Plan A and Plan B

As I write this the working week stretches out in front of me as a blank slate.  I have no days of work lined up as yet and I don’t really know what will be happening.  However I have to plan a few days in advance so that I get things done and I stay in touch with people or else I can end up at home doing not much at all.

So, Plan A for tomorrow is working if I get a call in the morning.  Plan B is taking the boys to school, helping in Eric’s classroom and then making an appearance at the gym hopefully not causing any heart attacks amongst the staff seeing as how they haven’t seen me for so long.  I also predict some ironing and “finishing” work on two different knitting projects.  I’d like to get dinner done ahead of time because Dan is having a swimming lesson but I’ll have to see what is happening.  I’ve also got two after school “coffee dates” organised with colleagues during the week and book club on Friday night for which I gave myself a night off from Little Athletics.

(Just as side note, there is another good reason for not appearing at Little Athletics on Friday night.  Master 6 disgraced himself yesterday afternoon by “mooning” the Under 7 girls while they were together waiting for an event.  Maybe a night off will give people more time to forget!  It is Centre Championship weekend so I will be there on Saturday afternoon anyway.  We have laughed a lot at D’s antics but there have also been some stern words about what is acceptable in mixed (or any) company!)

If I don’t work on the other days I’m going to go around and deliver some more “relief teacher” letters to local schools.  I’m also searching the job sites each day for any new prospects because I’d much rather have weeks that are planned to be full of action rather than facing the great unknown every Sunday night.


Shops With Boys

With dh working full time and playing Bowls twice a week and myself working more and more often it gets harder and harder to avoid doing grocery shopping with the boys.  This is a fairly stressful activity because the boys really don’t like shopping unless it involves either Lego, DS games or Wii games.  But the time had to come.  Both boys have Ian Lillico style homework grids and shopping is generally one of the featured activities.  I always look at it and cringe before looking at something else.  Today I had to bite the bullet and take them with me.  This is how I made it work:

  • Each of us had a list.  Daniel’s list is pictured with my crude pictures to help him with the reading.  Eric’s list involved him going to the deli counter and asking for stuff.  Daniel was very eager to get what was on his list and get out of there and wasn’t all that interested in waiting for Eric and I.
  • We ate first. No one shops well on an empty stomach.
  • We weren’t getting a huge amount of groceries.  I wasn’t game to test them out for too long.
  • I let go of some of the control. Daniel got the bread that we wouldn’t normally get and threw apples and tomatoes into bags with more gusto than what we usually use. Eric pushed the trolley all the way from the shop to the car without hitting any pedestrians or fixtures. And it was ok.

Next time:

  • Longer lists for the boys
  • Have boys involved in writing lists – especially Eric
  • Some “rules” about moving around the shop – running at top speed tends to endanger other shoppers!

But I will do it again now that they have proven themselves somewhat.

Dipping My Toe In

I was in a classroom with an interactive whiteboard today so I thought I’d try finding something on-line to help spice up the lesson I had to do on climate, weather and seasons.  I ended up going with this Australian website but it wasn’t all that engaging for a lively group of Year 4s.  So I’ve got something in my arsenal for next time I’ve been hunting tonight for on-line resources that can be used with IWBs and I’ve saved the sites below to my delicious account so that I can try accessing them at different schools when I have the time.  So far I’ve found a lot for lower primary and not as much for upper primary and I will have to try them at various schools to see if they get through firewalls etc but it is a start.

I’m such a newbie at all of this that I was surprised to find classroom management tools on some sites – timers, weather and date charts etc etc.  There will be so much I can use when I get to have my own class again but for now I’ll just dip my toe into this brave new world and try out a few things when I get the opportunity.

If anyone has something else wonderful to suggest that I could be using or wonderful ideas on utilizing IWBs when relief teaching please let me know in the comments section.

Relief Teaching Mojo

We are in week 6 of term 1 and I seem to have found my place in the world as a relief teacher. As of today I’ve done 7 1/2 days in 4 weeks in 7 different classrooms and today was the first time that I went back to a class that I’d already had and I’m going to have the same class again next Friday. All I need now is for the money to come flooding in. So far out of 7.5 days I’ve only been paid for 1 and that wasn’t even my first day. I’d really like to do more days than what I have been doing to bring the old income up a bit. I’d also like to be more organised to get things done at home on the days I’m not working but it will all come in time.
I’ve got myself organised for whatever the day might bring with a folder for each year level and a folder with a pre-printed report form to fill out and leave for the classroom teacher and a supply of “Happy-grams”. A Happy-gram is a certificate I’ve designed with a big smiley face where I can fill in the student’s name and say that they have worked hard and cooperated really well during the day. So far I’ve used the happy-grams on three days. On the first day I wrote kids’ names on the board as I noticed them doing good things and then added ticks, on the second day I wrote everyone’s name on the board so I wouldn’t miss anyone but I was searching the list for names all day so today I made a quick seating plan after I took the roll and ticked the names on that. This worked the best because the students were very eager to hear an update on how many ticks they had throughout the day. They have all been very nice to the kids that have won the happy-gram so far – giving them a round of applause. I hope that lasts!
I’ve looked for evidence of whatever behaviour management tools the teacher is using in each room I’ve been in and I’ve put what they are doing into practice whenever I can. In most classrooms the “steps” for people who misbehave are up on the wall so it is easy to come in and adopt the system. I’ll have to think about my own system for when there isn’t one evident. Some days have been great as far as behaviour goes and some have been awful but when it is awful it is always comforting to know one is walking out the door at 3:00pm. I can see myself picking up a range of different strategies throughout the year.
I am missing having a class of my own and space of my own to work in and I’m missing the chance to use technology with kids. I guess I need to make it known that technology is my thing and then I may get more opportunities. Many classrooms I’ve been in have had interactive whiteboards but I haven’t done too much with them yet. I’m really keen to learn how to use them because there are so many “off the cuff” things I could be doing using websites which would be engaging for kids.
As for life away from work I have also found my knitting mojo again – that was lost for a few weeks there and I’m onto the second sleeve of Eric’s Lion stripe jumper. I’ve been to a couple of Sunday afternoon knitting covens, one Saturday morning and a couple of Knit and Natter sessions at Threads and More which has helped.
Goals for the short term:

  • Keeping my relief teaching bag stocked up
  • Keeping a supply of clothes ready in case I get a few days in a row
  • Having ideas for meals at least a day ahead
  • Making more use of the crock pot

And for the future:

Finding another full time job that I have a passion for.  It will be teaching in some form but maybe something different to what I’ve been doing.