Weekend Coffee Share: Better Late Than Never

If we were having coffee, I would apologise for meeting up with you so late. My weekend routine was thrown off a little so I did not get to blog like I usually do on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week was very busy. I completed all the assessments of my students. They got into the habit of working quietly while I worked with each person at a time. We are now almost done all the activities that I have planned for the year and so the pressure on me has eased a little. The last few days have been beautiful – warm and sunny. Today, though, I see it has reverted back to being dull and grey. I hope it doesn’t last long as days of indoor recess are not fun!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week we had the staff appreciation lunch at our school. For this lunch, parents organise a hot meal for us to thank us for all the hard work that we do for their children during the year. I love it – not only the meal itself but that we take a short time out and eat lunch together. The parents also make the setting in the library as beautiful as they can. The flowers always look so pretty.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Friday was a PA day during which I wrote the report cards. I had already done some work on them and I planned to sit in my chair until I got them done. I arrived at school at 8am and got them done by 1:30pm. It is amazing how much work you can do with a little determination and no distractions. I came home exhausted and spent the rest of the afternoon reading.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my practical exam to be a group fitness instructor was on Saturday afternoon. I was nervous even though I had being practicing for hours over the last few months. All my friends made it to the exam and I went in with their encouragement at my side. It was good to see their well-known faces while I was teaching them and their support helped me complete the session. I was nervous for the results as I knew I had made some mistakes (practical exams are not my forte). After my session, the instructor made some comments that made me worried that I had not passed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got an email Saturday evening telling me that I had passed! I could not believe it! Her comments and suggestions for improvement are valid and I have something to work on in order to improve. Now I have to decide what to do with this certification. Going through the process has been quite a learning curve for me and I am glad I did it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I now need to get ready for work. Enjoy your day and let’s have coffee next week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

A Classroom Tradition

A tradition that I began a couple of years back in my classroom during December is the visits of the Elf on the Shelf. I begin by reading the story and the next day Jean-Jean, the class elf, visits. There are times when he can be silly, and times when his curiosity gets the better of him.

This year I had to place him in high positions as a few boys in my class wanted to touch him (they are told in the story that touching him takes away his magic). As a result, this year we did not catch him painting or doing silly things with classroom supplies. I did like the fact, though, that he did a little reading in the classroom 🙂

Do you participate in the Elf on the Shelf tradition?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge, Square in December. This month we are posting pictures featuring time.)

Weekend Coffee Share: First Week Back

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would tell that that the temperature has dropped suddenly by 10 degrees celsius. During the past week it was extremely hot and humid – on Wednesday it was unbearable to be outside at midday. I was lucky, though, as the academic school year had begun and I have air conditioning in my room.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that after the Labour Day holiday on Monday, I met my new group of students for this year. My group consists of fourteen grade 1 students and six grade 2 students. As expected, they were very quiet the first two days. By Friday, however, they were comfortable enough during the activity time to be extremely chatty – now they need to learn to whisper when they are chatting!

The first four days back at school went well. I am still establishing routines and expected behaviours. As each day passes I am getting to know my students and soon I will know what their needs are. I am currently still setting up their notebooks and folders while keeping up with the daily tasks of my job. As always, there are deadlines at this time of year and I will check them off one by one. Each day I have arrived home exhausted – a person forgets how exhausting establishing habits can be.

The First Week Back © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Yesterday when I locked my classroom door, the room had begun to take on the artistry of the students in my classroom. Bit by bit the walls will look less bare and reflect the children that inhabit it during the day.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that now my weekends will reflect the routines of the school year as well: laundry, grocery shopping, household chores and, of course, Zumba.

I wish you a wonderful week. May it be a positive one.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: I am Back!

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am back from our family vacation – and have been for a week. We arrived last week Sunday in the early evening. We were exhausted from the trip and glad to be back home. We had spend some solid family time together in Paris and we had loved every minute of it. But we were tired – we had done a LOT of walking! At the end of the day on Sunday, my husband and I lay our heads down on our pillows with a sigh of pleasure. We had missed sleeping in our own bed covered by our own duvet.

Our family vacation in Paris was wonderful and I enjoyed walking the streets of this fair city after 29 years. Little things had changed, but so many things were the same. I enjoyed seeing things like the Eiffel Tower again, and remembering the walks I had taken down the Champs Élysées. It was a treat to see the paintings by Monet and Renoir again, as well as the painting of Napoleon’s coronation at the Louvre. The best thing for me about the vacation, however, was spending quality time with my family. Unlike when we went on holiday at a resort, the five of us were together all of the time. Eating together three times a day, we had the opportunity to talk a lot. Many meals were picnic-like , though we did treat ourselves a number of times at a restaurant.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that during the past week I attended a teacher’s workshop – even though I was not fully recovered from our vacation. The workshop was centred on Math for the K-2 grades. Even though I already knew most of what the presenters spoke about, I did learn a few nuggets that I will implement in my classroom this year. It is important, I feel, to keep on learning and to work on improving my teaching practice. In this way, I prevent boredom from setting in – and I figure out ways to reach all of the students in my class.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that right now it is HOT. All I want to do is sit in front of the fans and read / watch Netflix. I have a number of books that I still want to read before I go back to school and have placed them on the table next to the bed. Our vacation in Paris meant that I did not have much opportunity to read in July as we had spent a lot of time sight seeing. I intend to play catch up during the month of August.

If we were having coffee (of course, iced), I would tell you that my plan for the forthcoming week is to do a little bit of tidying up in our place (if it is not too hot). I like the place to be cleaned from top to bottom before the school year starts as I do not have much chance to do so during the school year. I also plan to read, and to catch up on my book reviews – I have a number to do for the month of July. It is only a couple of weeks left before I begin to get ready for the new school year.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful week. And if you are like me and live in Ontario, Canada enjoy the public holiday tomorrow.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Day 19: An Honor to Serve

I enjoy what I do. To me, my work is more than just a job: I find it to be a pleasure and an honour. I have been entrusted with the care of young children by both the parents and the school board and currently have 20 young minds in my class. Within my hands I have the power to build and develop these children’s persona and learning skills. I do not take my task lightly as I know how fragile a child’s self-esteem and confidence are: they can easily be destroyed with careless words and thoughtless actions.

I do not look to receive any outward manifestations for the work that I do. No badges, no ribbons, no trophies nor accolades. Seeing the children improve in their skills over the months and watching them develop their self-confidence is enough of a reward for me. As is knowing that I have done the best job that I can do.

photo (52)© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt: honour)

Missed a post? Click here to read all my memoirs for the series titled Blackboard Scribbles.

Day 12: Unpredictable Days

While teaching I have experienced many predictable days – especially once the class has found its rhythm and the days seem to move forward on their own. There are, however, unpredictable days in which the students do not behave as you would expect them to. Days in which, for no apparent reason, the children are over-excited or restless. Days in which, no matter how hard you try, you cannot get the class interested in what you have planned.

When I taught at the high school in South Africa, the reason often became apparent after a class discussion. I remember students expressing fear for their safety on their journey home – or even fear that their home and belongings would be destroyed while they were at school. Now that I teach younger children, I find that the reason is easier to decipher: excitement cannot be contained if there is a special event at school; warmer days seem to bring out the restless energy in them; and a snowfall brings unbearable excitement.

Unpredictabe days are not frrequent, however, at the school I currently teach. Instead once the first stormy weeks of settling in are over and a routine is established, the days move along with a predictability I find comforting.

photo (52)© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt: stormy)

Missed a post? Click here to read all my memoirs for the series titled Blackboard Scribbles.

Day 5: At Home

My first weeks of teaching at Qhakaza in Johannesburg were invigorating – and yet tiring. I felt the same emotions when I began teaching inToronto: happy to be back working with children but exhausted at the end of the day. No matter what grade I have taught, nor in which country, one constant has remained the same. On entering my home, I take off my shoes, make myself a drink, and spend some quiet time alone.

Home has become the sanctuary where I relax and recharge my energy. Working with children, no matter what their age, does take plenty of my energy. As a teacher, I give of myself to my students the entire day: to ensure that work is being done and is understood, I am on my feet. At times squabbles need to be dealt with, or direction needs to be given.

Home time gives me the opportunity to think on how I will present a lesson to my class. I also think of activities I can do with them – and take the time to create them. Making games is possible with my computer, a colour printer, scissors and glue. Often I am sitting with my feet up cutting or colouring. Yes, being a teacher gives me the freedom to be creative and to do things that children enjoy.

The proximity of my family, a delicious meal at the end of the day, and a good night’s sleep. All of these things enable me to arrive at work the next day recharged and ready to begin my day.

photo (52)© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt: home)

Missed a post? Click here to read all my memoirs for the series titled Blackboard Scribbles.