Category Archives: schools

Things I’ve Learned as a Supply Teacher

Although I was fortunate enough to have landed two LTO (long term occasional) assignments since becoming an occasional teacher, I’ve learned a few things during my days as an on-call supply teacher too:

Bring something for the headache.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Arrive as early as possible to review the day plan and make sure the resources listed are actually on hand. And to use the washroom.

Don’t forget to pick up the attendance again at lunch.

If you can mispronounce a name, you will.

Count kindergarten children before and after they so much as walk through a door, every time.

Always make sure there are smocks before getting out the paint.

Bring a whistle. And something to write with. And it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own white board markers. Really.

No matter how clear the lesson plans seem to be, the students will ask you a question about the assignment you won’t be able to predict–and probably won’t be able to answer. (Bonus: when you are the classroom teacher, be sure leave explicit instructions. And an answer key where necessary.)

Kids love it when you know Percy and Junie B. and Chester and Babymouse and Raina and Geronimo and…

Even if you have to speak to “that” student over and over again, she’ll still smile and wave and say hello the next time you are in. You should do the same.

Nothing beats a good read aloud.

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Things I Don’t Regret

Before I had kids, there were lots of things I was never going to do. And there were lots of things I was told never to do, or I’d regret it. Ten years into this parenting gig though, the kids seem to be doing all right, so I can tell you there are a number of choices that I don’t regret. Not at all. Here are some of them:

Breastfeeding my infants on demand around the clock. Breastfeeding past infancy. Not forcing them to wean when they weren’t ready. “Encouraging” them to wean when we both were.

Co-sleeping. “They” said we’d never get them out of our bed. “They” were wrong. If anything I regret not doing it sooner.

Rocking them to sleep. Nursing them to sleep. Staying with them until they fell asleep. Letting them nap in my arms, in the swing, in the car. Those years seem so long ago.

Vaccinating.

Picking my babies up when they cried. Carrying my kids as long as I could.

Not potty training. Amazingly, they have been out of diapers for a long, long time, despite the lack of candy or sticker rewards!

Encouraging my kids to take part in different activities. Not pushing them into activities.

Having a child in daycare. Working full time. Having a nanny. Staying home. Being a student-mom. Working part time. Working from home. It’s all good. Honest.

Taking a year of maternity leave. Having my kids three years apart. Taking my preschooler out of daycare while I was on mat leave with BB#2.

Putting my kids in French Immersion.

Not forcing them to do homework in Grade One.

Taking a stroller to Disneyland for my almost-5-year-old. Judge away, at least we had fun!

Spending money on books. Reading to my kids after they could read to themselves.

Letting my kids watch TV and play video games. Not letting my kids watch or play everything their friends are watching or playing.

Giving them choice over their hairstyles.

Staying with them on playdates when they were younger. Letting them walk around the block alone together now that they’re older.

Telling them the proper names for body parts and being honest about where babies come from.

Not being Pinterest-perfect.

Letting them believe in Santa Claus. Not getting into Elf on the Shelf.

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To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate: Is There a Question?

During my BEd studies, I got called out by one of my professors for talking in class. She had made a dismissive comment about people choosing not to vaccinate their children and relying on herd immunity to keep them healthy.

“Not necessarily,” I commented to the pregnant woman beside me, not quite as under my breath as I’d thought.

The professor asked me to explain. I told her that some people felt the vaccines were riskier than the diseases they were meant to prevent. They weren’t necessarily relying on other people to keep their children healthy—they actually accepted that they might get sick, and hoped they would build up natural immunity. It wasn’t simply that they were OK with the rest of us pumping chemicals into our kids so that they didn’t have to.

Being Canadian, she later apologized to me for any offense, and I apologized in return for interrupting her lecture. And we both made it clear that our own children were, in fact, fully immunized.

So why was I defending anti-vaxxers? When my children were born, I had questioned vaccines, or at least the number and frequency of shots they were scheduled to receive. I came into contact, at least online, with other parents who were concerned—not so much about the (now disproven) autism link (though there were some of those), but with the idea of injecting their perfect babies for what they considered treatable illnesses in this age of modern medicine. There was a certain sense in the arguments.

I could also understand questioning standard medical advice. Already as a new mom, I’d learned that doctors aren’t perfect, and don’t always agree. If I had listened to my OB, I would have believed there was no benefit to delayed cord cutting, because she hadn’t heard of it in 2004. If I had listened to the nurses in the hospitals where my sons were born, I wouldn’t have succeeded in breastfeeding. If I had listened to my pediatrician, I never would have breastfed past 6 months, and would have let my baby cry himself to sleep. If I had listened to my family doctor, I would have accepted that my sons’ PFAPA was a series of viruses. Heck, solid feeding guidelines changed by the time my firstborn was 6 months old, and have changed at least once since then! So it was no surprise that some parents weren’t in a hurry to get their babies vaccinated, no questions asked.

In the end, my husband and I did ask questions, and chose to go with our instincts and our doctors’ recommendations (it helped that they were parents of young children themselves and could honestly tell us they’d chosen to vaccinate their babies). But I could still understand that other parents might not make the same choice.

So I find the current anti-anti-vaxxer backlash that I’m witnessing online and in the media quite interesting. I find myself agreeing more and more with the idea that we need to work together to keep ALL children in our society healthy, and that science isn’t evil. As some have pointed out on Twitter, peanut butter is not welcome at schools, so measles shouldn’t be either.

But then again, most years we’ve resisted the hype and chosen not to get the flu shot, and apparently that was a good call this year. So what would I do if it was suddenly made mandatory?

Note: edited to add sixth paragraph, February 7, 2015.

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Filed under babies, birth, breastfeeding, health, in the news, night-time parenting, parenting, periodic fever syndrome, PFAPA, schools

My Kid Just Said (Part 38)

Playing the app Head’s Up. The card is “Road Rage”. Our hints:

“When you’re driving…”

“…someone’s really angry…” [shakes fist]

“…might yell ‘you idiot!’…”

BB#2’s guess?

“Bus driver!”

In case you were wondering what it’s like riding on a school bus these days.

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My Kid Just Said (Part 35)

“I would answer it’s ‘possible’ that ‘Superman will fly through our classroom’, because what if they were filming a Superman movie near the school, and the guy playing Superman came through the window? It could happen.” BB#1, almost 10 years old, while completing his math homework.

It is likely Probability is not going to be his highest report card mark…

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My Kid Just Said (Part 34)

“We had to make a prediction about whether or not the animal in the story would survive, and I said yes, because these guided reading books never end in tragedy.” BB#1, 9.5 years old.

I suspect he’s right about that…

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Things I am SO Over this Winter

I know I am not alone in wanting to see an end to the longest.winter.ever. Here are a few things I will not miss when spring finally arrives:

Endless sweeping of snow-melter salt in the front hall.

Not being able to see over the mountain of snow on my lawn as I back out of my driveway.

The other mountain of snow that used to be my assigned parking spot at work. (Currently taking bets on when it will finally melt. Leaning towards May…)

My winter wardrobe.

Indoor recesses.*

Hands so dry my skin is cracking.

Obsessively checking the forecast for a sign the temperature is starting to rise.

Playing pass the cold germs with my family.

Static cling.

Worrying about what to do with the boys in the perfect storm of husband away on business+buses cancelled+schools still open (read: I have to work but have no way to get my kids to and from school).

Complaining about the cold.

Other people complaining about the cold.

People complaining about people complaining about the cold.

Not being able to complain about the heat.

*These I suspect will continue on as the snow turns to slush, and then the April showers begin. Fun times!

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