Greetings and welcome!
I don’t know about you, but every September, just like my students, I still feel the excitement and anticipation for the new school year! This year is certainly no exception and I hope you are looking forward to your year, trusting in your professional integrity, your training and experience, and your decision to have chosen a career where you can learn so much from your students in your role as teacher.
I’d like to introduce myself: My name is Beverly Papove and I am a new voice joining the writers on the Heart and Art blog. I have been a teacher for more than 20 years. My teaching experience has offered me the privilege of working in public and private systems in 4 provinces, in an Inuit community, in a Cree community and in Europe. I have taught kindergarten to university students, and I am currently teaching Grade 3 French Immersion for a fourth year. I look forward to sharing some stories and lessons I have learned that will be useful or, at the very least, entertaining!
Too often, as conscientious as teachers often tend to be, we sometimes find ourselves reinventing the wheel, when there is already a wealth of wisdom out there that is practical, simple, and meaningful. The teaching profession may have changed over many, many years, but we are still humans, whose basic needs have always been to belong, to feel safe and to enjoying the freedom to express ourselves and explore the world around us.
To that end, I started off the year by letting my students know that there are three things I think are really important; Safety, Respect, and Fun. I can get pretty silly and I certainly like to laugh, however, no respect? No fun. And no safety can mean someone gets hurt and that also is definitely not fun. These three goals pretty much go together and when they do, our classroom is a happy place to learn in. Moreover, having only three overall expectations makes it easy for everyone to remember and to achieve. I asked the students what they thought a safe, fun, respectful classroom would look like and they suggested ideas, activities and kind words. After our discussion, the students worked in small groups or individually to create colourful posters illustrating their ideas (for some reason, there is always at least one giant looping slide at the top of a long staircase in drawings of the ideal classroom… I haven’t yet quite figured out why…). The posters now serve as gentle reminders for us all as we work as a team, creating a healthy learning environment for the rest of the year, with or without an indoor super slide.