My name is Jacquie and I am a mom of 2 boys and a daschund mix dog. When I have spare time (haha), I like to switch up what I spend my time doing; sometimes I binge watch a series, sometimes I join a fitness class, monthly get-togethers with my group of friends, sometimes I declutter/reorganize my whole house, etc. One thing I make sure is to have “me time” and it looks a little different all the time. I can’t stand the thought of my mind collecting cobwebs, so I consider my masters courses as “me time” and I absolutely love it.
In the teaching game, I teach high school English. I have taught all high school English courses available in my division from modified & learning resource to advanced placement. I absolutely love the different variations of English courses that I have taught – they all bring out a different aspect of the English teacher nerd in me. I have a minor in Inclusive Education and experience as a learning resource teacher so this plays a significant role in my approach to teaching including planning, differentiating, and building teacher-student relationships.
Up until 2019 when I had my first son, I had minimal online experience in the education realm as a student and teacher. When I returned from maternity leave in the fall of 2020, the teaching game completely changed and I had no choice but to adapt and QUICKLY. I don’t even know how many times we “pivoted” so the online/blended learning curve was STEEP. I had missed any and all PD sessions for blended/online learning that teachers received during the school shut down in March of 2019 when everything went online because I was on mat. leave, so I got a quick 15 minute “how-to” session about Microsoft Teams and I was on my own for the rest. Needless to say, even as an experienced teacher, I relied more than ever on my favourite TPT creator, Stacey Lloyd. I was also lucky enough to have a new classroom neighbour when I returned to this chaos in 2020 and we taught the same subject and mostly the same courses. My new work bestie showed me how she was integrating blended learning and I basically followed her lead and from there we collaborated daily for the next two years – it was really the only way to survive, and I am so thankful for her and that we had each other while trying to figure it out as we went.
With teaching English, blended/online learning allows students to understand that texts don’t have to just be words on a page in a book, so I have been able to expose students to all different kinds of “texts” in my classroom and I plan on continuing this in expanding my knowledge for how to do this for my students. I use a lot of historical and current issues to inform my course content, so rather than spending my prep time standing at the photocopier (which never seems to work properly), I would like to find different ways and different formats of integrating “texts” for students. I have been using Teams as an organizational platform for my classes and as the means for these non-print texts, but I am looking to expand my options.
This may be an unpopular opinion about the survival mode teachers have been in the past 4 years, but I truly believe the pandemic made me a better teacher and it influenced me to become even better as we all continue navigating this new age of education. I love efficiency and I was able to sharpen my teaching efficiency while planning and employing blended and online learning. Is it perfect? No. Did this new way of doing things create a whole other gamut of issues for teachers? Absolutely. Regardless, I am still optimistic about how blended/online learning will enhance the experience for students. Because I have been merely technologically treading water the past few years, I am so glad this course became available while on maternity leave where I will have the time to focus on expanding my minimal knowledge on how to better my classroom opportunities for students. I love teaching face-to-face classes, but I don’t think I will ever return to any form of teaching that doesn’t include a significant digital/tech./blended online format. I cannot wait to be a sponge in this class and learn from everyone.