Over the past two years since graduating from the University of Regina in the Spring of 2012, I have been a substitute teacher in various elementary schools in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Also through that time, I was fortunate to have a 3 month full-time contract in a grade 4 classroom. One of the many things I like about being a substitute teacher is that I get to go into numerous different classrooms and see many different students. Over these past 2 years, and even before that when I completed my internship, I have been fortunate to develop positive teacher-student relationships with many kids.
One of the greatest feelings is walking into a school and having a student you’ve taught maybe once, or having kids who know that you’re a teacher say hi and get excited to see you. It has been great to see my internship class (grade 5 students) grow into mature, responsible, smart and caring 7th graders. It is great that they still say hi and that I get to see them every once in a while and to see how they have progressed as learners.
Sometimes, walking into a school can feel unwelcoming and that I don’t belong there. Some days, the staff are busy and doing their own thing and the kids are as well. On days like that, I don’t feel like being there. The school environment is not welcoming and I can’t imagine how a parent would feel in the same situation. Schools should be inviting and where parents and staff and the students feel safe, comfortable and willing to talk and engage with one another.
There is one school where no matter what is happening, I feel like I just don’t fit in. I am currently there this week for one of my friends, who teaches grade 5 and 6. I like being in her classroom because when I am with her kids and we are working and learning together, we have a great time together. The students are good together. They are welcoming and work together well. They are accepting of one another and inclusive of all, especially of those who don’t learn the ways that they do. The kids are energetic, talkative, and can have their crazy moments, just like all students and classes. So yesterday, the students truly made the learning environment. I must admit that this is one of my favourite classrooms to be in and groups of students to work with. Even though the school might not be the most welcoming, the students are.