Updated: May 24, 2020
This year my job was unique and very different from my first year. My position was split into two parts - Grade 5 (French half of French Immersion) & French Immersion Planning. So, what exactly did this look like?
Let me give you the breakdown. In our board, Core French starts in grade one. So, Primary Core French is one 40 minute period a week for Grades 1-3 (not Immersion). Before distance learning started I would spend one period a week either a grade 1, 2 or 3 class teaching them Core French. When I wasn't in those classes, I was covering Social Studies for the grade 2, 3 and 4 French Immersion. Also, everyday, I would spend half the day in grade 5 French Immersion teaching French, Social Studies, Science, Health, Drama, Dance & Art.
I realize this sounds like a lot. When I was offered the position, it sounded like a lot to me too, but as soon as I settled into my routine it became much more manageable. That's why I wanted to share some of the things that helped me, that may help you if you are in a similar position!
BUY A CUTE CART
At the beginning of the year I bought this AMAZING rose gold cart from Michael's. It has been my saving grace during the school year, and it's pretty fun. Kids & my colleagues always heard me rolling down the hallway from a mile away, and it made for many fun moments with the kids.
The real reason why I love (and miss) my cart is because it could hold all of the things to get me through the day.
There are three tiers, so the way I organized it was so the top level was for my pens, pencils, whiteboard markers, my coffee, etc. Mostly things I used frequently! The second level was designated for my bins for each class (see the next paragraph for more on this). The third level was for French resources like dictionaries, picture dice, pointers and sticky notes. So if you are doing coverage in different classes, you need this so that you can roll around in style!
ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE!
This second item that will help you be the amazing coverage teacher that you will be, are these really neat bins from Dollarama! When trying to keep track of five Core French classes, three French Immersion and one Grade 5 class (this was my typical Monday), I realized pretty quickly that is was an absolute paper disaster. I tried putting things into folders or duo-tangs, and that for sure helped but it was nice to have one bin that was designated for one specific class and subject. I printed some super cute classroom labels on the side so they were easy to see and get quickly.
How did I use them? If knew I would be seeing three Core French classes in the morning and had a duty somewhere in the midst of all that, I would just load those bins onto my cart and roll around until lunch time when I could swap them with the Grade 5 bins. The bins were pretty big, but I would be able to easily fit three on the second tier of the cart no problem. They also have lids, which is awesome!
My rule of teaching is be kind to the people who you work with, because this world is much better place when you treat people kindly. Something that I liked about my position this year was the opportunity to really connect with my colleagues more frequently! As a coverage teacher, you are in many different rooms and teaching in spaces and environments that are not necessarily your own. You need to keep in mind as much as it may be challenging and sometime uncomfortable to go into a classroom that isn't your own, you still need to be respectful and kind to the teacher who it belongs too. So be a nice person! Do kind things like erasing the whiteboard, or cleaning up may not seem like a huge priority when you are rushing at the end of the period to get to your next class, but remember that small gestures go a long way. Give yourself an extra five minutes at the end of the lesson to clean up and get the students to help you! That way, you are leaving the space exactly how you found it and everyone will be happy.
In saying that, I think it is also important to keep in mind that your value as a teacher doesn't change just because you may not have your own classroom. Is it wonderful to have a space that is your own? Absolutely. But the reality of the situation is that sometimes there aren't enough classrooms, so you have to make the best of it. Will it be challenging sometimes? Yes. But keep in mind that you have a privilege that most teachers don't - you know almost all the kids in the school!
That is something that surprised me the most about this year. So many names to remember, and so many hey bonjour's in the hallway! It will be hard, but I can honestly say that this has helped me grow tremendously as an educator. I've really learned about how to plan, mark and allocate my time wisely because there are only so many hours in a day. I've learned about how to differentiate my materials and lessons. I also think it has made me a better French teacher, because I have had the opportunity to see the progression of language from Grade 1 to 5 on a daily basis.
Lastly, it's not forever; at least not for me! I know that I'll be back in my own classroom soon, and I'm making sure that I bring that cart with me. And if it is the gig for you, keep on thriving!
SAVE ME FOR LATER!