Posts Tagged ‘personal stories’

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!

People are Awesome!

So this year I signed up again for the Reddit Gift Exchange for Teachers. Check out the post here.

When I signed up this year, I had asked for a book for my authors study I am doing with the Global Read Aloud. We are supposed to buy 6 Peter Reynolds books and read one per week and then share and discuss the books with other classes.

I really wanted to participate in this but buying all the books was pretty expensive, so I asked the Reddit Gift Exchange to help me.

Today, I came home to this.

I had no idea what was inside but when I opened it I started to cry.

Lynda (my gifter) had very generously bought all the books I needed for the Global Read Aloud. I cannot thank you enough! This really means the world to me and it will mean so much to my future students!

Thank you!

My experience becoming a Google Educator and some tips

I has kept on hearing about people being Google certified and I was interested. But what was it all about?

If you are interested in becoming a Google Educator, visit this website Google for Education. It has all of the information to begin your journey. In order to begin your training, go to training and then Get Certified.

In my experience I skipped the Learn the Basics section since I was using Google everyday but do what works best for you. If you feel comfortable, as I did, you can move onto Become a Google Educator. I had assumed, as I’m sure some of you assumed that if you use Google Apps everyday, you really don’t need to take the courses in Gmail, Docs & Drive, Calendar and Sites. We are WRONG! Read through the courses! I learned so much reading through them.

In order to become a Google Educator you need to take exams in Gmail, Docs & Drive, Calendar, Sites and you get the choice of one elective: Chrome Browser, Chromebooks, or Tablets with Google Play for Education. My elective that I took was Chrome Browser.

My experience taking these exams was a challenging one. To be fair, I have never been good at exams or really school for that matter. So to be self inflicting myself with 5 exams ‘for fun’ is CRAZY! I did find the exams very detailed and thorough. To be completely honest, I did fail the Gmail and Sites exams and when you fail an exam you have to wait 7 days to try it again.

Google Educator Test Details:

  • 90 minutes
  • 60 questions
  • able to mark them to come back to them
  • 15$ per test
  • if you fail, there is a 7 day waiting period and you have to pay again

Essential advice for becoming a Google Educator.

  • Read through the courses completely
  • Make notes if you need to
  • Keep the training open to quickly find something (Ctrl F)
  • Open and search for answers in google (see below)
  • When searching, use the tests language
  • Have search window and test window open side by side
  • if not sure of a question, mark it and come back to it

Help for exams:

Have these open when you take your exam!

One of my summer goals was to become a Google Educator and now my goal is complete!

Good Luck!

Reddit gifts for Teachers 2014

Do you know about Reddit? My friend called pinterest the lady version of reddit.

Reddit ”is an entertainment, social networking service and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links. Only registered users can then vote submissions “up” or “down” to organize the posts and determine their position on the site’s pages. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called “subreddits (From wikipedia”

Part of reddit is for gift exchanges and they host one once a year for teachers. You can sign up to give to teachers or to receive as a teacher. 

Last year I signed up and got some gifts. Check out the post here.

To sign up, please click here.

Think Tank

Recently I was on an Eduslam binge. Eduslam is a website that makes videos with amazing educators about awesome ideas they have. Watching their videos has definitely changed me as an educator and definitely worth a watch.
I was watching one Eduslam with Karl Lindgren-Steicher and he was talking about his creation, the Coffee Cue. A Coffee Cue or aka Brew Cue is when educators casually meet up, chat education and drink coffees or beer.

I loved this idea since it is so informal and yet it has the vibe of a smaller edcamp (which I of course love).

I finished watching the video and tweeted out that we should start a Coffee Cue in Ottawa. My friend and colleague Shauna Pollock (@misspollock) immediately tweeted me back about an idea she has been thinking about for 2 years.

So the idea of Think Tank was born. Shauna and I met in July 2014 to talk about the fine details. Please see Shauna’s blog post here.

Think Tank is a time to meet with other awesome educators, share ideas and collaborate.

Is this right for you? (taken from Shauna’s blog post)

  • Are you a passionate educator of some shape, form or role?
  • Do you live in the Ottawa area? Are you visiting the Ottawa area on a Think Tank Third Thursday?
  • Are you willing to use some of your personal evening time to meet with other passionate educators?
  • Do you have questions, dreams, ideas and plans you’d like to share?
Upcoming dates:
  • Thursday, September 18th, 2014 6 p.m.-whenever, 1000 Sushi Islands, 1696 Carling Ave., Ottawa
  • Thursday, October 16th, 2014 – location TBA
  • Thursday, November 20th, 2014 – location TBA

If you have any questions, please email me at, tweet me @classcollect and use the hashtag #thta.

To sign up to come to Think Tank, please visit Shauna’s blog post and enter your information into the Google form!

Becoming Google Certified

So I’m trying to become a certified Google Educator.

What is that? Well, check out this website for more details. For me, I’m trying to complete 5 different self directed courses and exams: Gmail, Calendar, Sites, Docs & Drive, and an elective which I’m choosing Chrome Browser.

For full disclosure, I’m studying for the Gmail exam right now but I have already tried and failed it. Taking a multiple choice exam through Google took me back to when I was taking Psychology in University. I do not do well in multiple choice tests at all. If there is an ‘all of the above’ or ‘non of the above’ options, I will choose it. I don’t know why. But taking these exams prove to me that test do not show what you know. You cannot test my passion for technology or my ability to problem solve.

Sometimes it is good for us teachers to be put back into the role of the student. I forgot what kind of student I am. I cannot just read through some documents online and then take an exam. I have always wished I was that type of student but I’m not, nor will I ever be that way. I need to read the material, I need to take notes in order for the material to sink in.

So here I am, reading the material for probability for the 5th time, making detailed notes so that I can pass these exams.

Thank you Google for reminding me why I don’t test my students nor will I ever again.

Decision time: Who do you want to be?

For so long I have been a supply teacher on a quest for a contract. I joined committees, created websites, attended workshops all to achieve that final goal.

Now that I have part of a contract, with hopefully more to come soon, I am trying to find a new goal.

Today, I was talking to Amy Laidlaw, a teacher and a teacherspayteachers product creator and she was discussing how awesome making products for teacherspayteachers is. Check out her teacherspayteachers store here. I was interested immediately at the idea of making new resources and sharing them. I began googling how to create teacherspayteachers products and watching tutorials. But how much can one person do? What kind of educator do I want to be?

I know I want to become an awesome educator. I want to reflect and continually make changes to my teaching practice to keep on improving. 

I know I want to continue to meet with other educators, sharing and discussing all things education.

Right now, I have a lot going on and coming up.

  • Teaching for my 2nd year

All of these projects help me become a better educator and share with other educators which is my goal. I need to make sure that when I commit to something, that it is helping me develop into who I want to become and that I have time to do that project well. 

Thank you Amy for sharing your passion and encouraging me to try something I would have never thought I could do. I would love to start my own teacherspayteachers store but it will be put on hold for now.

Free Teacher Planner

Hey guys,

Last year I really wanted to buy a teaching planner but didn’t want to spend the money and found that all of the premade ones didn’t fit my schedule or what I wanted.

So I created my own! It has:

  • fun, inspiration cover
  • place for your info
  • spot for birthdays
  • classroom volunteers
  • student/parent contact information
  • How students get home
  • monthly calendar
  • at a glance monthly teaching benchmarks
  • pages for staff & grade meetings
  • and Notes/ideas pages

For some reason, uploaded onto Google Docs it messes up the pages, so you may have to play around with it a bit. When you download it to Word, the alignment is perfect.

Click here for the Google Drive version or here for the pdf version.

Make sure you print this planner double sided!

Here are some pictures of the planner.






Projects by Jen : A Collaborative, Project Based Gold Mine

I have been following Jen Wagner on Twitter for a while now. I had no idea that she was the mastermind behind Projects by Jen that I just discovered.

Projects by Jen is an online project that occur with Pre K – Grade 6 students. There are so many projects that focus on curriculum based learning objectives but that are fun, collaborative and hands on. 

She has project listed from stacking Oreo’s (yum), to counting and tallying pumpkin seeds, to exchanging Holidays cards. All of these projects happen in your classroom as well as online where you skype, tweet, and blog with other classes around the world.

To learn more, go to or if you want to dive in, you can register here.

I’m so excited to participate this year! I hope you can join me!

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