I don’t want to bore people with talk of group work, school projects and Building Futures Workshops but a few too many days have passed without posting something so I’m thinking if this doesn't happen now, who knows how long you will have to suffer through a life with Teacher Bert posts. As usual, I will try to keep this short.
School is fun. I’m not a scientist but learning might be good for you. There are always things to be doing, books to read and assignments to tackle. We’ve made lava lamps, paper airplanes and other high level thinking projects. Going to school and learning that you will actually take into the real world is a much more enriching experience than learning about sedimentary rocks or Shakespeare. I go into my first real Canadian class for a day on Friday where I will be shadowing one of my professors and making a lesson plan out of the book “Love You Forever”. There are about 37ish people in my class; 32 of them I think are girls. I’d like a refund.
A few weeks ago, our Math class went into an English school on the Quebec side to do a Math workshop with some elementary school kids. Let’s start by saying that I’m not a Math savant. To say the least. Before going into the school, we do the Math problems that we will be showing the kids as a group then teaching them the next week. We had three problems but probably wouldn’t have enough time to complete all three with the students the following week. One of the problems was called Jumping Chips. You need to get the colours from one side to switch with the colours from the other side without jumping the same color and yellow can only go right and red can only go left.
This took a bit of time for the class to figure out but it’s a good Math problem that focuses on problem solving and patterning. So I study the problems to make sure I understand them, show up to school the next week and get assigned 3 kids for 45 minutes. 3 kids for 45 minutes? Easy. No. Problem. I tell them about my teaching experience and introduce the problems. First problem gets solved easily then it’s time for some Jumping Chips. To make a long story short, the kids were struggling with it and within 15 minutes I made one of them cry. Not a little cry, like a Bert crying in New Zealand cry. I’ve made students cry before so this didn’t really faze me but it’s the fact that I could understand how he felt feeling defeated by Math and feeling not smart made me feel horrible. He essentially felt worse off about Math after spending 45 minutes with me. After the class, a head teacher at the school informed me that he has a learning problem and not to take it personally. This would be the point where I would be honest and say that talking to that teacher about having difficulty with that student made me cry in front of her because I felt that I did a bad job as a teacher. But that would mean admitting for the second time that I've cried and I don’t think I’m comfortable sharing a second Bert being sad story so I will leave that out.
This was my first Thanksgiving in three years and in the spirit of giving thanks, I’m extremely thankful for my adorable nephew Ben, all of my other nieces and nephews for that matter but he’s the baby so he’s allowed to be the favourite. I’m thankful to be in school, to feel like I’m making progress in life, that being Canadian is a pretty great setup and feeling life is only going to get better. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and thanks again for letting me take up a part of your day.
“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get” Frank W. Clark