Archive of ‘Thoughts’ category

5 Tips for Surviving your First Year Back as a Mom

In September 2017, I went back to work as a homeroom teacher and a full-time mom. This year has been so different from any other. Before kids, I would work a lot, plan educational events and edchats but now, I have a family to take care of. Someone who needs me to be there and be present. I’ve found out this year that balancing it all is tough. It is definitely been all about learning what is important to me and asking myself what do I want to spend my time and energy on.

Here are some tips that helped me survive my first year back:

1. Plan ahead

Being a mom and teacher, I feel like there are 50 balls in the air that you are trying to juggle. In order to do it all well, you need to plan. Planning ahead your teaching plans, knowing where you are going in the unit and planning the night before keeps you anxiety free when drama occurs.

My partner and I have a shared Google calendar where we both enter our work events and who needs to pick up or drop off the kiddo on specific dates. This really helps when trying to organize your time.

Planning ahead what is for dinner every night or making your lunch for the week on the weekend seems like a small thing but it saves so much time and thought after a busy workday. I find as well, if you preplan meals, you eat healthier and feel better.

2. Ask for Help

Asking for help from colleagues really helps. Ask for coverage if you have a support teacher if you need to write report cards or IEP’s. Ask for unit plans or report card comments for other teachers you trust. Teachers love to help each other but if you don’t ask, you don’t get help.

Asking your spouse for help also is important. If you need time to stay late at work or some time to yourself, ASK. It will help you feel calmer.

3.Self Care

We cannot take care of others when you are exhausted. Do something small for yourself every day. Some ideas that I enjoy are a big cup of coffee with a good book, a bubble bath, a run, or listening to upbeat music. All of these things help me feel better.

4. DO NOT reinvent the wheel

All teachers want to do their best every day but sometimes it is better to save yourself time and buy the lesson/unit. There is no shame in it. Check out TeachersPayTeachers for millions of resources!

5. Choose your Priorities

Did you know that it takes 3 years for a new mom to feel completely back to herself? I had no idea that it took that long! Pre-kids, I was so active in the education field. I actively learned, read professional development books and then blogged about it all. But since having a child, my priorities have changed. I am slowly getting back to feeling like myself again and with that, I want to step back into the educational world again and begin blogging more often. I’m starting by really focusing on what my priorities are and being really intentional about what I am working on. So right now, my priorities are taking care of myself, family, school, and blogging when I have time and/or inspiration.

I would love to hear more about how you guys survived being a parent and balancing your teaching career. Please let me know in the comments below!

A Constant Evolution

Who am I? For the past 10 years the answer to that question has been an aspiring teacher, and a teacher. Becoming a teacher was all consuming for me. From talking courses to get into teachers college, to working jobs to pay for college, to supply teaching and so on. The process never seemed to end.

When I finally became a supply teacher I quickly realized that teaching was what I am meant to do but I still had to learn so much to become a teacher.

I dove into the world of blogging as a way to keep busy and keep focused on my dream of becoming the best teacher I could be. was born as a way for me to collect and organize ideas and be current on teaching trends. This blog snowballed into Twitter, Edcamp Ottawa, Playdate Ottawa, ONedchat, and Think Tank. It also stemmed to creating my current blog so that I could have more interaction with my followers and force me to reflect on my teaching practices more.

Blogging throughout this time has truly been a huge blessing in my life. It has introduced me to amazing educators that have pushed me to be a better teacher than I could have ever imagined.

But then this happened…. 

And my whole world shifted. I was quite sick for my first trimester and could barely eat let only blog, tweet and participate in all my extracurriculars that I had been so active in. I felt a shift that I wasn’t expecting. From being so invested in the educational community to completely separating myself from it. I couldn’t focus on it at all. And to be honest, I felt a bit lost.  10 years of focusing on education to nothing was quite the shift.

Now, I’m 6.5 months pregnant and thrilled that our baby boy will be arriving in April 2016. 

I’m left wondering Who am I now?, Where do I fit in now?, What do I really want to spend my time on?, Is blogging and sharing really that important to me?, Do I continue to blog and share through another blog?, Do I combine my personal and professional Twitter accounts?
So many questions. Change is never easy but I have to say I have never been so excited.

New Years Resolutions

Normally when I reflect on the past year, I make new education resolutions for the next one. Since becoming pregnant I have noticed a huge switch from my education based focus to a focus on myself and my upcoming family.

Today I am 6 months pregnant. I am growing life inside of me and it is pretty incredible. I’ve decided to not push myself as I normally do for my resolutions this year. I’m going to focus on me and my family. Here are my 2016 New Year Resolutions.

  • Trust my intuition
  • Take care of myself and my family
  • Be kind to myself
  • Do things that make me happy: read, make crafts, draw, cook and bake
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Do not compare myself to others

Seems like a great start to a new year and a new member of our family.

Classroom Technology Usage Posters

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As we use more and more technology in our classrooms, I find myself getting confused about which students I can post pictures of on our classroom website, twitter and who is allowed to skype.

At the beginning of the year, when you collect your technology in the classroom permission forms, you can make these posters so that students, staff and visitors know which students they can take pictures of.  It is also a great reminder for you to remember who not to post on your classroom blog and twitter account.

If you know me well, you know that I have a love for Mario Brothers. Here are some examples of the posters using Mario and Luigi.

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This resource should be printed and displayed on your classroom wall and should be easily seen in the classroom.

Click on any of the pictures or on this link to get the free downloadable resource with the 4 different display options.

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Debating Report Cards

A couple of days ago the Toronto Sun posted an article written by Catherine Porter about Ontario Report Cards called “Honesty and report cards prove a toxic mix.” The articles states that teachers are frustrated with the positive language they must use due to the Ministry of Education and principals push to keep parents happy. To read the article, click here.

The problem they are stating that teachers can not communicate really how students are doing because they have to put a positive spin on everything written.

Here is a quote from the article “…instead of telling parents their kid was disorganized and his desk was messy, the teacher now writes: “Johnny consistently places his materials inside his desk in a random order. He is highly encouraged to adopt a more streamlined organizational style, so that during in-class work periods he is able to locate his documents with greater ease.”

I honestly think that times are changing. Education is in the middle of the biggest flux that it has ever experienced. In the past, schools were a one room school house in the tiny local community. When I was attending school (1986-2001), it was a school that contained several separate classrooms but you only interacted with your own class.

Now with our world of ever changing technology, school has to be different. We can connect with other schools, authors, and experts globally at the touch of a button. We need our students to be able to think critically, communicate clearly, collaborate, problem solve and be creative.

Below is Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson’s series, report card from 1971-1972.

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So what has changed since 1971? In Ontario, we have a section at the top of our reports that focus on Learning Skills: Responsibility, Initiative, Organization, Independent Work, Collaboration and Self Regulation. We have also added comments to the report cards so parents have more information on what was learned. But comparing the report card now and from 1971, they are pretty much the same.


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With all of the changes in our world and with technology, shouldn’t our report cards have evolved as well?    

How we should be raising our girls

New (1)

Growing up as a girl, you are constantly told “don’t get dirty,” “be kind,” “be the better person,” and “don’t cause any trouble.”

Growing up this way, I realized that I was being told to listen, not to ask questions, do as you’re told; smile, but don’t talk. Looking back now, I can see that.

The huge problem that I have with this is that we are training our girls to be treated badly.

I think we should start raising our girls to stand up for what they believe in, ask questions, to be brave and to know they can accomplish anything.

I know this movement has already begun, but daily I see a difference between the way we treat boys and girls and this gets transferred to our students and children.

We need to encourage our students to be risk taskers, to ask questions and to stand up for what they believe in, no matter what their gender is.


It’s not a competition

Becoming Connected

Blogging and being in Twitter has changed my life and my teaching. By connecting with other amazing educators I am continually inspired. I can’t help but feel like I’m not doing enough. I see educators travelling around the world presenting, creating global projects, writing books, tweeting all the time and I wonder how I can compete with that?

Life is not a competition (2)

I can’t. It isn’t possible. I need to focus on my own journey. I’ve only really been teaching for 2 years and in that time, I believe I’ve gone beyond and above.

We all have our own journey. We all travel at our own pace. If I keep focusing on making a difference, I will get there.

My 1st time teaching teachers

As teachers, we always teach students. I have taught students from kindergarten all the way to Grade 8 during my 7 year career as a teacher. Teaching teachers is new to me though.

I began this journey since I want to become a Google trainer. I have done some training through my youtube how to videos but I thought before applying to be a Google trainer I should teach some teachers in real life.


I transferred schools and noticed that teachers in my new school only use gmail in GAFE and I wanted to share how amazing and powerful these tools are. I sent out an email containing a Google form and asked which Google apps they would be interested in learning about. After their feedback I set up a time where most people could come, and a schedule.

Last Tuesday was our first training that focused on Gmail. I noticed that teachers are just like students. They have questions, they want to try out their learning right away, and they need one on one help and guidance sometimes. I also really noticed that teachers just like students learn at their own pace and the trainer needs to follow the flow of the audience. My group started working on making labels so we didn’t get to finish my training. It was fine because they were excited about it.

Excited to train them all about Google Drive next Tuesday!