Monday, October 20, 2014

Teacher Life - Snippets From The Classroom

I have been a teacher for almost seven years in Victoria, Australia, so I'm still really a newbie. In that time I have:
- taught at eight schools for at least a term, plus an orphanage
- taught in the Government, Lutheran, Catholic and Independent school systems

- taught almost every year level from Prep to Year 10.
- been a Classroom, Music and CRT teacher
- coached basketball
- taught after-school guitar and keyboard lessons (Mr C School of Rock!)
- organized basketball tournaments, school camps and school concerts

In other words, I don't let the grass grow under my feet.

I have often struggled, but it's been a fun and fulfilling ride so far, with most of my teaching experience in the lower levels. One thing's for sure, they certainly provide you with some entertaining material for social media. Here's a look back at some of the highlights of my teaching career back to 2010, as documented by my Facebook wall, with some photos at the end. Enjoy!

2013 (Grade 1)
I never imagined that my elementary knowledge of the Hindu gods would cause one of my little students to be very happy. The things you find out at P/T interviews (March 27th)

Got no voice, the day before parent/teacher interviews. Delightful. Thankful for the arvo off, since trying to control a bunch of Grade 1s while sounding like the squeaky-voiced teen from the Simpsons is just not easy (March 20)

The Essendon jumper will be getting a run in my classroom tomorrow. I have one little Collingwood guy in particular who will be copping it, who loves bringing in his Magpies lunchbox. Wouldn't be surprised if he takes a four day weekend (April 25th)

Ah Grade 1, you funny bunch. Mrs R was walking out the door after her last fortnightly class before going to have her baby and my bunch called out their farewell "Have a good baby!" As Homer J would say "Those are exactly my sentimonies!" (May 15th)

My Grade 1 class's writing task was to write a postcard from the moon. This is what one girl wrote (all spelling has been corrected): "Dear Mr Chalmers, I love you teaching the children, but you are a little strict. So you have to calm down a little bit. So when you are strict you have to breathe in and out ok? So, um, yeah, that is about it. Bye bye I will see you later." (May 12th)

Grade 1 chuckle to finish the term: We were reading a book containing Australian animals, and I asked the students to identify any animals starting with the same letter as their first name. One young fella saw a numbat, only he remembered it as "Numb-nuts". Close enough (June 28)

I read my class a book in which the main character repeatedly says "Swimming is stupid!". Cue collective horrified GASP! Ah my little ones, just wait until you see what other wonderful "rude" words the world has waiting for you to discover. Innocence... (Aug 30)
I LOVE Book Week dress-up day (one of the perks of being a Junior School teacher). I made a wacky Captain Hook, complete with spatula-hook and Homer socks. My class was transformed into Darth Vaders, Yodas, Princesses, Superheroes, Wallys, Pirates, Big Bad Wolves and Little Red Riding Hoods. The kids were (relatively) off their trolley today, so my original lesson plans went out the window. We saw a rabbit grazing on the front lawn outside the classroom and had a caterpillar hatch from its cocoon just as one girl was showing it for Show and Tell. It's enough to send anyone bonkers. Ah, weekend...(Aug 23)

My class invented a new 2D shape today. A 6-sided shape is a hexagon, so it follows that a 7-sided shape must be a "sexy-gon". Many chuckles were had for that one (Aug 22nd)

Show and Tell this week: favourite book. We then vote on which book for me to read out loud to the class. Something I never imagined myself doing is reading the book Bottoms Up, about a bunch of babies protesting about wearing nappies, and pointing out that animals don't have to cover up, so why should they? There was hilarity and craziness, with bums and undies galore! (on the pages of the book of course) Ah, Grade 1 (Aug 9)

Ah, the much-anticipated Zoo Day. One boy told me yesterday he was so excited "my heart is going to jump out of my mouth". We were blessed with a rain-free day. No bear-maulings, lion-chompings or snake-strangulations. All kids back safe and sound. My group of 13 were like an irrepressible "plague of happiness" (as one parent helper so wonderfully put it). They exuberantly swarmed from one exhibit to the next, ignoring signs telling them to be quiet and walk. It was fun to watch. Interesting reaction from some of my colleagues who shudder with horror at the thought of a Grade 1 excursion, but I'd do it over being in the classroom any day of the week. Fun times (September 11th)

Grade 1 boy: HAAA-CHOOOOO! (all over boy in front)
*2 seconds later puts hand over mouth*
Me: *Face palm*
(Oct 30)

A group of mum’s Grade 5 kids put together a show for my Grade 1s. I felt sorry for them as my kids weren't the greatest audience. They were leading into a couple of Christmas songs and asked "What time of year is it?"
The first kid said "2012, 1st of December." Incorrect, and missed the point.
The second kid said "2013, 2nd of December". Got the date right but still missed the point. They had to be prompted by the Grade 5s: "No, It's Christmas!" This was met with bemused silence. Looks like there are some kids out there yet to get into the Christmas spirit. I hope they're in a more enthusiastic mood for tomorrows show. (
Dec 2)

Hooray for the end of year teacher stash Thanks 1C, it was a fun year. (Dec 11)

2012 (Grade 3/4 and Music)

Another talent I didn't know I had - performing a two-puppet show by myself!! (and I didn't stuff up the voices) Fairly impressed...(March 30th)

Two days into the "holidays" (pffft!), 2 Term planners done!! Just gotta knock over literacy and maths, and the rest of the hols are MINE!! (April 2)

I was feeling pretty proud, had just finished doing a decent drum demo in front of my 5/6s, when I got this from one of the girls "Pffft! Justin Bieber can drum faster than that..." Consider my bubble well and truly burst (April 12)

Love doing the "blast from the past" with my kids at school - I've got them into Muppets, SuperTed, Peter Combe, McGee and Me, and Psalty the Singing Songbook - they love it! (May 26)

Just returned from a superb Grade 3/4 camp at Grampians Retreat – ½ hour of rain all week, kids were great, ate til I was stuffed and even went on the Giant Swing and Flying Fox (scared the crud out of me, but hey, if Grade 3 kids can do it, then so can I) (June 16)

*Grade 3 girl whacking herself on the back of the head*
Me: "What are you doing?"
Girl: "I'm trying to make my brain go down here (points to front of head) so I can see what I'm thinking."
It must be Friday...(Aug 24)

As the organiser, I want to give a big thanks to all players, coaches, parents and refs for making yesterday’s Portland Schools Basketball Tournament a great day. Behaviour and sportsmanship was top notch, and as an added bonus, our school took out the boys and girls Grand Finals. Werribee, here we come! (Sept 7th)

So proud of my 12 b-ballers at Hooptime in Werribee today. Results aside, it was a 5am four-hour car trip and a different level of basketball. Thanks to the parents for your "taxi-driving" and support...(Nov 9th)

Goodbye 3/4C. 'Twas a fun, interesting, challenging year with you. Never a dull moment. (Dec 14)

On the way home from church this morning my 3 kids break into a very loud rendition of "My Highland Goat"!!!! Thanks a lot! (Dec 30, from a parent)

2011 (Grade 1/2)
Trying to teach 6 and 7 year olds what jury duty means (or even how to say it) - priceless. Hello court tomorrow (ended up being two weeks) (March 8)

*A spider, so-tiny-its-almost-invisible, comes down among 2A students*
2A students: "Skreeeeem!!!"
*Mr Chalmers comes to the rescue and gently takes the so-tiny-its-almost-invisible spider outside*
2A students: "Skreeeeem!!"
I love my job (
May 28th)

Paying the price for letting things slide during school term - two tubs of kids books marked, 4 to go. (Oct 5th)

Nice decision to walk home from school today. Knee played up, poured down rain and got swooped by a couple of nasty times (Oct 28th)

Just tried a science experiment I'm doing with my kids this week, AND IT WORKED!! In your face, science!! (Nov 1)

Ah, the ol' Grade 2 sleepover. Sitting in the gym, drinking my Pepsi Max, pretending to do work on my computer, waiting for 23 cherubs to drop off into beddy-bye land. Ready for a lovely 6am start. The things we teachers do to create memories for our kids...(Nov 11th)

I told my students "IF" they wanted to get me a present at the end of the year, I don't really like that fancy Lindt/Fererro Rocher chocolate. I much prefer Cadbury. Seems they took me quite literally 

2010 (CRT Term 1, Grade 5/6 Term 2, Grade 1/2 Term 3 and 4)
I marvel at the crazy, dodgy things people do for money - I taught primary school ART today. (March 2)

I just worked 4 days in a row after not working for 2 months, and I’m stuffed. Soft as butter!!(March 5)

I’m definitely earning my money out on the CRT trail...(March 22)

I may have struck "teaching gold" and have a good 5/6 class!! Should be a good term 2 (March 29)

(seems I spoke too soon with that one, because two months later I wrote…)

I find it amazing how, when confronted by a consistently positive attitude, people with negative attitudes seem to rise up, resist and rebel. Even kids.
(May 31)

I am about to dress up as "Where's Wally" for Book Week at school. Ah, the things we teachers do...(July 26)

The school booked me into a first aid course....on a Saturday!! What the? Not impressed (July 30)

A principal is under fire for changing the word "gay" from the Kookaburra song. I've done it...SO SUE ME!! (Sept 2)

I just spent 12 hours over 2 days cleaning out my inherited classroom and office (who said men don't clean?) with my mates U2 and Coke. Good times...(Sept 21)

I was incredibly privileged to be able to share my Compassion sponsorship with all the Grade 1/2 kids at my school this morning. Praying something great comes out of it! (Oct 15)

Sorting classes for next year - feels like AFL trade week (Oct 20)

I am in awe of the incredible privilege (and responsibility) I have teaching at my school, being the main male teacher. (Oct 22nd)

I played guitar (!) in chapel at school today: 2 songs, no wrong chord changes, word perfect, all with a broken high E string....nice! (Oct 27th)

The Many Faces of Mr Chalmers







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