Something Old, Something New

This year a student has been placed in my class who has in the past exhibited violent behaviour towards her classmates as well as the adults in the room. In order to prepare me for dealing with her, my principal sent me on a workshop yesterday to learn a way in which to deal with the child if she has a violent episode. The CPI training focuses on nonviolent crisis intervention and has, at its core, the safety of all the people in the room.

As a teacher what you want is to prevent the child’s behaviour from escalating. We were reminded of signs that we, as people who work with children daily, already know. She showed us an interesting video to remind us of the importance of non-verbal cues:

The instructor mentioned some techniques that can be used to calm a child down: holding a hand, a stroking, or even giving a hug. I could not help but notice the irony of this as when I was first hired with the board, we were told not to touch the children under any circumstances. I do prefer the message given yesterday as it acknowledges the healing power of touch and how we, as humans, crave the touch of others.

In the afternoon, we were introduced to ways in which to deflect the violence aimed at our bodies. We were also given permission to move away and remove ourselves from the situation that could harm ourselves. We were shown holds to contain a child if necessary – holds that are to be used as a last resort. We practiced them for a while. I do feel, however, that I need to practice it some more. And I hope I never have to use them!

I found it interesting to speak to the other participants at the workshop who are all special education teachers. Their job is to deal with a group of children every day who may display violence. They are accepting of this part of the job and seem adept at dealing with it. I could not help but think as I was speaking to some of them that the CPI training is what an ordinary classroom teacher like me needs as not all children who display violent tendencies have had their behaviour officially documented (especially in the younger grades).

Yesterday was an interesting day. I was reminded of things that I already new; and learned a few new things. Hopefully the CPI training will help me cope with a volatile child in my classroom.

What are your thoughts on non-verbal cues?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

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Weekend Coffee Share: First Week Back At School

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was my first week back at school. On Tuesday, after the Labour Day weekend, I had met all of my students by 9am. Thankfully there were only a few tears as most of the children knew me by sight even though had had not already been in my classroom. Most of my class this year are grade 2s (16 students of the 20) and I had interacted with some of them last year in the hallways.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week flew by quickly. I had a lot to do – and the upcoming week will be no different. September is filled with deadlines and I like to get it all done as quickly as possible – before I know it, the time to work on the progress reports will arrive.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my class is settling in nicely. I am slowly getting to know them; and they are slowly getting to know the routines of the class. Time will tell what I need to focus on this year as I get to know their needs and what it is that they enjoy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I have the sniffles. I was not completely over my summer cold when work started up again and my body is reminding me of this. I have spent the weekend resting a bit in between my chores and I am hoping that I will feel in top form tomorrow.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday afternoon I spent some time with my weekend read: A Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. This is a fantasy novel that is all over Instagram at the moment as readers are posting extremely positive views of it. I decided to read it as fantasy fiction is my favourite. And I can say that so far the writing is excellent!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that supper is ready to be served. My husband knows the way to my heart (read yesterday’s SoCS post to understand this comment more). 🙂

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)

Cover Photo

Last week when I came home from a day’s outing, I saw that the magazine for OCTs (Ontario Certified Teacher) had arrived. I could not help but smile at the photo on the cover.

Karen Murray is one of the people who spoke at many events that I attended when I began working for the TDSB (Toronto District School Board). She is extremely knowledgeable and is so inspiring. It definitely made me smile to see that she has been recognised in the teacher’s magazine.

What has made you smile this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Weekend Coffee Share: The End of June

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I cannot believe that June is over – and that we are already halfway through 2019! It is also the end of the school year and we are now officially on Summer Break. I am definitely thankful for it as I am feeling exhausted and I am looking forward to the rest. Now that we are on break, I can sleep late (once my body clock has adjusted), read, potter around our home, meet with friends, and basically recharge my batteries.

The last week of school was laid back but also tiring. I completed certain tasks with the children and we spent quite a bit of time outside as well as tidying up the classroom. The tiring part, for me, was the tidying up. By the end of Friday, though, everything was put away so that the caretakers can clean over the summer. As I locked the door on Friday, I was satisfied that I had done everything that I was expected to do. The space looked empty and bare – and it was a little sad to think that my time with this year’s group of children was over. Over the next few days, I will reflect a little on the past school year and think back on some good moments. The flowers gifted to me by the parents will help with this. There will come a time, though, when I will start thinking of my future students and what I can do to encourage their learning.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spend quite a bit of time reading during the last weekend of June – and sleeping! I am still feeling tired but I am sure that will eventually pass. The weather has also suddenly become summer-like with hot temperatures. This type of weather definitely makes me sleepy. Any exercise or housework I want to do, needs to be done before the heat prevents me from moving too much. The humid weather during the summer is definitely not my favourite.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today is a public holiday. To be precise, it is Canada Day – a day that has been set aside to celebrate the day Canada became a united country. When walking the streets, we will see a lot of red today. 😀

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am now to get ready to celebrate the country’s holiday. I wish you a wonderful week and we will catch up next weekend.

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)

Grateful For Flowers

Yesterday I received a beautiful gift of flowers from the parents as a thank you for the work I have done with the children during the year. As I looked at the predominantly purple flowers (my student knows me well!), I could not help but smile at the beauty of the bouquet.

While I spent time arranging the flowers in vases yesterday afternoon, I could not help but be grateful for the gift. Not only do the flowers brighten up my living room, they are also a reminder to me that the parents appreciate the work that I have done with their children.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection. You are welcome to join in and share your post in the comments.)

Thank You Card

It is nearing the end of the school year and yesterday morning I received one of my first thank you cards. The card was drawn by my student and shows his sense of humour.

I love the card as well as the gift card to the book store that was placed inside the envelope. A beautiful card and the chance to choose a new book. Definitely something to smile about!

What has made you to smile during the last week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Weekend Coffee Share: Almost There

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am loving the warmer weather. Yes, it has finally arrived and we can step outside in our short sleeves and sandals. The temperatures have risen – but not too much – and the rain has stopped. It is perfect for the last days of school.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that things are definitely wrapping up at school. During the past week, I started sending home the children’s work and the room is already looking emptier. This week I aim to spend my time tidying my classroom and putting things away for the summer. The children are enjoying the small amount of time they spend working and I am taking them outside for more play, as well as giving them the opportunity to play with the blocks that I have in the classroom.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Friday we released the butterflies to go forth and pollinate. I allowed the children to take the butterflies out of the terrarium – they were thrilled to hold them in their hands. It takes a while for the insects to realise that they can fly free so they stay for quite a while on the children’s hands.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we had a school-wide assembly on Wednesday to say goodbye to our office administrators – both of them are leaving at the end of this school year to retire. We will miss them dearly as they have been an integral part of the school for more than 20 years.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had an unexpected treat on Tuesday – I got to have coffee with a dear friend of mine whom I don’t see too often. We intended to chat about a book we read together, but got side-tracked with catching up! 😀

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am feeling exhausted – so much so that I fell asleep on Saturday and missed my Zumba class! 😦 It is near my summer break though and I am sure that this week will go by quickly. It will be sad to say goodbye to the students I have had for this past year but that is a part of teaching.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful week. I know mine is going to be filled with endings and good-byes.

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: Zumba Routine and a Book Launch

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is a lovely day outside today. The sun is shining, the air is warm, and the feel of spring is in the air. Yesterday it was a bit windy and a little overcast, but I still enjoyed my afternoon walk (luckily the rain held off).

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I tried a new Zumba class yesterday afternoon. I decided to extend the exercise and walk instead of take the bus (hence my enjoyment of the mild day). The class was fun and I enjoyed the vibe in the room. I will definitely attend her classes more often! It was also fun to see familiar faces in the room as so many people were there who go the class I attend on Mondays.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have started attending the Monday Zumba classes again now that my practical exam is over. No longer do I have to frantically practise choreography to make sure I make no mistakes during the assessment. Inn addition, my practice session with my colleagues this week was more relaxed and, as such, I made less mistakes. Something is to be said to being examined in an authentic environment!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Tuesday last week, I met up with a dear friend of mine and we went to the book launch of a local author. I loved that my friend and I took the opportunity to meet and to do something book-related. We both love reading and immersing ourselves in the stories created by others, and this event was a treat. It was the first my friend had attended and I am pleased to say that it will not be the last! If you want to read more on the event, head on over to my blog post for more detail.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the student who won the auction for the fund-raiser at our school was Teacher of the Day on Friday. He was so excited to take on the task and loved being able to choose what the class was to do. The first thing he did was say no “cahier jaune” (which is the French writing/grammar practice page that they do every morning as they enter the room). He chose to watch some Raptor’s highlights (whose victory was celebrated at the school), and to do Just Dance (with him choosing his favourite songs to dance to). Outdoor play was included in the day, as well as playing with the lego and blocks. Another highlight was him and his friend going out for lunch with me. Definitely enjoyable to hear the boys chatter and enjoy their time out with me. He was serious about his job and helped children as they completed the previous days tasks; and insisted on helping me with some marking. 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my daughters’ and I are now going to finish up with our plans for Father’s Day. If you are a Dad celebrating this day with your family, enjoy it – I hope you are showered with love. It is a day on which I think of my own Dad who is, unfortunately, no longer of this earth. But I smile when thinking of him as I imagine him here with me.

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)

Staff Appreciation Lunch

Last week Wednesday, the parent council at our school organised the annual staff appreciation lunch. Each year we gather in the library at lunch time and eat the hot lunch that the parents have organised for us. The food is always delicious, and the chats at each table enjoyable. It is not often that the staff as a whole get together to eat. The atmosphere was relaxed in spite of the work waiting for us in the classrooms.

The lunch was definitely something to smile about last week. 🙂

What caused you to smile last week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Weekend Coffee Share: Reading and Things

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday was the perfect day weather-wise. This morning was a bit chilly but at least the sun is shining. We are so ready for the warmer weather! The kids too – the weather has been perfect to take them outside to play, and they have eagerly gone outside for longer recess breaks. We have been stuck inside for too long and are now eager for days to take in some sun and feel the warmth of the sun on our bare limbs.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last Sunday I took part in the readathon organised by the folks at Harper Collins Canada. I spent the day reading along with others online and taking part in the prompts and discussions on social media. It was such fun to connect with other readers and to see their response to the prompts. Even though I did not finish my novel ( a 400 page historical fiction), I put a serious dent into it. If you want to read more about the event and have a look at my photos, you can go here to see the post.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week has been one filled with assessments at school. I have been testing the children in one area of the curriculum every day as this week as I need to begin writing the report cards. It is a stressful time for us at school and one that I look forward to ending. Once the report cards are done, the atmosphere at school will definitely be more relaxed. In addition, my planned tasks for the year with the children are almost done and then we can move onto more fun things.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have also been practicing for my practical exam which will take place next Saturday. The exam is the final step towards my becoming a group fitness instructor and once that is done, I will have completed one of my New Year Resolutions 😀

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I cannot believe that it is already June – the months seem to have flown by! This month will fly by too – before I know it, the school year will be over, and my youngest will have graduated from high school. But until then, I will enjoy the passing of days. Enjoy the rest of the weekend, have a wonderful week, and speak to you next Sunday.

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)