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Friday, 25 January 2019

How I almost stopped being a Teacher! My journey!


Last year (maybe more than 12 months tbh) was a year of struggle, personal awakening and loads…LOADS of soul searching!


It was the worst time, it was the best time!
Leading up to 2018 I had a very full life, full of laughter and adventures, full of love and meaning, full of hardships and hurt.
Due to an incident I had when I was 23 my life changed completely, I got my first panic attacks and I learnt for the first time what fear, soul wrecking, happiness devouring, breath stopping fear was! I wasn't secure in my own body and mostly mind.That led to me hiding in my own life, my house, my secure square meters, avoiding friends, outings, life!

I did teach though, it was the only reason I was leaving my house every day. I loved teaching, I loved my kids, I loved having some sort of meaning ,some kind of drive! I couldn't go on holidays in the summer, so I taught, I couldn’t go on trips, so I taught. I wouldn’t go out so I was just working on my craft, reading , learning, creating resources for my class. It was a mix of passion and necessity.

During these years I had many great times and some beautiful experiences but most of all –and I didn’t realize at the time- I learnt so much about me, about the human soul and mind, about human behavior, about understanding and forgiving people. I studied people without even realizing and-let me tell you-it was one of the most precious gifts of life!

I had spent years thinking I'm wasting life because I was a caged bird …but it turned out I was learning! That knowledge helped me be better, get better, fly better and help others do the same. It helped me realize teaching wasn’t just about the sharing of academic knowledge and the training of skills, it was so much more! It was about helping students be who they really are, about acceptance, about guidance through dark times. What they say is true…”Sometimes you are the only reason a student comes to school”.

So many of my old students still communicate with me, tell me their successes and troubles. They still call me miss Stavroula in such a sweet way.

Fast forward a year ago. I was lost, so many things had changed in my life, so much of me had changed. All I could see was obstacles and hurt. The worst part though was that had saved me in the past, was adding to my misery instead of helping. I had no passion for teaching anymore. Various factors contributed to that, bad experiences with parents, nightmarish heads of schools etc. I couldn’t fly through teaching anymore, I wasn’t feeling I was contributing.

I came so, SO close to changing professions it scared me. Who was I if not a teacher? Heck if I knew! So I started doing what I had learnt so well! I started soul searching, I needed to figure out what was it that was REALLY draining me of my passion! I used the skills I acquired over the years I mentioned.  Happy to report I got to the bottom of it! I had let so many bad behaviors of people who weren’t or weren’t meant to be educators tell me how to teach! Why did I do that? I knew how to teach, I knew how to connect with kids, how to make them come to school with a smile! So I decided! I would never ever again work for schools or people that didn’t allow me to work the way I knew so well how to!

During summer I applied to over 20 schools and turned down-yes I TURNED DOWN-all of them! I was determined to clean for a living rather than teach if it meant I wouldn’t be able to do it how I wanted to! Don’t get me wrong, I really needed a job and money, I had rent, bills etc. But I wouldn’t let my fire be extinguished again. A few weeks before schools started I went on a few more interviews and I finally found a school I liked!
Its not perfect, nothing is! But it’s where I can teach how I want!
Never let anyone tell you who you are, what kind of teacher you are! Only kids can answer that and if you see them smile, if you see them proud, then you know what kind of teacher you are! Own it!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Christmas Tips and Activities




Knock knock…Who’s there?....It’s Mary!...Mary who?...Merry Christmas!!!!

I know, I’m in a silly mood and why not, it’s the most beautiful season of all! Or..isn’t it?

Our students can be more of a struggle around this time of the year! We survived Halloween and Halloween sugar rush with them, going for Thanksgiving and they can’t hold their enthusiasm for Christmas…well everything! #meneither

Well take a deep breath and remember there are so many creative and fun activities you can do before Christmas! Besides you can theme everything! #xmasthemedresources

Listening



Oh my!!! I love practicing Listening,especially with ESL students, during Christmas. There are so many songs and even short stories they can work on! There are a lot of Christmas songs/carols that can be incorporated in a listening lesson such as: Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer; Little Drummer Boy, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Jingle Bells, Silent Night and Frosty the Snowman! Another great idea apart from using songs for listening is to read a dialogue or story related to Christmas, your students can answer questions based on what they’ve heard or  give their own two cents about it.

Reading



Now, reading can be a real treat during Christmas with so many lovely Christmas related stories and books out there. Students can practice so many skills while having fun and even learning something new. They can also learn more about Christmas traditions in other countries or what Christmas means to different people. There are also many Reading Comprehension resources you can use to teach that are great fun.

Speaking



ESL students can benefit greatly this time of year because the subject of Christmas is a fun one to talk about.
Role playing and acting out the nativity story are two brilliant ways to encourage students to think outside the box and answer questions like: Which reindeer is your fav and why? What do you think Santa does the rest of the year? Have you ever heard or seen Santa? Do you think Christmas should be cancelled?
You can also have ss narrate a Christmas story and others ss ask them questions, which I’ve found is quite fun and the interaction helps them communicate and bond.

Writing



Last but certainly not least!
There are so many Christmas writing related activities you can do! Just a few of my very favorite ones are:
Write a Christmas card
Write a Christmas recipe
Write a letter to Santa
Write instructions on how to go to North Pole
Write an Elf diary entry on Christmas Eve
Write a review on your favorite Christmas movie/book
Students can also do shorter writing tasks such as quizzes, crossword puzzles or how many words can be made from the letters CHRISTMAS TREE?

See? No need to despair! It’s a fun time, enjoy it!

Here are some ideas of resources you can use <3

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Tips For New Teachers - A Survival Guide



It’s been 19 years now that I’ve been teaching and I must say even though I have enjoyed and loved every single one of them #allthefeels I wish I knew when I started what I know now.

They say the best school is experience and they are right!

Throughout the years I have researched and studies ways to teach, the best methods and been to more seminars than I can count in order to improve and become a better teacher.

What is a good teacher though? What makes a great teacher?

The truth is no matter how many different methods you try, no matter how much you educate yourself on your field it all comes down to how much you can get your teaching across to your students, how much the LIKE being in your class and how well you can adjust to many different personalities.

There are many key strategies and details, big or small on how you can go about teaching a classroom but I have concluded to these MAIN 5!

My best tip no 1
BE CREATIVE

Kids get bored, there I said it! We get bored (let’s be real)
We both need to have fun since we spend so many hours of our lives in a classroom.
Kids learn more and way better through creative means. Undrstanding how important play is for kids is key! So research ways to make your lesson more interesting, there are thousand of articles on the Web #yayinternet and so many resources made from teachers for teachers!
Use crafts, songs, movement!
Engagement is KEY! The best way for a kid to get engaged is to find a lesson interesting and fun, so be CREATIVE!

My best tip no 2
BE COLLECTED/ORGANIZED

Wow that’s important y’all!
You can’t teach properly if you aren’t organized!

Use planners, checklists, To Do lists, markers, boxes, everything you could possibly need to have every step of your teaching life organized!

Make teachers plans, sub plans (yes!), have your week planned…well have your year planned honestly!

When you know what you are doing each day, you are not as stressed and you can handle the unexpected way easily!
Have a place for EVERYTHING! Organize your classroom beforehand and LABEL EVERYTHING.

Make a schedule for your own time, know when you plan and organize so you can find time to relax and rejuvenate!

My best tip no 3
BE CALM

When you have 20+ kids probably wanting to run, play and yell more than anything, conferences, toxic colleagues or…(parents), a headache, no time to eat or go to the toilet and 2000 papers to grade, yelling sounds like a great option! #NOT

Take a deep breath, there’s always a better solution!

To start with if you want a smooth running year you need to set the rules at the beginning! Spend the first days explaining how you want your students to behave, how the lesson goes, procedures and rules! TRUST ME it will save your life! Your inner peace too!

Establish a good communication with parents! A weekly newsletter can prove to be extremely helpful! Notes home a detailed journal about your students can help a lot when parents ask how their kids are doing. Oh and smile!

My best tip no 4
BE CONNECTED

Do you know whose the teacher’s best friend? (apart from coffee) It’s other teachers!!!

Find like-minded teachers and join a community. There are many groups of teachers online willing to help and wanting help. There are FB pages and groups and even collaborative blogs.

Teachers are amazingly helpful creatures!

Ask questions, ask for help and give help. Collaborate instead of competing!
#teachershelpteachers #teachersloveteachers

My best tip no 5
BE LOVING

Nothing makes a student want to learn more than feeling they are loved! Many students come to school to be loved, love them and they will learn too, just on their own time!

There are many ways to show how much you appreciate your students and reinforce their confidence!

Just saying “well done” can be enough sometimes but most of the times you need something more hands on like stickers, brag tags, positive notes home!

They make a HUGE difference! I can’t stress that enough!
ALWAYS insist on the POSITIVE!

Being a teacher is a state of mind and it takes courage and heart! Love what you do and it will reward you!

Love,


Stavroula

P.S If you need help with resources you can use such as calendars, teacher's binder or brag tags and stickers you can check my store on TpT.

*the clip art used in the photos is by Educlips

Friday, 19 May 2017

Giveaway and Sale!!!

1)It’s the end of the school year which means many happy memories and
2)at the same time I reached my 500 followers on Instagram! Woo woo!!! I know it’s not a huge achievement for many but for me not being so Social Media savvy…it is H-U-G-E #happyteacher


 To celebrate this personal milestone, from the 19th of May until the 26th of May, I will be hosting a Giveaway! Two of my products will go to two lucky winners!!!
The first is my Summer Literacy Packet


And the second is my Math Literacy Packet


a Rafflecopter giveaway

On top of the Giveaway I will be hosting a 20% sale for my ENTIRE store!!! The sale includes my best selling products like “Inflectional endings and my newest products like my “Memory Book”

Thank you for celebrating with me friends!
Love,

Stavroula

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

End of The Year Memory Book!

As the end of the school year approaches I wanted to offer my students one last surprise, a keepsake – an End of Year Memory Book!
I thought it would be a lot of fun to look back at their book in a couple of years!


I decided to create a Memory Book that would have everything my students need to craft their very own personalized Memory Book.


I wanted them to be able to recap what they learned this year and save everything from achievements and progress to their favorite memories of the year and plans for the future.


I’m pretty sure my students (and yours) will have endless fun recalling the best of the last year with their friends but recording it all in this memories book will provide them a magical window into their own past showing how much they’ve changed, progressed and grown for years to come.


It comes with many Colorful Printable Achievement Certificates you can award to all your amazing students for everything from the best personality to the most amazing readers and spellers.
I do hope you have an amazing summer ahead of you but also that you have great memories from the school year we’re leaving behind!



Love,

Stavroula