Earlier this month I had the honour and joy of spending the afternoon in my first grader’s classroom. I visited the class to talk about my role as a reporter in the community, as well as shared a bit about writing in general. Instead of sitting and talking to them for an extended period of time, I decided to introduce an interactive activity that involved investigation and writing.
Since I was visiting shortly before Easter, the class participated in an Easter candy review. Each student had the opportunity to taste two different kinds of candy (a gummy, and a candy covered chocolate egg), and decide which one was their favourite. It was a simple idea that really took off, thanks to the teacher’s wonderful way of bringing it to life.
I watched as my daughter’s teacher engaged each student in tasting the candy by using each of their senses. It was a process – the candy tasting, and the kids really analyzed each candy and decided which one was their absolute favourite. After the tasting, the students returned to their desks to write their review. They spent time carefully documenting why they chose the specific candy as their favourite, and even drew a picture to go with their review. At the end, each student had a chance to read their review aloud.
As a parent, I often wish I could be a fly on the wall watching my kids at school. Six hours is a long time to be away from my children, and I wonder what they’re doing over those six hours each day. During my afternoon in the class I had the opportunity to see my child’s learning in action, and her teacher in action too. I was blown away by the energy required to engage this lively group of six and seven year olds. They were eager, joyful, and energetic, and their teacher was able to match them in their energy.
It takes a unique individual to be able to teach a group of kids. First grade is a unique group because they’re moving from a play-based learning environment into a more rigorous environment. The students start first grade not being able to read or write, and by the end of the year many are writing full paragraphs and reading early reader books. That’s a lot of learning and growth from September to June. Watching my child’s teacher move around the classroom, giving her attention and care to each student, it opened my eyes to everything my kids’ teachers are doing, and giving, in order to offer a quality education to my kids.
I’m so glad that I took the time to enjoy an afternoon with my daughter and her classmates, and I’m equally glad I was able to see a wonderful and engaged teacher in action. I went home exhausted after less than two hours. I cannot imagine a full day, every day, giving the energy required.
I felt compelled to say thank you to each teacher, especially our Guelph teachers, who are giving their all and shaping our future generation. The effort required is overwhelming for me to even consider, and I’m deeply grateful for each teacher who educates, and empowers each of our students.
I see you, teachers, and I salute you for all that you do for our kids. Thank you.