Tag Archives: caitlin

OISE Preparing Us the Future: The Professional Preparation Conference 2015

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

I had the opportunity of attending the Professional Preparation Conference 2014. The conference is to help OISE students prepare for the professional field and network with future employers.

The conference is intended for OISE students in their final year, but I thought it would be good to familiarize myself with the conference so I could be better prepared next year.

Here are my tips on preparing for the 2015 Professional Preparation Conference:

  • Its a professional conference, so dress professionally. I know this sounds simple but its true. I attended the first day in jeans and a sweatshirt but I stood out like a sore thumb. Most students dressed up in blazers, dresses and dress pants as they were meeting potential employers and/or had interviews following the conference. If you are trying to make a great first impression with your future employers or peers to network with, you should be dressed appropriately.
  • Visit the student success centre prior to the conference. Some employers may request to set up interviews or accept resumes for their open positions. Jackie Button was the speaker for Resume Writing & Interview Skills. She advises students to take the alternative, non-traditional approach for their resumes. Making them look and sound dynamic sets you apart from the competition. To learn more about alternative, non-traditional approaches to resumes and CV’s, head to the student success centre and make an appointment with them.

    ApplyToEducation.com helps you find a job in 49 countries!

  • Read the employment section of your desired school board for restrictions. I learned that most school boards have teachers use the database ApplyToEducation.com to apply to their boards. 75% of Canadian school boards use the database to seek out potential candidates. It would be beneficial to check out which school boards use the database. (As of December 2014, TDSB and YRDSB do not use ApplytoEducation.com) Additionally, some school boards may also have page restrictions for the resumes they look at. This may be the time to condense or expand your resumes.
  • Keep your options open. I was blown away by the vast number of speakers, employers and professional support available at the conference. There are employers from various settings:  local, national and even international. Its amazing that there are many options outside of the classroom. To see the list of organizations in which attended the conference, view my blog post: Oh the Places You Will Go…

Are you curious about OISE student life? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

November Recap from a Master of Teaching Point of View

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

It’s beginning to look like the end of fall semester….

As I say in every monthly recap, but where did November go? I wanted to share one memory that has stuck with me since leaving practicum.

One day during a classroom discussion, one of my students raised their hand and asked “Ms. Cheung, would you rather have a million dollars or be a teacher?” All the students looked at him and then to me for my response.

I was stunned by this question. For one, we were taking up the math homework. Secondly, this question always pops into my mind when I’m contemplating what my next “step” is. The teaching profession is not the most glamorous, in demand or a respected field. At the end of the day, this world is driven by profit and capitalistic ideals. Why not enter a different field that allows for a more financially stable lifestyle?

Before I could think of a response, a student broke the silence and said “She obviously would rather be a teacher if she’s here.” I wouldn’t have responded exactly in that way, but it captured the essence of what I was going to say.

Everyday of practicum, I woke up excited to get to school and teach my students the lesson that I prepared. I got to see my smiling, sometimes not awake, students file into the hallway. The best part was hearing them scream from the hallways “GOOD MORNING MS. CHEUNG!” And after a gentle reminder we are not outdoors, I have the students come and get ready for their morning schedule. The day would carry out with the same intensity and energy as we had started. And by the end of the day, I had to sit down and really reflect what happened in the class.

I am busy by nature. I am always up and about doing something. I am always standing and walking around because I get to anxious if I sit for too long. I don’t think I could pick a better field than education. It just fit right into education, and education fits right into my life. I am deeply passionate about teaching my students new things, sparking their curiosity and having them become more conscious of the world around them.

I am sorry to say if you are not passionate about education, you have chose the wrong field and the wrong school. OISE is for passionate, dedicated and diverse students that want to learn and keep up with the ever-changing landscape of education. OISE really prepares you to view the world in a different way, which in turn makes you look at education differently.

And so I end this what I told that boy in the middle of our math lesson. “I wouldn’t chose any other job than teaching. Even if they offered me two million dollars, three million dollars or four, I would chose to come to see you guys everyday and teach you. And I know this can’t happen just yet because I am not a teacher yet, but if I could I would. And now, who can tell me what number 4 is?”

 

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

My Post-Practicum Experience: Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

It is almost midnight here in Toronto, which commences my first week back at OISE after being away for 4 weeks at practicum. I want to be as honest as I can with you guys. I don’t want to paint a picture of the “perfect life” I lead at OISE. That wouldn’t do you any good, and it would not be well with my soul.

In saying this, I want to tell you how hard my first week back was. I’ve done practicums when completing my undergrad at Ryerson. I did two or three days of school and go to my practicum site for two days. Obviously both practicums have their pro’s and con’s. But I found adjusting back into life at OISE after being away for a month was awful. This week I found it tedious to sit and learn a lesson. I was instantly distracted by a sudden movement by a neighbouring student. My teachers even saw how un-engaged I was in class and asked if there was something going on.

It is unfortunately not easy to be submerged back into full time classes after being away for so long. All I can say is, next week there is no excuses. I was warned at orientation:

“You come into this program thirsty for knowledge, and we stick your heads under Niagara Falls.”

At the time, the audience just giggled and laughed. But OISE means business when they say this. This a graduate program. Expect to do readings, assignments and reflections every week. I’m not saying you are in this alone, because thats far from the case. The staff and peer support is amazing here.

All I am saying is this week I was a little lost and I wandered off. (I think its solely because my head and heart are with my students. I’ve emailed my AT multiple times that I am “homesick”) I am assuming the majority of our readers are feeling like this as the semester is coming to an end and/or the holidays are within reach. Just make the rest of your days the best of your days. I’m making this promise now, and it will be on the blog as accountability, that I will try my hardest to make it the best week of the semester.

Good night everyone.

 

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

 

Fall Practicum Report 6: Kids say the Darnest Things

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

The other day I came across an article listing 24 notes kids have left. Little did they know, these notes brightened up my Tuesday morning. The messages they wrote were direct, blunt and down right hilarious. I will include the link for you to check out here: 24 kids who are wise beyond their years.

Reading the article prompted me to show you some of the hilarious, heartwarming, or inspiring messages from my students. I have written a caption of what they wrote underneath each picture. You also might notice some blurred areas of the pictures; I have blurred the names to respect the confidentiality of my students.

 

“Dear Mrs. Cheung. 
I hope you have fun in university. But you know we want you to be happy. But we will miss you. So good bye!”

If you are a female teacher, you are bound to run into this problem. Kids will always mistaken you as Miss or Mrs. Many times I had to tell my kids, that I am not married yet and I am Miss Cheung.

“Starbucks cafe”

 “We will miss you Ms. Cheung. Starbucks” 

Everyday, I arrived to school with Starbucks tumbler full of coffee or tea. Eventually my students found out that I looooove Starbucks. So most of my cards had Starbucks coffee cups! Mmmm!

“P.S Thanks for letting me teach you recorder!”

This card was from the student that taught me the recorder. If you haven’t read the story about that, here is my previous article on it.

“Dearest Ms. Cheung,
We will miss you so much. I like you because you are an awesome student teacher. But the rest I am speechless.”

When I read this out loud in class, I couldn’t stop laughing! How hilarious was this message?

 

“Dear Ms. Cheung.
We will miss you so much. I like you because you’re the best teacher. LOL best teacher make happy.”

As the previous student said… I am speechless! Haha!

“Dearest Ms. Cheung,
We will miss you so much. I like you because:
1) You are an awesome student teacher
2) You teach great math lessons
3) You’re always willing to help
4) You’re always nice
5) You taught us to become great public speakers”

I loved all of the cards my students made, but this specific one struck a cord with me. It just reassured me that I am in the right field. I loved getting to know each of my students on an individual level. I really connected with the class, unlike any class I have taught before. They were absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to see them again in a few weeks.

 

Are you  curious about OISE student life? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

 

Fall Practicum Report 5: On The Last Day of Practicum…

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

It finally came. I didn’t think my four weeks would come and go so fast. But as I stood in my empty classroom at the beginning of the day, I couldn’t help and think about all the memories made in those 4 walls.

But I instantly snapped out of it, as I still had one more school day to go before getting emotional! The morning was filled with two tests (math and spelling), and a bus safety workshop. As all three tasks didn’t require my attention, so I put the finishing touches on our class’ door decoration for the holiday door contest. If you are unfamiliar with huge phenomenon that goes on in elementary schools every winter, this girl will fill you in. Each classroom is responsible to decorate their door for the upcoming holidays. There is usually a prize for the winning classrooms, but the real underlying message is to have the students work collaboratively and get into the holiday spirit.

Our classroom decided to create a “minion tree” for our door. Each child created a minion, from the recently famous Despicable Me move, and dress them in holiday gear. They created a santa, an elf or a reindeer minion. Once they were all completed I lined them up in neat rows; creating the illusion of a string of lights. And with about a million wads of masking tape, I put our holiday door decoration up before the lunch bell rang.

The afternoon ran as per usual. A little science work, a couple language exercises and before you knew it, we only had 30 minutes left before the final bell of the day rang. The students filed in from recess, and so did my AT with a card and present in hand. My class created a huge card and within it each student created an individual card. See my next post where I highlight the most touching, heartwarming messages. My AT also presented me with the book Only One You. This is an amazing book about individuality and uniqueness of individuals. I had the privilege of reading the book in front of my students as my last read aloud.

Finally the last bell rang, I saw my students file out and scream out “BYE MS. CHEUNG!” for the final time and I was left with an empty room once again. A flood of images came to mind as I remembered all the lessons and memories I made with my students and AT.  It has been a crazy, bittersweet journey. But fortunately it does not end here! I will be returning back to my classroom once classes end to watch the primary Christmas concert. I can’t wait to go back and see the kids and my AT! But until then, its two more weeks of classes and hardwork!

 

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Fall Practicum Report 4: The Power of Flexibility

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

If you thought this post would be about my recent interest in gymnastics, you are horribly misguided. Unfortunately, I have not enrolled in a tumbling class but have instead expanded my duties outside of the grade 3 classroom.

I am going to share with you two experiences which occurred this week. These two experiences only happened because I decided to leave my classroom and enter another.

I was asked to teach a photography lesson to Grade 7 and 8’s. Although I am confident in my photography skills and abilities, I was nervous to teach a room full of teenagers. I kept having flashbacks to when I was in elementary school, and how obnoxious my classmates were in Grade 8. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The class enjoyed taking pictures, using the school’s iPads, and learned the various elements of design. To manage the class, I just adapted the strategies I used with my Grade 3’s and adjusted the tone of my voice from time to time. Since I haven’t taken a “how to teach intermediate students 101” I think I did great.

The second experience I had was introducing a math program called Math Prodigy to neighbouring Grade 3/4 class. Math Prodigy is an interactive math program that has been slowly introduced to the classrooms in my school. Aside from the initial battle of username and password entries, the students enjoyed the challenges and levels in the game. It also allowed me to sit one-on-one with students that had difficulty with the challenges. The experience also allowed me to learn some of the students names in this new class.

These two experiences allowed me to challenge myself outside of my own classroom. I was able to use a range of strategies for classroom management, lesson design and lesson implementation. And here I turn this to you; how flexible is your application?

I know we are only a few weeks away from the final submission of applications. Does your letter of intent represent your flexibility in approaching education? As many of you know, education is not a fixed concept. It is fluid, ever changing and dynamic. OISE is looking for individuals that are able to be flexible and resilient to the changes in education. Whether it is teaching adults, a different classroom or researching a topic, OISE students have to use their power of flexibility.

 

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Fall Practicum Report 3: Recipe for Peace

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

This week my classroom recognized Remembrance Day. I was in charge of delivering a lesson to my grade threes’. My AT kept it open for my interpretation and would back me up in whatever route I went.

So I did two lessons. One was specifically about Remembrance Day, and why we honour the soldiers that risked their lives for us.  I borrowed the book, Proud as a Peacock and Brave as a Lion from my local library. Following the story, we created poppies that revealed sentences under the petals. I prompted the students with sentence starters and had them finish it what they deemed appropriate to their understanding. (I remember… Poppies remind me of… Peace is important because…Remembrance Day is important because…)

My second lesson was about peace. I brought in the book, A Little Peace. The book is a series of photos from National Geographic with short captions to encompass the pictures. We talked about the importance of pictures versus text, and why it would be purposeful for us to read a book with more pictures. Following the book, I prompted a discussion with the sentence start “I can bring peace to others by…” We formed a list of suggestions or experiences my students had to show kindness and peace to others. I had the students return to their desks after the discussion to fill out peace signs with ways they bring peace to others.

The highlight of my two lessons was my closing activity for the Peace lesson. I had students create their own recipes for peace. I prompted them with the types of measurement and instructions used on recipes, but their ideas were all them! I will let their recipe cards do all the talking. I don’t want to impose my views of them on you. Here are some that I documented:

(I have blurred their names to respect their confidentiality. If you are a teacher, I recommend for you to blur out their names on pictures you take, if you haven’t already done so.)

My students reassure me that they will try to bring peace into their world in their own ways. This lesson truly made me feel confident in what I instilled in them during those lessons.

What is your recipe for peace? Let me know below!

 

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Fall Practicum Report 2: Who is the Teacher Around Here?

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

There were two things I was nervous about coming into this practicum. The first thing was teaching a grade I was unfamiliar with. That fear was conquered at the end of my first day, when I realized how amazing Grade 3 was! The second fear I had was the possibility of teaching music. I AM NOT MUSICAL AT ALL. I quit playing the piano after 1 day. I hated playing the recorder in the sixth grade. I literally can’t dance to save my life.

So you could only imagine how nervous I was when my Associate Teacher(AT) asked me to start learning to play the recorder. She found that Music was the only time I wasn’t involved in the classroom. I told her about my torturous history with music, but she proposed a different way to approach this fear.

Instead of having me relearn the recorder independently with sheet music, she asked if I would like Michelle to teach me. (Lets call her Michelle for confidentially reasons.) Michelle is one of the brightest students in my class. There is no doubt in my mind that her academics and personal life will take off in the upcoming years. She is one of the best recorder players in the class. I do see Michelle getting bored when the class has to repeat a new song that she has already mastered. My AT wanted Michelle to channel her musical energy and leadership into a new outlet, me!

And so, for the past week I have taken off my teacher hat and put my student hat on. During lunch recess, we wait for all the students to file out of the classroom and we sit in the back to practice the sheet music. Michelle is so patient with me, and my squeaking recorder. She encourages me to keep going even though I am discouraged when I try to hit a note and the recorder squeaks. I seek advice from her on how to get better, or how to hit a certain note.

Coming into placement, I knew my students and AT would provide me with an amazing experience. But I never knew that I would be conquering my fear of Music, especially after my unsuccessful attempts with the recorder in grade six. I am so grateful that my AT pushed me to relearn the recorder. Even though there is a 14 year difference between Michelle and myself, I respect her enough to learn from her. She is so passionate and eager to teach her teacher, that I want to make her proud by practicing. (I am even staying in on Friday nights to practice and annoy my friends with videos of my attempts to learn songs).

The takeaway I have from this experience is that teachers are everywhere. If you open your mind, you will find them. And if you respect them, you will be more inclined to learn something to make them proud. I’m forever going to use Michelle as my inspiration to never give up on something you are sort-of good at. With practice, patience and a lot of water, anything is possible.

Have an amazing weekend everyone.

☮ ✌

 

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

October Recap from a Master of Teaching Point of View

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Oops, are we really in November? What happened to October? I have been so busy transitioning from full time school to full time practice teaching that I have neglected checking in with you guys!

The biggest thing that happened to me in October was starting my first block practicum. I am in a grade three classroom in the York Catholic School Board from October 27th-November 21st. Prior to the start of practicum, I was able to go to three field experience days. These days are reserved for MT students to observe the routines and schedule of the classroom.

On my second visit, I brought the schools iPads into the classroom to introduce an application called Gizmos to the students. The lesson was to reinforce their knowledge about Friction. I would like to disclose that this lesson was not the best one I have taught. But I learned at the end of it, the students were hardly exposed to the iPads in the classroom as my Associate Teacher did not know which applications to use. She told me that many teachers in the school have similar problems of integrating the technology into their classroom as they don’t know what to use. She proposed  for me to create a list of iPad applications (apps) for the staff to use, and present a 10 minute presentation highlighting two of them at the next staff meeting.

The challenge was accepted and met! For the last two weeks I have been happily testing math and literacy apps on my iPad to present to the staff. I compiled them into a pdf, and thought I would share it with blog-sphere. I have the apps sorted by primary, junior and intermediate divisions. I also wrote found the Ontario Curriculum expectation that matched with the app, the highlights of the app and any considerations that may need to be taken when using it.   Whether you are a prospective student or a current student, these applications will be a great resource for you to have just in case you need them. And did I mention all these apps are FREE? Bonus for teachers on a budget!

In the pdf you will find these applications:

Download my list here: iPad List . Have fun experimenting with the apps, and Good luck!

 

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

September Recap from a Master of Teaching Point of View

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

The weather is getting colder, my Starbucks drinks are getting hotter and my workload went from “I can see you after my class” to “I’ll recap my semester with you during the holidays.” As a self-proclaimed multi-tasker, this month has really tested my time management, priorities and ability to not sweat the small stuff.

In true teacher education format, I will present my 2 stars and a wish on my first month at OISE. If you are not in one of the many teacher education programs at OISE, 2 stars and a wish is an infamous exit strategy to conclude a lesson. Teachers or peers provide constructive, positive feedback to the student about their abilities, competence and performance. This type of assessment is authentic to the student’s abilities and helps them rise to the expectation set for them.

My 2 Stars :

1. My first star about my program is for the support I have received. I have heard from many graduate students that they feel so supported in their program. I even felt like that during my undergraduate program as well. But the support I have been given by my peers and professors here at OISE is on a whole new level. I have never felt more reassured that I am on the right path towards my future. Everyday I reconfirm my affirmation that I want to make a difference in the lives of my students. If you haven’t seen this Ted Talk by Rita Pierson, I will give you 9 minutes to watch this video and then come back to my post. The video is 7:48 long, but you will need that 1:12 to contain your composure and reflect on her enthusiasm.

I frame her as my inspiration as practicum is slowly approaching. I want to empower my students with the right attitudes towards education and development. Also, I want to credit Anne Marie Chudleigh for showing my class this video during our first Child Development Class. If you see her, give her a high five for me. (Bonus points if there is documentation with consent).

2. My second star is for Pepper. I am absolutely lost if I don’t check this application on an hourly basis. Literally, I would be lost with the classroom changes and new events popping up constantly. I love how I can access the site from my phone, laptop or on campus computers. A sub-wish for this site is to have better emoticons, especially coming from a tech crazy human being. Hey Jim Hewitt, I can help you design them if necessary

If you are not familiar with Pepper, because you don’t use it in your program or you haven’t entered yet….Its basically OISE’s own blackboard/portal/education powerhouse. Not to sound elitist, but if you aren’t on Pepper, you are missing out. Also, can we make the phrase “Pepper me” a real thing? I say it on a constant basis since email addresses and phone numbers are too complicated!

My 1 wish:

1. Please don’t tell me that my wish for there to be underground tunnels between the OISE building to all my favorite food sources is unreasonable. It is unreasonable? NOOOO! Okay then, let me think of another wish for the program.

Directly concerning the program, I wish for our next practicums to be released at least a month in advance. (If you are not aware, at exactly 4:01 pm on October 7th, practicum locations were released. This is 20 days before the actual start of practicum). Speaking specifically on behalf of PJ 161 [HEY GUYS!] we would have loved to have more time to prepare ourselves for our first practicum of the program. Preparations included but are not limited to:

  • Material preparations. As a frugal graduate student, I want to shop for the best deals to prepare my teacher tool kit.
  • Mental preparations. I would have liked to engage in a few more meditations allowing me to focus my energy on classroom management and lesson planning.
  • Social preparations. Do I have enough time between my commute to and from the school to text my friends that I am alive and I will see them during the Holidays.
  • Life preparations. I live religiously by my agenda. If it is not mapped out a month in advance, my whole week falls apart. And I know that many of my peers have more family responsibilities than I do. How can they start preparing their families for a new routine and schedule?

But the bright side is that practicum could have been released 1 day before our field experience days. And it is not to say the Practicum Team did not work tirelessly to provide us with practicums. I’m just wishing that my extra mindful meditations will help offset my lack of preparations and make me extra keen on excelling in the classroom.

So that was my first month at OISE in a nutshell. Please check back next month to 1) make sure I am alive before practicum 2) make sure I am alive to blog about my adventures at OISE.

Are you curious about OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca