Some amazing things have happened over the past few months…
I received my teaching certificate and did some subbing with Regina Public throughout May and June. Despite my tendency to plan ahead and my need for routine, I was able to adapt to receiving (or not receiving) a phone call each morning and planning my day accordingly.
I really enjoyed substitute teaching, as I was able to see different classroom set-ups, different procedures teachers had in place, and some very cool assignments students were working on. I definitely took some great ideas away from my time as a sub and I’m excited to experiment in my own classroom!
On May 31st, I accepted a full-time grade six teaching position at W. F. Ready Elementary School for the 2016-17 school year! I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and very excited to have my own classroom and students. Since accepting the position, I visited the school, saw my classroom, met my administrators, and met several other teachers who will be new to Ready in the fall. I am very much looking forward to getting to know and work with everyone come late August!
I walked across the stage at convocation! I received my degree with great distinction and was also awarded the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Prize. I feel very honoured to have received this award and am extremely grateful to all the people who have supported me throughout my undergraduate career. This includes my mentors Katia Hildebrandt, Keith Adolph, and Mike Cappello; my UR S.T.A.R.S. crew, especially my co-executive director and dear friend Meagan Dobson; my Section 10 family from my third year of university; my friends and family; and my amazing fiancé/husband Kelly.
On June 11th, I married my best friend and the person I want to be with for the rest of my life! We had a beautiful wedding day in Weyburn and were completely overwhelmed with the love, support, and generosity that everyone poured out to us.
Also, after quite a bit of thinking and talking about it, I decided to change my last name. So I am now Mrs. Raquel Oberkirsch, which I am still getting used to and still in the process of changing.
Married life has been great so far; Kelly and I are loving the basement suite we are renting and are looking forward to potentially going on a snowboarding trip honeymoon over the Christmas holidays.
Three days after our wedding, I took off on a three-day camping trip to Buffalo Pound with students and teachers from my internship at Centennial School. The trip was extremely well planned and everyone had a ton of fun. It was jam-packed with activities, including designing and launching bottle rockets, making bannock on a stick, knot tying, seine fishing, fire starting challenges, singing campfire songs, creating and performing skits, watching a movie projected onto a trailer outside under the stars, and more.
The students were put into groups and asked to come up with a team name based on the bandannas they were given. Each group was responsible for packing its own coolers with food and supplies and for cooking their own food at each meal. We had a pig roast for supper one night and were also able to make some crazy desserts (smoreos and banana boats)! It was really neat to see some of my students take on leadership roles within their groups, during activities and when cooking our meals.
Along with having an absolute blast on the field trip, it was also really beneficial for me to get a glimpse into how much planning and preparation it takes to pull off a trip like that successfully. For example, the students all brought their tents to school one day before the trip and practiced setting them up and taking them down – something I would never have thought of! The two grade 5/6 classes who went on the trip spent many hours doing activities together to get to know each other, discussing what the trip would look like, planning who would bring which supplies, etc. The planning required is substantial, but I learned that involving students in that planning process also helps them learn many real-life and teamwork skills.
I have always been amazed at how taking students on field trips deepens your relationship with them. I could go on and on about the benefits of outdoor education, but I’ll save that for another post. This experience will definitely translate into my own teaching and the way I think about and plan field trips and outdoor education experiences for my students!
I started working at EYES (Educating Youth in Engineering and Science Camp) again last week! The camps run for one week at a time and each day of the week is structured around a particular theme. Our theme days this year are Star Wars, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and Jurassic Park. Fridays are our crazy fun days, which include a science show, the presentation/testing of the weeklong projects, diet coke and mentos, pie-ing instructors in the face, pizza lunch, and then a choice between a giant water fight, games room, or a movie for the afternoon. Check out our Flickr account for pictures!
Although camp can be exhausting, it is a ton of fun and it’s really great teaching experience. I get to work with a different group of campers each week and facilitate amazing science and engineering activities designed by our staff members. I am very excited to bring some of our EYES activities into my classroom in the fall.
That’s all for now… Although these past few months have been amazing, I am really hoping the next two months are much less eventful! I am incredibly grateful for all of these opportunities/experiences and looking forward to what the future holds.