World Teacher Day: celebrating you!

Happy World Teacher Day!

www.unesco.org states that…

“World Teachers’ Day aims to focus on “appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world” and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching”

When I think about everything that comes with being a teacher, I think about so many things. Some of them include how lucky I am to live in a place where education and teachers are appreciated and how motivated I feel to improve the lives of teachers and learners in my own developments; but mostly, I feel so grateful that I have the best job in the world.

So this post is dedication for all of you fellow teachers out there. I am so proud to serve with you and I am proud of the difference that we are creating daily.

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To celebrate World Teacher Day, I decided to write a positive and uplifting post about the 7 best things I love about being a teacher. When I tell people about how passionate I am about my job, people usually think I am crazy BUT hopefully this sheds light on why it is so worth!

Reason #1: The Kids

I think this is the most cliche reason that teachers love to teach. But for me, its so much more than just working with a wonderful bunch of people. My students are like a beacon of light in my life, they give me energy and hope on the hard days, they teach me so many things about humanity and the ‘latest’ and greatest things, they bring me joy.

My students are my why. My students are why working so hard is worth it. They are my #1 reason.

Reason #2: Helping them discover themselves

I also love seeing how my students are deciding who they are going to be in the world. How they are going to be the game changers and world shakers. AND I love being a part of that discovery.

I love empowering different parts of them and helping them see their strengths and how they can change the world, I love making a difference in the person and path they are going to have.

Reason #3: My work is meaningful

I firstly just want to say, that I think many people have important work in our world and everyone contributes to making our lives awesome. But I love that my work is meaningful and making a big difference in the path of our future.

It is sometimes discouraging listening to the news, realizing the opinions and actions of others, and know that I can have a small part in making a difference in people and in lives is so worth it for me.

Teachers- you are doing awesome things.

Reason #4: The ripple effect

Teachers are making impactful change- hands down- but the change that we are creating in society is sometimes missed. The reality of why I love my job is because we are changing the world from the bottom up, teaching the future doctors, prime ministers, teachers, business people, mothers, fathers of our world- that is epic.

Reason #5: Spreading my passions

Selfishly, I love that I get to talk about what I love every single day, and I get to make my students excited about it too. World politics, cultures, languages, literature, and being Ukrainian- what else could be more amazing.

Reason #6: The fame

I love feeling important to around 160 little people every day. With all the classes I teach, I have just over 160 kids. I like to refer to it as ‘the fame’ because we all know that there is no true fame in teaching; however, feeling important and knowing that the connections I am making with these kids are long lasting is so worth it.

Reason #7: Life long learning

Practice what you preach… that’s my motto when it comes to learning. I have a deep love and passion for learning from new people, new places, new things and I absolutely love that by being in a learning environment, I can continue to learn.

My students push me to learn new things, and I feel accountable to continue to better myself for them.

So today, here is my challenge to you. Think about a teacher through your life who has had an impact on your life. Reach out to them and tell them, or thank them in your heart for the universe put them in your path.

For all you teachers out there, know that you are doing an AMAZING job and that you are enough in this crazy profession we are in.

Enjoy World Teachers Day!

Cheers,

Miss Rylance

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Classroom Makeover!

Welcome Back!

I am getting so fired up for the 2018-19 school year and everything that goes with it. This summer I was committed to doing some much needed relaxing, adventuring, and preparing in anticipation for this year.

At the end of last year, like many of us, I was feeling burnt out. I was so ready for a break and I knew that as much as I absolutely LOVE being a teacher, I needed some changes to get back into my ‘mojo’. Part of what I knew I needed is a classroom makeover.

I knew that if I had a blank slate and a fresh look coming into the school year, I would feel refreshed and ready to go! For different people, starting fresh might look different. It might be having a glass of wine, going on a vacation, or even changing their hair color. But for me, as crazy of an idea as it was, it meant a physical change to the place I loved most.

Before I give you the details of my new classroom… check out these before pics!

 

I knew that I wanted lots of neutrals (as my current classroom had every color of the rainbow), I knew that I wanted lots of lamps (for a warm glow), and a community based space for my students to hang out.

This year, I decided on 2 themes that I was going to base my whole year plan on. It was a hard choice, but I decided on Mindset and Literacy. Two very different elements, but two very important things that I could plan my room around. (more blog posts to come!)

In order to support elements of literacy, I created a few things in my classroom.

The first was an awesome reading corner! A place where students could see out little classroom library, hang out, and sink into a great read.

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My own little teacher space needed a makeover too. I added some cute wall paper to a filing cabinet, added some lights, and changed a few little things to have a more welcoming ‘me zone‘.

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I also found this amazing interactive bulletin board by Super Hero Teacher on teachers pay teachers! I love it because it promotes kids to read! Which is perfect for my theme! Each folder has a fact about reading, which are unique and could help students become intrigued in different topics. Then, in each folder there are reading challenges for students to complete! I think its going to be an awesome way to implement some competition and motivation in independent student reading! I can’t wait.

Also, notice how I used the wall paper to decorate the back of my filing cabinet! (I LOVE IT!)

 

The second theme, Mindset, is something different I am trying this year. Last year, I found that I struggled to keep my students on the same page. Half way through the year I created a classroom mission statement to align all our goals collectively. This year, I decided to make a growth and fixed mindset a part of the daily language an expectation for my classroom.

I created this great wall, where students can find motivation in different quotes to ensure they are promoting a growth mindset.

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I also used a series of quotes throughout my classroom to instill motivation in students through those hard times and remind them of positivity! My new circuit cutting machine was the perfect way for me to spice up all my bulletin board letters!

 

As well as this one! I think the bold letters and bitmoji thought bubbles are a fun way to remind students how a good mindset can be a game changer.

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This year I also decided on some other fun ways to change up my classroom!

Check out my DOOR!

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Organization was another big thing that I wanted to change. I pride myself on being super organized already. BUT a few things needed some updating. I created this little curtain wall for some exposed shelf’s in the back of my classroom so that I could organize all the ‘kid free’ stuff without them seeing it AND still making it look clean and simple. I love the new clean look. I just got the curtains at the dollar store and hung them with these great command hooks!

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I also changed all my labels for farmhouse themed ones to go with my clam/ neutral theme!

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I was inspired by some other amazing instagram teachers to convert my former ‘wall of awesome’, to a wall of awesome work with a few llama friends :)!

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Perhaps my favorite part of the classroom are my paper flowers! I absolutely love how they add elements of color and happiness to the bare walls. I think they create an atmosphere that is welcoming and (although a bit feminine) so pretty.

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I also made a large change to my furniture and invested in these tables! Last year, many of my desks started to break. I thought for weeks on how I was going to fix this issue. Should I keep the desks, should I move them, should I keep some… goodness the list went on. I finally caved and got these amazing tables at IKEA (teachers, they were only $41 each- so worth it). The thing about these tables, is that it is going to change the whole dynamic in my classroom. We are going from desks to community collaboration where students are working and sitting together. SO WORTH IT. (should out to my awesome sister who built all of them!)

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The biggest part of my classroom is that it is an extension of the person and teacher I am to my students. I put so much love and care and passion into my teaching and my classroom and I want students to feel welcomed and feel that passion and excitement when they walk into my door. I want us to share magical experiences as we read though books together and learn about the current events that are fluttering in our world. I can’t wait to teach them how a positive mindset can be a game changer no matter what kind of day you’re having. AND I can’t wait to create meaningful relationships and memories with every single one of my new students.

This classroom is from the outside complete, but I now have a TON of work on the inside to make this classroom theirs.

I can’t wait to see what these new walls have to bring.

Cheers,

Miss Rylance

PS. This post is dedicated to all the amazing helpers who made this classroom a reality. (You know who you are, and I love you all)

 

Surviving Teaching Year 2!

WE MADE IT!

The end of June is here, and its safe to say that we survived teaching for this school year! WHOOP!

June is always a bittersweet month for teachers; teacher burnout is evident, the days seems more like years, fun times are had, the rewards of all your hard work with the students pay off and sadly (or sometimes happily) you say good bye to your batch of students. I always feel like I am on board an emotional roller coaster in June- I want them to leave, I want them to stay, I feel like I have failed, I feel like I made a difference, I hope I did enough, I hope they leave my classroom better, I know they left my classroom better, I wonder what next year’s students will be like, I wonder if I taught everything they needed... its quite the ride.

As i’m sitting here in my empty classroom, with the bulletin boards down and the chaos for 8th grade tucked away (for now), I think about the students that made this classroom theirs. All the memories and adventures and risks that were experienced this year and it makes me SO proud. I often write a lot about how being a teacher is hard but rewarding, and I think that in moments where time seems to stop, like the one I am in right now, its clear that all the struggle and crazy and stress that happens in the profession of teaching is so absolutely worth it.

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Recently, I was interviewed by the Teachers on Fire podcast and in the interview Teachers on Fire host, Tim Cavey, asked me what the hardest part of being a teacher is and how I get through those hard times. It was a hard one for me to answer because the truth is, there are hard things everyday, but the greatness over shadows those hard times.

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My answer to him was this, that no matter what anyone says teaching is a hard job but the hardest days are when we don’t believe in each other or we don’t believe in ourselves as teachers. So, the way I get through those hard moments is taking them as learning moments, periods of growth, funny stories and moving forward. My challenge in these last few years as a new teachers was to focus on the amazing and spectacular things that were going to come with this journey, and it has made the experience beautiful.

Surviving Teaching was the inspiration for that positivity. For those days when it is hard to see the good, for the moments that are so amazing that I want to share with the world, for the stories that need to be told beyond the walls of my classroom.

As I close the chapter of my second year as a teacher, I thank you guys for following my journey, learning from my experiences, and joining in the joy.

Have a fantastic summer!

Cheers!

Miss Rylance 

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Living with Intention

These last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. Spring break brought a much needed pause in the insanity and busyness of being a new teacher.

Spring break gave me the greatest gift of all… a new FIANCE! And I am over the moon to share that I will now be making the remarkable shift from Miss to Mrs! The day that he asked me to be his wife was the best day of my life, met with joy and so much excitement for our future… a journey I can’t wait for.

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The weeks coming back, and most teachers know were difficult. The shift to the last chunk of the year. The push of trying to motivate students past the spring break brain while still trying to see the silver lining.

Although it was difficult, lots of awesome things happened. 

  1. Awesome Japanese Cultural Field Trip for social studies!
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  2. Cooking using second language vocab in Ukrainian!
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  3. Sharing my knowledge about cultural links to language acquisition at a community networking event!

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All of these things make my heart so happy in thinking about the growth my students are experiencing.

However, tragedy also stuck our community. On April 6, 2018 a terrible accident involving the Humboldt Bronco Hockey Team happened leaving 16 dead and 12 injured. This accident sent ripples through our country, our community, and my family.

Being in Canada, it is easy to identify with these boys and this tragedy. Everyone either plays hockey, has a child who plays hockey, or knows someone who plays hockey. Most people have experienced long bus trips across the prairies. People know the dedication, determination and passion that these players had and the incredible future they had in front of them. All of these elements break the hearts of Canadians. For the players, coaches, trainers, announcers, first responders, families, friends… for everyone.

For my family, it struck a chord deeper. My brothers grew up playing competitive hockey and as my Dad puts it ‘ there is one degree of separation between everyone in the hockey world’. We knew these boys. My sister loved one of these boys. My brother played in the same league as these boys. The reality of loss has been draped over my family.

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It has been so hard. 

In all of this. I have been trying to determine why. I have been trying to understand how good could come out of this situation.

But then this happened. 

A country standing behind a team. Behind players. Behind Canadian boys. Uniting together regardless of belief, religion, background, values… with one vision it was understood that with intention we were one.

AND my students become my beacon of hope.

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I took this as motivation to find the why.

I believe that it is integral that we live life with intention every day. I am not talking about goals or dreams (which are also important). I am talking about the little things. 

  • Taking time to answer a phone call from a loved one when you really ‘don’t have time’.
  • Exchanging a smile with the person making your coffee in the morning.
  • Telling the people you love how much they mean to you.
  • Doing things daily that make you happy.
  • Doing the things that scare you.
  • Sweating, and rewarding your body with exercise.
  • Eating the cheese pizza even if it isn’t good for you.
  • Take the trip.
  • Spend the money.
  • Stress less.
  • Be late.
  • Slow down.
  • Live with intention everyday.

My heart breaks for everyone suffering from this loss, and I pray for you, the people who we lost and all the people who are still fighting for their lives.

But as our Country moved forward, and pick up the pieces… I challenge you to find your daily intention.

#HumboldtStrong

Miss Rylance

Feeling Lucky

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

My sisters and I had the chance to visit Ireland for the first time last year and since that moment my love for Irish culture, traditions, and appreciation of life has grown so much.
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My favorite part of being in Ireland was learning about their pride and experiencing the brilliance of their culture and this week I was excited to bring that culture into my classroom.

Each year, I remind my students of the greatness that St. Patrick ushered into Ireland and how we can learn from his perseverance and persistence he encompassed in working to free the Irish of oppression; however, this year I took it a step further in my class. I took a moment for gratitude.

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I find that sometimes it is important to stop for a moment and ask ‘why am I lucky’, ‘what am I grateful for’, and in the spirit of the Irish and those lucky charms that were floating in the air I tasked my students with an awesome St. Patrick’s Day Escape Room.

It was my first time facilitating an escape room for my students and I loved it and so did they. They used QR codes and their technology at each task, were engaged, working together, learning about their faith and St. Patrick and building critical thinking skills- it was awesome!

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Shout out to ‘Oh the Humanities’ for this awesome find!

I also took a minute and asked students to reflect on what they feel lucky to have! It was perfect for a quick reflection, building empathy, and a writing task to start class.

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Here is a link to my teachers pay teachers account for your FREE download of this awesome resource. 

Of course, after the students reflected on their luck, they were rewarded with the leprechaun cookie. This piece of gratitude from me was to remind them that I am lucky because I have them. My students are truly my lucky charms and they remind me of that daily.

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PS. Check out my awesome St. Patty’s outfit!

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Have a Lucky St. Patty’s Day!

Miss Rylance

Here’s to all the Women!

Potentially the thing I am most passionate about is strong, committed, graceful women in the past, present and future. The women that have gotten us here, the women who are working to be amazing today, and my amazing students who are going to grow into those amazing women.

As March began, I was so excited to usher in International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Not only to shine light on influential women in the world and in history in my classroom and with my students, but also to celebrate the amazing women and mentors in my life today.

In my classroom, I often take time to make my students aware of AMAZING women who have shaped history, taking the extra moment to give them information and build awareness. BUT I love that this month gives us an excuse to celebrate the weakening gender gap and cheer on the greatness that has become.

Some things I did in my classroom this week to promote Women’s History:

1. I partnered my grade 8 class with a grade 6 class and together we created a wall mural to celebrate women in history (which will be displayed out of my classroom)
If you want your own… check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers!

2. Since we are doing poetry in English, I got students to write a bio poem about a a woman who in their opinion has shaped history positively.

For those who aren’t familiar with a bio poem check it out!

3. Daily quote of the days/ Morning Music selections were all by women

It is so important for all of my students to understand all facets of history and our world and I challenge you this month to take the extra little bit to make sure they know the significant women who are a part of the story.

This week, I want to dedicate my post to all the incredible women and mentors in my life. I want to say THANK YOU to all the women who continually inspire, push and support me. You guys all know who you are, but truly from the bottom of my heart thank you. You are all my ‘why’ every day.

To my students, thank you for continuing to find in you the motivation to do amazing things. I can’t wait to see what you do with the amazing abilities you have. 

I recognize that it is because we support each other that greatness is possible and I feel honored to be chosen in your tribe.

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To all women out there, lets support each other.

Cheers,

Miss Rylance