What do the teachers do when P.A. Days are called? As a student, this question would cross my mind from time to time over the course of the school year. “Do they get the day off too?” “Is it like a long weekend for everyone?”, I would wonder as I slept in and spent most of the morning in my P.Js and relaxing. However, as it turns out, P.A. Days are a busy time for teachers, and my recent Practicum experiences have given me direct insight into this topic.
Today, I had the opportunity to attend a P.A. Day at my host school, my second time doing so as a professional. As a whole, I can honestly say that I found today’s sessions to be a meaningful chance for me to both gain new knowledge, and to reflect upon my personal reasons for entering the teaching field. We started the morning by sharing recent examples of success in the school, using the app called SeeSaw. This app allows educators to upload photos that they have taken of their students during moments of connection, engagement, accomplishment, etc., and to comment on these pictures throughout the entire school year. What I love most about this system is its capability to capture and store all of the “little victories” that are so often overlooked and taken for granted during the hectic and demanding daily lives we lead as teachers. The pictures remind us that we ARE in fact making a positive impact on the lives of children, and in taking photos and celebrating with students in the moment (no matter how briefly) we can help them to develop a stronger sense of confidence and self-efficacy. Even if the school I end up working in some day does not use SeeSaw, I can definitely see myself incorporating it into my own practices.
After some review of recent Professional Learning initiatives taken on by the staff, we used a gallery walk exercise to explore the idea of play-based approaches to Numeracy. Each table center made use of a different game or manipulative to teach students various Mathematics skills and concepts, and they were very similar to the strategies that have been discussed in length within my curriculum course (which was comforting and very reassuring!).
Finally, the Principal shared with us some recent stories of hope and student success, and read from an article that is now circulating online called “Dear Parent: About THAT kid”. It was incredibly touching, and the emotion in the room was very evident as the session concluded. And as I sit in my empty host classroom, now working away at some lesson plans and photocopying for the week ahead (and praying for no snow days! *fingers crossed*), I am filled with a refreshed sense of hope, optimism, and excitement to see my students tomorrow and to let them know, in small, subtle ways, that they matter to me.
**Here is the link to the original article, if anyone is interested. It’s definitely worth a read! http://missnightmutters.com/2014/11/dear-parent-about-that-kid.html