Teaching in Colombia vs. the U.S

Teaching in Colombia vs. the U.S

My Teaching Resolution.pngHello and happy Saturday. The other day, I was watching Early Edventures on YouTube and I got an idea for a post. You see, teaching in Colombia can be very different from teaching in the States, at least from the experience that I’ve had. I’ve made a list of six differences I’ve found, which I’ll share with you today. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Transportation 

I have worked in three schools, and in all of them, teachers had the chance to ride the school buses to and from school. I don’t drive, so without the possibility of using the school bus, I would have had to rely on public transportation.

2. Arrival time 

From the YouTube videos I watched, teachers in the U.S get to school earlier and leave later than students. In the schools I’ve worked at, teachers got to school at the same time as the students and left at the same time, except for one day a week, when we had meetings. I very rarely got to school or stayed after “contract hours,” if I’m being honest.

3. Dress code

Now, I don’t know if this has been an unlucky coincidence for me or what, but I feel like, at least in the schools I’ve worked at, dress codes are stricter than in the States. In two of the schools I had to wear black bottoms and a lab coat, and in the other one, I could wear navy bottoms and white or ivory tops. I wish I could rock all the colorful stuff teachers in the U.S do.

4. Planning 

I’m sure that teachers in the States plan in advance, but they just don’t show it in their YouTube videos. However, I feel like there is more flexibility for them to just come up with an idea one day and execute it the next one. Again, I envy that freedom.

5. State/ Standardized Testing

This is something I don’t envy because thankfully for me, I’ve only once had my students undergo testing of this kind, and I wasn’t responsible for grading the tests. People from an agency went to the school and administered the test. There was even somebody in the room with me monitoring the kids. With the younger kids, I could design the tests, and I graded them according to the standards I had set.

6. Lunch and snacks 

I would have been very sad if I’d have had to bring my own food to school. Things don’t work that way here. Teachers are usually given snacks and lunch, at least in the places I’ve worked at. Now, in two of the schools, this was discounted from our salary, but it was a very low price, and the food was great.

What differences have you noticed regarding your work among various places? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Kindergarten Teacher Essentials

Kindergarten Teacher Essentials

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Hello and happy Monday. When I was in university, I took classes on how to plan lessons, how to develop materials, and even how to apply tests to students, but there wasn’t a single class in which I was told about the equipment I would need for teaching (and the amount of money that would represent). I learned with this experience, and at some point, I hand kinda learned by heart what those essentials were. Today I’m going to share with you the things you seriously need in order to survive teaching kindergarten. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Hand sanitizer

I used to have a spray one, and I used it for myself and my students. Kids have the ability to get their hands sticky without any apparent cause just moments before being given a worksheet, so keeping this at hand is going to be very useful. Is it going to protect you from germs? Not really, but at least it’s going to give you the feeling that you’re not covered in them.

2. Stickers and a sticker album 

It’s kind of obvious why you’ll need stickers, right? I used to have a box at home, and I there I’d have tons of sticker sheets, and what I’d do was “refill” my sticker albums which what I had at home. This means that I only took a sticker album to school. It was more practical for me to take just the album, which is the size of a small notebook, but I have had colleagues who had a box, just like the one I had at home. Anyway, stickers are a must.

3. Water bottle

If you teach kindergarten, chances are you’re going to be standing up and moving around all day. And let me tell you, coffee won’t cut it. You’ll need water to keep hydrated, yes, but also to keep your throat from going dry and your voice from being hoarse. Water is just the best thing ever, in my opinion.

4. Lip balm

Lip balm is like a water bottle for your lips. You’re talking all day long, and you need to keep your lips nice and moisturized, or they’ll crack and be all chapped and dry. Chapped lips hurt, and you don’t want to be in pain at work. Keep one in a drawer that only you get access to, and make a habit of applying lip balm every time you can.

5. Colorful markers/pens

I like a mix between these two, so something like flair pens or really thin markers. Write notes to parents with these, use them to grade papers. There’s nothing sadder than to see a kindergarten teacher use a boring black pen if they could use something happier and more colorful. I’m telling you, these are a must.

6. All the crafty stuff

Personally, I have my own stash of crafty stuff at home, so when I was at school I’d use the school supplies, but I also had my things at home when needed. Have your own stash of cardboard, yarn, glue, glitter, and all things crafty. I’m telling you, they’ll come in handy.

Those are my essentials. In the comments below tell me about an essential I might have missed.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

High School Teacher Tag

High School Teacher Tag

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Hello and happy Saturday. Today I’m going to be answering the High School Teacher Tag, so I’m not going to make this intro super long. Let’s get started, shall we?

 

 

1. How many years have you been teaching?

This is my third official year as a school teacher.

2. What grades/classes have you taught?

I’ve taught pre-k and kindergarten English and science, first grade English, and ninth and tenth grade English.

3. What are you currently teaching?

Trick question. actually, because right now I’m on vacation. For the purposes of this post, though, I’ll say I teach ninth and tenth grade English.

4. How many students in your classes?

26 to 31. I had 111 students total.

5. What has been your biggest class?

31 students. Complete chaos. Do not recommend under any circumstances.

6. What has been your smallest class?

Eleven students. Absolute heaven. Would totally recommend.

7. What is your ideal class size?

Fifteen to twenty is nice because you get enough variety and diversity without having an entire circus in your class.

8. What’s your favorite online resource?

Kahoot. I have a post on it, if you want to check it out, which you totally should.

9. Describe your perfect classroom.

I think this question refers to the physical space. My perfect classroom would have a nice carpeted area, enough space for desks to be well-distributed so that I can walk around while students work, a TV, smart board or a projector, and lots of storage space as well as big bookshelves.

10. What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I love seeing my students learn, like being a part of their developmental process is just amazing for me.

11. What’s your favorite thing to teach?

I love teaching everything related to animals. Ecosystems, animal species, you name it, I’m your girl.

12. What’s your least favorite thing to teach?

As a language student, I love to learn about grammar, but as a teacher I know it can be boring. I had a tough time figuring out how to teach the passive voice to my ninth graders, but if you read my recent post on it, you’ll see we did fine.

13. What is some advice that you would give to a beginning teacher, someone who is thinking about going into teaching, or someone who is already teaching?

Try to relax a bit and be open to learning. Ask for help when needed and when convenient, but also know when to rely on what you know and what you think is best. Observe veteran teachers if you can because that’s always helpful when you’re trying to figure out what to do and what not to do. Be ready to mess up, but learn from your mistakes and move forward. I kept a journal of what I did each day in class my first year and it gave me a lot of insight for the following year in terms of things I should have done or things I shouldn’t have. It also made planning my second year way easier.

I would like to tag all of you in this one, so pick a question or two to answer in the comments below. If you want to ask a question of your own, please do so, I’d be glad to answer it.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Five Things I Learned Working With Teens

Five Things I Learned Working With Teens

100th day (1).pngHello and happy Saturday. The time has come for me to sit down and reflect upon my findings as a high school teacher, especially after having taught young kids before and being put in a situation in which I really had no choice but to take a job I wasn’t sure I could tackle. Here are five things I learned while working with teens. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Teens want attention from the teacher

If you’ve taught younger kids, then you for sure have been struck by and avalanche while sitting down by your desk minding your own business. You know, little kids wanting to hug you or touch your hair or tell you how much they love you. Well, teenagers won’t do that for sure, but they’ll do things to grab your attention, just like little kids do. I got kids complimenting my makeup and wardrobe, or asking me whether I’d heard this song or this artist. I had kids around my desk, just making conversation or asking random questions. And once I was by my desk and they had to fill out some pages from their workbook, and I noticed they were forming a circle around my desk. They weren’t talking, just doing what I’d asked them to do, but they were around me, just like little kids.

2. Teens like little kid stuff (sometimes)

I’m not telling you to become a kindergarten teacher with them because they’ll probably think you’re ridiculous, but there are things I used to do with my babies that worked with teens as well. I’ve told you about some already, like the rewards and candy I gave them, or the contests we used to have in class. Even the happy face system is something I doubted would work, but it did. Find which movies they liked when they were younger and play them. They’ll love it.

3. Teaching high school is not for everyone

I’ve said some of the good, so now let’s transition to some of the bad, okay? This is something that really shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it sort of did, at least to me. I always thought that I would be great teaching any grade or level, but that my preference were younger kids. I realized that it wasn’t just a matter of preference, but of skill and attitude. There are some skills high school teachers need to have and that I don’t, but besides that, I honestly don’t really like teenagers that much and I know some people do. My heart wasn’t in it, but I think in other circumstances I’d still hate it. Teaching high school isn’t for me.

4. Teens are manipulative

Over the course of three months I had students cry to me about grades, talking to my boss about situations they deemed “unfair” before talking to me about them, I had students speak in Spanish to me during the English class even though I repeatedly told them to speak in English as a sign of respect. I had students lie to me about assignments they hadn’t handed in when they were supposed to, and all sorts of situations that I’d never had to deal with. I’m not saying all teenagers are like this and I’m not saying they act this way all the time, but sometimes they’re ready to spot a naive soul, maybe a young inexperienced teacher, like they thought I was, to get an easy grade in a subject.

5. They’re not all going to like you 

I think it’s easy being liked by young kids. I think it’s easy enjoying the classes you teach them, and I think that was a big shock for me, if not the biggest. I do think if students like you they’ll enjoy more the classes and they’ll learn more efficiently, so I make it a priority to become the teacher they like because of the content of my classes and the way I deliver my lessons, but also because of the kind of person I try to be. There were students that didn’t like me, though, and in a way I just settled with that fact and didn’t give it much thought after.

What are some other things you believe I missed in this post? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Treats/ Thank-You Cards for Students

Treats/ Thank-You Cards for Students

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Hello and happy Saturday. Yes, I literally took a screenshot from Instagram because I forgot to take a regular picture of this. Awkward, I know. What I mean by “this” is a bunch of treats I gave to my students with thank-you cards, which I gave them because they helped me with a presentation for a project fair at school.

Now, I’m sharing this post because I want to open the discussion in terms of things some teachers do that others don’t, and especially those extra details that many consider unnecessary. Did I have to buy cookies for my students and give them a card that said “here’s a treat for being so sweet”? Definitely not. Actually one of my co-teachers told me that her students sort of complained to her because I’d given my kids candy and she hadn’t. That got me thinking hard on some things I do that are pretty much second nature to me at this point, but that some teachers don’t even consider.

I came from teaching little kids, and if you had taught anything from pre-k to third grade, you know that it’s just inevitable to shower your students with nice things. I don’t mean I used to give candy to my babies every single day, but it just came easy for me to think of treats, rewards, prizes, or whatever you’d like to call them.

Because when I started teaching high school I was so overwhelmed both professionally and emotionally, I felt like I stopped putting effort into some aspects of my teaching, and that it wasn’t fair to my students the fact that I wasn’t giving them my 100%. And yes, to me giving it my all means cute decor, it means fun activities that have us all engaged, and it means that something extra.

The cookies were very cheap and making the cards took me under ten minutes, so it wasn’t like I spent a lot of time and effort in the making. And I personally love giving presents. I enjoy looking at people’s faces when I give them something, especially when they’re not expecting it. I am going to keep doing this because it makes me genuinely happy and because I feel it’s a part of who I am as a teacher.

I will try to avoid giving food rewards to my students in the future, but that’s just a personal position and a weird teacher goal I want to achieve. If you see in the thumbnail, I asked my followers whether they liked rewarding students, and I want to ask the same to you. In the comments below, let me know what kinds of rewards you use, if your answer was “yes.”

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

Goodbye Letter to My Students

Goodbye Letter to My Students

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Boys,

It’s now been over a month since the last class I gave you, and I’m finally sitting down to write you this goodbye letter, although I’m almost 100% sure you’re not going to read it. I’m writing this for myself, too, so that one day I can come back to it and understand why I decided to leave in what seemed like a very abrupt way.

I’m not going to justify myself, let alone to you, my boys, but I feel the need to tell you that my decision of leaving was nothing abrupt. Most of you had me as your teacher last year, and though we had a blast, that first year wasn’t easy for me and I felt like quitting too many times to even tell. I even looked for other jobs, and interviewed at other schools.

By then I only had one thing clear in my mind: come 2018, I was going to leave. That had always been my life plan, and I was going to pull through with it. In the end, I did stay for this school year, and things were so much better. I was having so much fun, I didn’t realize the clock was still ticking, and that meant 2018 was about to start.

At first, I thought I was going to be able to finish the school year in Colombia,. I thought I could have the best of both worlds, even if it was for a short time. So, in my mind, I was going to finish the school year with you, announce that I wasn’t going to continue the next school year, and then travel to the States and start the next year as if nothing had happened.

That would’ve been great, and it would also have been what many people expected. I started looking for programs in the States when the 2017 school year began. I was balancing my work, which was my present, with a future that was becoming more clear as the days went by. I signed up for three different programs in the DC Metro area. At the end I was left with one option of getting certified as a teacher in Baltimore city. I’d never set foot in Baltimore, but I went through with the process.

Yes, boys, this all happened as I went to school and gave classes. Only other teacher knew for sure about my plans, but it wasn’t hard to keep quiet when things were still kind of uncertain. December was the month when things started to become more real. I first got an email saying I was a finalist for the Baltimore program, and in order to continue, I had to follow some steps. Then, after following said steps, I got another email that confirmed that was actually an official member of the 2018 cohort.

Boys, when I got the news I was on vacation with my family. I’d even had to ask for two days at school, which was something I hated doing. I read very carefully the welcome letter, which said that I not only was expected to be in Baltimore for the summer training program, but also I had to attend an event in March, and another one in May.

I’d thought about continuing working until June, when I’d have to move to the States, but the information I’d gotten regarding the other trips made me question the decision I’d previously made. I thought about quitting my job in January, so that you could have the chance to be with the new teacher from the beginning of the semester. I didn’t do it, boys, because I allowed myself to be selfish. On one hand, I knew I had no business staying at home for so long, when I could work for all of January and February. I also knew that those two months of work meant money I really needed to start saving because I wouldn’t be able to start working for a while.

We have seen each other twice since I quit, and I know that you probably think I’ll go back, that I’m going to be your teacher again, that things are going to be the way they were. I’m sorry that you thought that, but I’m not going back to  school anymore. I’ve been okay during this month, and oddly enough, I don’t really miss what I left. I’m not saying I don’t miss you, but what I mean is that I’m  ready to meet other kids that, like you, I will be able to call mine.

Happy Saturday, my boys!

Love, Miss Camila

 

On Bad Teachers

On Bad Teachers

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Hello and happy Saturday. As much as I love the movie “Bad Teacher,” you know, the one with Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel, I never thought I’d encounter a real life Bad Teacher on my first year working at a school.

Now, the bad teacher I know is not at all like Cameron Diaz’s character in the movie, but I’m sure that if you read some of their defining traits as a bad teacher, you’ll reach the conclusion that you too know a bad teacher (or have the misfortune of working with one).

Let me tell you the story of E, yes, the same E who is a teacher bully. They are a bad teacher, which I think is what causes them to be systematically mean with their co-workers. Then again, I’m no psychologist, I’m a teacher trying to do my best with my kids. Here’s a list of things I’ve noticed E does, which in my opinion make them a bad teacher.

1. They’re always sitting down 

I’ll be the first one to admit that teaching is a physically exhausting job, and that sometimes we have to take advantage of those minutes we get to sit down and rest our aching feet and back. I sometimes sit while in class, when my students are working on centers or doing some independent work I will then correct, but I’m not ALWAYS sitting down. Bad teachers don’t even stand up when giving instructions, they spend entire lessons by their desk, as if their butt were glued to the chair.

2. They don’t make classes fun

Even if you’re working with adults, you should try to include a fun activity in your classes. Play a song (or sing it yourself), do a three-minute dance break in the middle of class, especially if you see that your students are falling asleep. Bring a ball to class and play a game as a warm-up activity. Unless you’re a bad teacher, then I’m sure your students will be sitting down during the entire lesson, not uttering a word or even mustering a sound. That’s probably because they fell asleep out of boredom.

3. All their classes are the same

Consistency is very important for teachers and students alright, and establishing a routine is in my opinion one of the keys to successful classes, but that doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same each and every lesson. Whenever I pass by E’s class I see the students sitting down with their notebooks or student books open, completing exercises. And what’s worse, I can’t differentiate when they’re working on science, math or Spanish because they do the exact same things in every subject.

4. They don’t establish connections with students throughout the year

I noticed this whenever I had to cover for E and students didn’t ask where they were or why they were absent. Students didn’t miss E, and they were just fine with them being replaced by another teacher, even if just for a day. E was courteous with parents and students, but there wasn’t really a bond between them.

5. They don’t really focus on academics

We are teachers and as such we are bound to talk about our students. Yes, I know that as teachers we become friends and hence talk about other subjects as well, but man, every time E talk to me it was to bicker about other teachers, some of whom were never even at school anymore. Sometimes they even talked about parents and kids. E was the first one to throw shade on somebody but was always quiet when an academic discussion was going on, like any advances in education, any possible adaptations in the way things were done didn’t really matter to them. Like they don’t really care about improving because they don’t care about being good teachers in the first place.

Now help me and the rest of the world identify bad teachers to get rid of them. What is another characteristic of a bad teacher I didn’t mention in this post? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

The Teacher Tag

The Teacher Tag

100th day.pngHello and happy Saturday. Let me tell you something, I love teaching-related tags because I love hearing from other people’s experiences and reflecting on my own. This is why I decided to share with you another Teacher Tag, this one inspired by The Tutu Teacher, who is absolutely fantastic. I’ll list each question and write my answer below, and I encourage you to share your answers in the comments as well. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. How long have you been teaching? 

I’ve actually worked as a private tutor and as a teacher for almost four years, but this is currently my second year working as a school teacher.

2. What grades have you taught? Talk a little bit about your background. 

Before starting working at a school, I worked with kids from basically every grade in elementary and middle school. Currently, though, I teach Pre-K, Kindergarten, and the equivalent of first grade.

I have a BA in Teaching Modern Languages from a very prestigious university in Colombia, which is where I’ve lived my whole life. I always knew that I wanted to become a teacher and never really considered other career paths. I enjoy teaching kids from every school grade, but I would never see myself teaching adults. I’m especially passionate about bilingual education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, especially if their native language is Spanish.

3. What grade do I currently teach and where? 

Again, I teach Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Transition at a boys school in Bogota, Colombia.

4. What is my school’s mascot?

I’m almost certain we don’t have one. School mascots are not something common in Colombia.

5. How many students are in my classroom? 

I’m not a homeroom teacher, so I don’t have my own class. Last year I taught two Pre-K classes with eleven students each, one Kindergarten class with sixteen students, and two Transition classes, one with seventeen students, and the other one with eighteen. That means in total I had 73 students.

6. What is my ideal class size?

I’m not going to lie, I love that my Pre-K classes are so small because that makes everything more manageable and personalized, but to me a class of fifteen students is just about perfect.

7. What is my favorite coffee drink? 

We’ve been through this, haven’t we? I’m a straightedge, I don’t drink coffee. At school I always have a water bottle. Water is my fuel.

8. What is my favorite online resource?

Okay, this is funny because literally right before I typed the question, I opened Pinterest. I’ve had a Pinterest account for I don’t know how long and it’s really made me a better teacher. I get inspiration from Pinterest to do bulletin boards, anchor charts, I have access to a ton of free resources and cool TpT stores I didn’t know of, I can discover ways in which my life as a teacher can get easier…and I’m just talking about teaching stuff here.

9. Describe your perfect classroom? 

I honestly don’t know if this has to do with the actual physical space or with my students. In both cases I think it all depends on how I’m feeling. In my previous job I had a tiny room for my tutoring sessions, but I made it my own. I made posters with the “classroom rules”, I put dividers in the whiteboard to make a daily agenda, and I did this mini word wall. If it has to do with a physical space, I’d say my perfect classroom should feel like a safe place for anybody who comes in.

As for students, I think it’s kind of the same idea, you know? It’s all about the relationships I as a teacher get to establish with them. I know for a fact that the classes I’ve loved the most and the kid’s who’ve made the most progress with me were the ones I connected with from the start. I don’t expect perfectly behaved kids and I don’t expect students who do well on everything, but I love when I get a group of students that are open to learning, and who show me growth throughout the year. That’s my perfect classroom.

10. What are my favorite and least favorite things about teaching? 

My favorite thing about teaching is the fact that every day is different. Every class I teach is different. Yes, I have a schedule, but each lesson is unique. I love the fact that I need to be creative every second of the day, and that I use those creative ideas to make my classes the best they can be. And if for some reason, I can’t use an idea just yet, I can keep it for later (or, you know, Pin it). Obviously seeing the progress my students make is amazing and it’s what makes me wake up energized every day and be ready for whatever there is to come.

My least favorite thing about teaching, sadly, is encountering people whose main purpose is not seeing their students grow and advance. There are teachers who aren’t really passionate about what they do and who instead spend their time spreading negativity. That’s definitely not what you sign up for when you become a teacher.

11. What is some advice for beginning teachers?

Have fun. I was told this before I started my first year and I didn’t really take that piece of advice seriously, and trust me, I regret that now. New teachers have all this fresh theory and a ton of ideas and this desire to prove to everyone how good they are. And I’m saying this because last year I was just like that. It’s your first year and you’re bound to screw up, not once but many times, so don’t be so hard on yourself, not everything has to be calculated. Have fun! Play music in class, take your students outside, do a lesson on directed drawing. The kids will love it, but more importantly, you’ll be happy, and those memories will be the ones that’ll stay forever with you.

That was the Teacher Tag. Please feel free to answer these questions in the comments.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

Teachers Can Be Bullies

Teachers Can Be Bullies

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Hello and happy Saturday. One cool thing I’ve noticed about having a teaching blog and other teaching social media is the fact that other teachers share their experiences, which are very relatable, even if these experiences aren’t always nice and fun.

That’s how I stumbled upon a blog post by Simply Kinder called Teachers Who Bully Other Teachers. The timing was perfect because I’d been thinking about that issue for a while, and it was great having someone put into words what had been going in my mind, but it also gave me clarity and sort of pushed me into writing my own post on the subject. I think sometimes we ignore some issues because they don’t concern us directly, teaching-wise or not, but we still have to be critical when it comes to certain situations in our surroundings, even if we’re not personally affected.

As I finished my first year teaching a school, I reached the conclusion that I work with a teacher bully. Let’s call them E. Now, E is your typical case of a bad teacher who wants to hide the fact that they’re bad by creating controversy among their peers. We’ve all seen someone like that, and we always wonder why they’ve still got their job until we realize they’re close friends with the boss and are constantly going behind their colleague’s backs, telling on them.

This post, however, is not about bad teachers but teacher bullies, so let me stick to that (though let me know if you want me to write about characteristics of a bad teacher, and I’ll write a post on it). You might know a teacher bully if you have a colleague who’s always talking -gossiping- about everyone. And, trust me, it’s not easy to identify this trait at first because humans talk all the time, that’s how we communicate. But it’s not the fact that a person like E talks, is what they talk about. E, for example, used to tell me about things their colleagues did and said the previous years. I’m sure E did that so that my image of the other teachers was clearly biased, but I decided that I’d better hang out with E instead of the others. As I said, it’s hard to identify that a seemingly nice person is always saying bad things about the people they work with, but when you do, just don’t engage in those conversations.

When I noticed that the stories E was telling me were meant for me to side with them, I avoided situations when it was just me and them, which wasn’t hard given that the other teachers, the ones E wanted to drag, are nice and welcoming and I’ve become genuine friends with them. Obviously, there are moments when I have to interact with E and when doing so, I have to be a decent human being and show politeness. In Colombia there’s a saying that goes “decency doesn’t fight with anyone,” and so that’s what I do, I’m decent, polite, courteous, but I don’t engage in negative conversations.

The way I had E stop talking to me about other teachers, and really other people (they talked this way about kids and their parents sometimes), was actually fun, and if you’re faced with a teacher bully, I suggest you use it. So, basically every time E started talking about someone the way they did, I pulled a confused face, like I didn’t know why what they were telling me was so horrible. It was kind of like when someone tells a racist or sexist joke and you ask them to explain it to you. Sometimes E insisted though, persistent as bullies can be, so they’d go ahead and tell me a story I’d already heard from them. I patiently waited for them to finish and then said “yeah, you’ve already told me that one.”

Two things happened after I started using that strategy: 1) E stopped trying to systematically talk about our colleagues, at least with me; and 2) they no longer seem interested to have me as a sidekick. Bullies have a weak character, which is why they always tend to hate (envy) people who have a strong character, and they want to take advantage of people who seem weaker than them. Bullies often look for a sidekick, someone who agrees with them on everything and follows them around. Sadly, E found a new teacher, one of my friends to be their sidekick for almost the entire year.

A, this new teacher and probably my best friend at school, became E’s sidekick, more because they both had to work together throughout the year than a real affinity towards each other, but still. A is this kind, generous, at times a bit naive person, who we all like, but the other teachers tended to tiptoe around them because they were worried about what E could do or say. Yes, my reader friends, high school never ends.

It wasn’t until the end of the year, when we received some bad news about one of our colleagues, which I felt E was behind (remember I said the told on other teachers behind their backs), that I told A they should be careful what they say around E. I then found out that another teacher had warned A about exactly the same. This might sound super childish, and if you ask me, it is because we’re supposed to be teaching children how to live in a community and all that, but here we are, having to protect ourselves from one of our colleagues. That is, however, how bullies operate. They don’t focus on doing their job as best as they can because they know they’re bad at it, so they bring good teachers down.

Find a teacher or a group of teachers you feel comfortable around. Find that one friend with whom you can laugh and cry. Find that one person you won’t hesitate to tell something to, no matter how personal because you genuinely trust them. Beware of signs of a teacher bully, and stay away from them in the most decent way possible. Stick your relationship with that person to the strictly professional, and if you’re new, try to pick up on how other people interact with them; I’ve never seen a teacher who everyone says is nice hanging out by themselves in a get together.

Have you faced a teacher bully (or any other sort of bully)? How did you deal with them? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

Why You Need a Teacher BFF

Why You Need a Teacher BFF

My Teaching Resolution.pngHello and happy Saturday. Yes, I know today is teaching post day, but oddly enough, this post is intended for non-teacher. Hi, non-teacher friends, today I want to share with you the reasons why you need a teacher BFF. Let’s get started, shall we?

 

1. They’re super observational

As teachers, we need to keep our eyes open 24/7 and be aware of any changes our students show, whether it’s in attitude, behavior or their habits. That doesn’t just apply to our students though, so if you have a teacher BFF they’ll know whether you feel sad, upset, excited, or anything in between, and they’ll know it without you saying anything. They’ll also notice your new haircut and fancy clothes, and will genuinely compliment you for them. They’ll probably show more excitement than you.

2. They’ll help you when you decide to get crafty

Your sweethearts birthday is in two weeks and you decided them it would be cool to make them a scrapbook…from scratch? Call your teacher BFF, they’ll either go over to your place with all of their supplies packed in a suitcase, or tell you to go to their place and help you out. Not only will they help you with actual manual work, but they’ll provide you with all sorts of supplies. Oh, yeah, a teacher’s place is like Office Depot. Keep that in mind when you ask your teacher BFF for “something to write with.”

3. They’re great gift-givers

This works for you in two ways, and let me explain why. Your teacher knows exactly what gift to give everybody, so they’re the perfect person to call when you need advice. Again, they’re observational, they know your mom likes fruity perfumes and lip gloss and doesn’t like almonds. But that also works for you because your teacher BFF will give you the nicest presents, and not just on holidays or special occasions.

I actually got the idea of writing this post when I was picking up a mug I had customized for my best friend as a “congratulations” gift because she came in second place at this huge international law contest (don’t ask, that’s all I know from it). I have noticed that teachers love to give presents, and they love it even more of they can make them, or personalize them in a way.

Teachers are also super clever when it comes to thinking of a theme for a present, so for a colleague’s baby shower I put together a bath set with shampoo, lotion, a comb, a chocolate for the older brother, and another one for the mom, at it was all in yellow and orange tones, even the card. Teachers also love puns, and that’s always a plus.

These are obviously just a few reasons why you need a teacher BFF. If you know another one, tell me about it in the comments!

Happy teaching (or uhm, happy Saturday?)

Love, Miss Camila