Thursday, February 15, 2007

Teacher Supervision

Another interesting thought came to me today when I was conducting a teacher supervision… related to professional development. I feel that this experience is one of the best types of pd, and the sad part of this is that only administrators get to benefit from this process. I have observed many competent teachers, and during this process I have reflected on my own practices. I think to myself, “Do I do that? Should I try this?” Today, I thought that why couldn’t we ask teachers to select/partner up with one other staff member and ask them to do a “supervision” of each other. They would not have to submit their evaluations to anyone, just perhaps a record-taking process. That process should include observations followed with discourse, and I think that if they could select their partner(s) they could gain a tremendous amount of insight, ideas and support. This could be a way to build a staff as a team….
Just an idea, perhaps a crazy one…

Trying To Encourage PD and Change...

After having a few more discussions with colleagues regarding changing teacher practice and philosophy over the past week, I really think that professional development must be required to maintain professional status and the time for this need to be incorporated into the regular school day. Educators are busy and most of them will not create the time to develop and reflect. I think that they feel this may be important, but they probably don’t feel that they have the time and the energy “at this point in their in their life’.

The school day could be structured differently: the school could commence at 8:00 am – students at school from 8:30 – 4:30 or 5:00; teachers could work until 5:00 with 3 hours working time built into their day. Some of this time should be devoted to professional development, perhaps 5hours/week and the rest of the time – 10 hours for preparation… The younger students 5 – 14 could be at school for the entire time if needed/wanted by families, because many of the older students are roaming the streets until parents get off of work. Time for structured play, educational movies, reading time (hour at a time for 10-14 year olds) exercise, and homework… could be built into this day. Teachers would be encouraged to only work at school, so that they can have more “normal” working lives. I have often felt that one of the reasons that teachers do not want to add PD to their lives is because they are so used to working at home. The thought of adding more work to their home lives is just not appealing, regardless of how important it might be.
Just a few thoughts…

And... thanks Dean.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I'm feeling a bit unsure of this entire blogging process... I was slightly alarmed to read a new post which referenced my blog... Thank you, but I feel the sudden need to proofread everything that I have written for fear that there may be too many idications of my lack of intellect and insight. I'm trying... I have never really enjoyed this writing thing; I would much rather talk, do Calculus or read - almost anything else...

Now that my nauseousness has passed, I really would like to share my thoughts and ideas about problem based learning. I need some quick, relevant and practical literature to help me understand how to implement. I understand the basic components and its constructivist foundation, but I have been searching for practical ideas. For example, my grade ten math class is working on rational and irrational numbers, solving equations and polynomials. We were doing a review today on all of the basic operations involving fractions. I want them to create a visual to represent what it means to divide and multiply fractions - illustrate 5/6 divided by 1/2. They thought I was crazy. We discussed this for awhile, and I think that perhaps tomorrow they could do this in small groups, even with a few variables! We'll see! I think this may be a good practical example of pbl, but I would appreciate any thoughts and directions...

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Girl Like Me

I was perusing a couple of blogs when I watched a short video:

Perhaps I've had a rough weedend and day, with many troubling issues, including a tragic event in a neighbouring community. Other issues include community sports and approaching deadlines for my Univserity class. In addition, I've been feeling sick, along with my daughter. While I was groaning and trying to sleep last night, my husband was tending her while she was vomiting much of the night.

Anyway, this particular short video, caused me to recall my intense feelings towards acceptance. I have always been passionate about human rights. One issue that I have come across over and over in my experience is the intolerance and abuse towards people who are of an alternate sexual orientation.

I think my human rights' soap box was built as a result of one of my relatives who kept her brother's existence a secret from me for about thirty years. I learned of his existence when he died; he had been institutionalized his entire life because he was mentally challenged. I was shocked. I thought we were past that; this was about five years ago. While teaching, I have contiunally heard many slanderous comments towards students with differences, including slow learning and sexual orientation. My sister has Down's Syndrome and she is a beautiful young lady who seems to be accepted by society. Of course, this would not have been true fifty years ago, or in my relative's case, at all. I believe that we are learning; it's just a very slow process.

Anyway, back the the video. It angers me when I hear young people who are so sad because of what society expects from them, regardless of what it is: skin color, sexual orientation, intelligence, or body image. To me, this is key issue when we are standing in front of our classes each and every day.