Thursday, September 27th 2012
*I started writing this post on Thursday, but since then I’ve been insanely busy and haven’t had time to update ’til now.
Today was a planning day at school, which meant no classes (huzzah!) and teachers could take a day to organize, plan, collaborate, de-stress, and do many other things. One thing that I have quickly learned is that there is never enough time – especially for someone like me who is brand-new and who naturally works at a snail’s pace. Thankfully, I haven’t been stressed out yet – I try to finish all my work at school so I don’t need to take anything home with me. I think that makes a huge difference – separating your work and home. And although I usually don’t get home until 8 o’clock, I find that the two hours or so I have after work is enough to help me unwind and, well, keep me sane. I have been reading a good book or watching a couple episodes of my favourite shows and that seems to be doing the trick! I thank God that I haven’t been losing sleep and that I feel well rested each morning. I guess, we’ll see what happens when it’s report card time!
Anyway, so back to planning day! I took half the day off so I could travel (with another colleague) to the Beginning Teachers Conference in Edmonton. It was a very beautiful day today and we had 3.5 hours of conversation about school, family, and random things – it really made the trip go by quickly! When we arrived, we checked in at our hotel, had dinner at a piano bar, and then proceeded to the conference.
There were so many teachers tonight! 660 to be exact, from all over Alberta in every school division. We were given a welcome package, name tags, and a couple of other goodies. After the president of the ATA gave her welcome speech and a very entertaining veteran teacher’s advice for us new teachers, we had a wine and cheese and got to mingle with other teachers from all over the province. After a glass of wine and multiple cubes of cheese (I love cheese), I took the elevator up to my hotel room and slept like an infant (until I started coughing – you see, I am still recovering from the abominable cold and I now have post-nasal drip. So I took cough medicine in the middle of the night. This is irrelevant, but I just thought you might want to know how my night really was.).
Friday, September 28th 2012
The best part about this conference was the food. The workshops and talks were really good, but after weeks of living with my home-cooked blandness, the breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets were quite spectacular. So after everyone had eaten, we went off to the workshops that we scheduled ourselves in. Every teacher was given a list of workshops and we can only choose three per day to go to. It was difficult to choose, but in the end, I opted for 1) Differentiated Instruction (Secondary) 2) Winning Strategies for Struggling Students and 3) Assessment for Secondary School. That morning was especially great because I ran into one of my classmates from university! We had spent nearly 3 years taking the same courses together and didn’t really get to know each other until we were in the Ed. Faculty. She is one of those girls that you always look forward to seeing again.
The rest of the day was pretty enlightening. But I’d have to say the highlight of my entire weekend was Friday night because I got to meet up with one of my best friends who happens to be studying law at the university. We had dinner together and talked for ages about school and law school and God and people and life – everything! It was a very special talk that we hadn’t had in a while. That was what re-energized me and what restored me. I often feel drained when I am around people for too long, but with certain people, they do the exact opposite.
Saturday, September 29th 2012
Last day of the conference! I had the last amazing breakfast that I will have in a long time and attended three more workshops: 1) Tips and Tricks for Middle School Teachers 2) En Français – c’est possible! (which didn’t really help me because it was actually only for French immersion or Francophone teachers), 3) Web Tools for the Interactive Classroom (awesome!). Before I knew it, the conference was over and I was back in my colleague’s pick-up truck and we were on our way back to the north.
I am very thankful for this weekend. Not only did it help me develop as a professional, but the people I spent time with, even if it was just a couple of hours, made it unforgettable.