Friday, March 2, 2012

When Things Get Quiet - Looking for Positives in Not So Positive Times

If you've been following this blog you'll know that when things get quiet, it's because I'm struggling with some not so great stuff with my job. Lately it's been the negotiations or more specifically the lack of negotiations between the British Columbia Teacher's Federation (BCTF) and my provincial government.  Things went from bad to ugly in a short period of time.  While it has upset me a lot, this blog hasn't been created to share my political views.  It does however need to be acknowledged that it has affected me.  So as I struggle with a challenging time in BC Public Education I need to find the good that's around me.

Professionally the most important good around me are my students.  I can't express enough how pleased I am with the effort they have put forth this year.  They continue to amaze me with what they are learning.  Several of my students are learning English as an additional language.  For many learning to read and write independently hasn't been easy.  But despite facing challenges ( and for some daily challenges)  they continue to impress me with how hard they work, and how keen they are to figure things out.

I think of one student in particular who joined my classroom just before Christmas barely writing one sentence in her journal.  She is now writing an entire page, with interesting details.  She is keen to share her thinking and stories.  And the best part is she's not the only one like this.  Pretty much my entire class is like this - doing the very best they can.  As their teacher I can't ask for any thing more.

I am also really pleased with the support I've had from the families of my students.  Our biweekly community read continues to be a huge success and time after time it's such a positive experience for everyone involved.  I've received several kind notes from my students' parents.  I've had a lot of positive feedback from the parents of my students.  In this difficult time of job action it's great to know that I've really made an effort to keep the lines of communication between the home and school open, and that most of my students' parents have taken advantage of that.

My class blog has also been another source of happiness.  We have had over 10,000 hits since it was created in August and average about 500 hits a week.  It's been a lot of fun (and work) for me to keep it up to date but I think it will be an incredible keep sake for my students.  It's also a great communication tool for those parents that are unable to come into our classroom. They have a window into it via the blog.  I love that we have visitors from all over the world, and I love that many are commenting on it too.  (That's a request for you to comment on it too!)

My students' blogs also continue to make me smile.  We've had a lot of fun trying to embed different items into them and so they are slowly moving away from just a place to write, and are moving more towards becoming an authentic digital portfolio of their learning.  I still love what they are writing though and I love how completely independent they have become with blogging.  They are keen writers, many writing from home on a regular basis.  I love that!

Beyond my classroom I am really pleased with the people in my Professional Learning Network.  I can't tell you how many back channel conversations I've had on Twitter with some really incredible educators.  There are several of them that have pushed my learning, way beyond where I ever could have imagined going.  And I keep meeting more amazing educators.  Twitter has, by far, been the best thing that has happened to me professionally.  I am very thankful for that.

I'm also happy about the exciting projects I've been involved with.  To begin with my class and I are about to start our fourth and final week of Quad Blogging.  Obviously with job action this week won't be as successful as the past three but it will be fun visiting international blogs.  The primary blog we were visiting this week had an alien rocket land on its school grounds and the children were doing some investigating.  It was quite exciting for my students to check back each day to learn what our blogging friends had discovered.

I've also enrolled my class in a Flat Classroom K-2 Pilot Project - Building Bridges.  The aim of this project is to have classrooms around the world collaborate together to create a project with hopes that we will learn and share with one another.  Our group will be exploring the theme a View From Our Window as well as Making a Meal.  We will be working with students from the USA, and Hong Kong.

There is yet another project that we will be involved with but it's not official yet so I'm not able to share it publicly.  Let's just say things are going to change in our classroom, and only for the better.  It will be an incredible opportunity for me and my students.  Don't worry though when it is finalized I will share.

And of course there is Spring Break.  It begins in a little over a week and after all the stress of job action it will be a much welcomed break.  Plus I have very exciting adventure planned. It is something to look forward to.

As I write at the bottom of all my e-mails, "there is good all around you, you just have to see it".  Thank you for letting me share my good during these challenging times.  I'd love to hear about yours.



  1. This is a great post, Karen! I love how you're remaining positive despite many challenges right now. I know that your students benefit because of how much you care about them and their success.

    Take care! I hope that things get better soon!

    1. Thanks Aviva. Unfortunately I don't think we've seen the end of it, and with a three day walk out planned for this week it's not great. But I'll survive, and hopefully some more good can come out of it. If nothing else we've saved our school district heaps of money by not working for three days. Sad isn't it, once again it's the teachers supporting the system.

  2. Been thinking of you as you face this challenge. Glad to see you blog about it, as well as highlight all the good around you. I love that quote- would be a great one to share my students!

    Enjoy your weekend and find time to relax...

    1. Thanks Celina, I appreciate all your support too. We'll get through this and hopefully we'll see some positive changes in the process. A girl can hope right?

      A huge thank you to you and Aviva for listening to me harp in the back channels of twitter!