students' well-being
Sunday, January 3, 2010

This blog, as you may guess from the giant, shiny apple graphic at the top of the site (and accompanying description), is devoted exclusively to the discussion of teaching-related issues. When we mention anything about our personal lives, it's always in the context of teaching.

Naturally, this isn't the right blog to be chronicling my New Year's resolutions, right? Well, I thought about it, and I realized that any resolution or goal or decision I make in the hopes of becoming an all-around better person is not only relevant to my teaching career, but crucial to it.

Though most teachers see the year as going from September-August, it's really helpful for us to take a hint from those who follow the traditional January-December calendar and re-evaluate our lives at the outset of the new year. By doing this, we stay on top of goals that may have slipped a bit and get a handle on them before it's too late. We can also decide which September aims may not be attainable, and swap them for resolutions slightly more grounded in the real world.

It's a good idea to have several goals, each pertaining to one aspect of your life. That being said, you want to keep your list fairly small. I've seen people with upwards of 15 resolutions-- if you can't count them on one hand, you'll never attain them!

So, without further ado, my resolutions:

1. Health, Wellness & Stress Management: Go to hot yoga every Thursday night for 6 weeks. Ok, I would love to say "I'm gonna go to the gym every day for the rest of the year!" but let me tell you, that is NOT happening. I know I need to exercise to prevent my stress from overtaking me and to keep colds and flu at bay in time for the third round of practicum, but if I give myself too lofty a goal, I know I'll be back to doing diddly squat before I hit week #2. So one night a week of a fun, affordable, stress-busting activity is what I'm promising myself.

2. Personal Relationships: Wear comfortable but flattering clothes at home and on weekends.  I so wish I could resolve to see all of my close friends at least once a month, or to write long, detailed emails and have phone dates that last hours-- but again, not very realistic given that I've only got 4 more months to complete my B.Ed and, you know, get hired and stuff. So I'll save my keeping in touch with friends resolution for 2011 and stick to something deceptively simple. So, my boyfriend doesn't give a rat's tail about what I wear, but I do think he might appreciate it if I let him wear his own clothes once in awhile. Instead of changing into men's baggy sweats and hoodies when I'm not teaching, I've got a cute collection of women's yoga pants and fitted sweatshirts all ready for my leisure time in 2010. Again, not something that takes much thought, but I think my boyfriend AND the old ladies we see in the grocery store will appreciate my more mature approach to casual fashion. This will be especially important once I have a job, since I will not only be seeing little old ladies at the grocery store, but students and parents as well. 

3. Finances: Stick to the grocery list. I've got a pretty tight budget as I cope with some of the costs incurred by commuting last semester, so I'm trying to cut corners anywhere I can. I want to stick to my budget, obviously, but the most annoying bad money habit I have is grabbing things I don't need in the grocery store. Instead of snatching up (usually unhealthy) foods on impulse, I'm going to follow my list religiously and avoid spending too much on things I don't need. And not having to worry about money frees up a ton of energy that I can then use to create creative, original material for my lesson plans. 

4. Teaching Skills and Job Acquisition: Keep in touch with important contacts. Jon has talked about this before-- as we enter the application and interview stage of our B.Ed year, we're starting to need more reference letters and phone numbers than ever before. It's always good to be able to tailor your references to the position and to use the best possible references in every situation, so I'd like to make sure I have all my mentor-ducks in a row. I'm definitely hoping that by giving them some advanced warning, I'll be better able to secure those letters in time for the deadlines. 

Have you made New Year's resolutions for 2010? Have you noticed that your personal well-being (or lack thereof) affects your students? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Labels: , ,

Courtney posted at 12:05 AM - Comments (0)