It’s coming to an end!

So yesterday was my very last day on my Canadian placement. I seriously can’t believe it’s over. It has been the best experience of my life! I loved every single second of it! The amount of time I spent planning and preparing lessons was intense, but I know that it was so worth it. To finish the year with ‘going beyond’ in every section of my placement report was the cherry on top of an amazing experience.

I was talking to mum last week and I just had to let her know that I’ve found my calling. It’s been three long years at university but it has been so so worth it. Teaching is such a rewarding career, and it’s definitely the one I want to be in!!

Now that placement is over, I have one last assignment to hand in on Monday and my exchange experience is complete. I almost want to cry over the fact that it’s so close to being over. I honestly have loved my time over here, yeah it was a lot more intense then uni back home, but it has been so worth it. The campus here is so organised and has such a community feel, I’m definitely going to miss it.

Not too much longer and Nath will be here! 3 more sleeps and he will be in Canada! I can’t believe it! It’s been a long four months without him but a reassurance that our relationship is as strong as ever! Then not too much longer after that and we’ll be training it across the country to visit Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec. So excited that I’ll get to see more of this amazing country. Yay to freedom!

Talk to you soon!
-Jess

xoxoxoxo

amazing country  amazing country!

2 weeks down, 1 to go.

“You CAN”T leave!” The most wonderful thing to hear while on placement. I have created some life long memories while in Canada, but by far the memories from placement are right near the top. Every single day I feel so blessed to wake up and teach these students and learn so much from my AT. It has been the best experience! With only 5 days to go I can feel my chest tightening and the resistance to leave. The least I can say is that the next 5 days are going to be magical. For the last week of placement I have managed to arrange for the Canadian students to pen pal with my Australian students from the June placement. I seriously cannot wait to see their faces when I tell them they have mail from Aus. It’s going to be amazing!

Since my last blog, not all that much has occurred. This weekend has been full of preparation and assignment writing, it’s Sunday afternoon and I haven’t left my apartment since Friday. That is a sad realization, 8 more days and I’m free as a bird. 9 more days and Nath will be in Canada, 15 days till our trip to Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec and lucky last, 25 days till Christmas!! Over and over again my life proves to me how blessed I am.

Everyday I reflect on how lucky I am to be here. I know you’ve all read it a trillion times before, but this time last year I was applying to come to Canada. It’s been a whirlwind year, I still recall conversations with people about wanting to come and knowing deep down that they didn’t believe I would go. Every day I cherish this experience. While being here, I feel I’ve really found myself. I’ve proved to myself that I can be independent and I don’t need to rely on other people to live my life the way I want to. I guess it’s a refreshing feeling to have. 

Anyway, short blog this week! I’m off to leave my apartment and walk along the lake!

Love and miss you all!
Miss Greene
xoxoxoxo
(p.s will never, ever, ever get sick of hearing this).

Do want to build a snowman?

Morning everyone!
(this is where you sing song back “good morning Miss Greene haha) I hope everyone is enjoying the heat that Aus is producing right now. I know I’m definitely enjoying the SNOW! Yes you read correctly, snow! Snow in November (apparently it’s rare, not that I’d know). I’m excited over it, the Canadians, not so much. My AT keeps reminding me that I love it because I know I get to leave it, which probably has a little truth to it. Anyway the snow is absolutely magical, it’s really soft and fluffy. It actually feels a lot like sand when you walk on it. The first day it really snowed it was sitting on the tree branches and roof tops so perfectly, it was a breath-taking sight. It does look really pretty, but there have also been times where I’ve nearly rolled my ankle because of it. Because there’s been a fair bit, you can no longer see the footpath and don’t know where the edge is and I’ve kind of slipped off it a few times. Nothing too major!

Stacey and I went to Niagara Falls last weekend for a weekend away before placement started! It was definitely a much-needed rest! We left Thursday morning and came back Saturday afternoon! This time we got to experienced Clifton Hill, which is a really cool street that’s filled with sideshow games and places like Ripley’s believe it or not, wax museums and mini golf. We also did a bit of shopping at the outlet malls and touristy souvenir shops. And my favourite, dinner up the Skylon Tower that overlooked Niagara Falls. It was yet another wonderful experience in Canada, Niagara Falls twice!

Anyway, another exciting experience has begun, my 3 week placement. One of the major reasons I’m here! First week is done and dusted 😦 It kind of breaks my heart knowing I only have 10 days left with these amazing kids. They’re so wonderful, they really are! My first week was eventful, to say the least. Teachers are so much more than just people who teach children English and Math. This week alone I’ve become a mediator, a friend, a nurse, a tailor and probably a lot more to come. It has been a wake up call and a reassurance, not that I didn’t know it before, but it’s a demanding job. There is constantly things to be doing. You really need to find a cut off-line I guess, know when you need to stop and take a break. The reassuring part is knowing that yes this is going to be hard, but it’s definitely what I want to do. This placement has completely reinforced that teaching is what I want to do.

On a less intense note, Nath donated some AFL footballs for me to bring over to Canada and I taught a PE lesson with them. The funniest thing to see grade 2/3s try to bounce them like normal balls. They couldn’t understand why they bounced in different directions. We focused on handballing, they kind of got it, but a little more practice is necessary. Oh and I also had a child throw up during one of my lessons, interesting experience. I forgot that children get sick like that, it was definitely shocking and smelt awful but we just carried on while the janitor swept it up like it was dirt haha

Oh and lucky last, Nathans here in 16 days and it’s only 5 weeks till Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year!! Christmas in America and now Christmas in Canada! Pretty blessed with where my life has taken me!

Love and miss you!
Jess

xoxo

Niagara Falls 1

Niagara Falls

3 girls

Bec Stace and Jess

Snow

Picture Perfect

I still can’t believe I’m here!

It happens on random occasions. When I’m in the shower, sitting on the bus or attending a boat cruise in Toronto. I’m in Canada, completing an exchange experience that I have wanted to do for so long. I’m in another country experiencing something I know I’ll look back on in 10 years and feel excitement for. I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I’M IN CANADA! Although I have been here for almost 3 months!

3 months without Nath, my family, my friends, my old puppies and my new baby Butters. I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by. It’s ridiculous! Not next week but the following I’ll be on my 3 week block and then I’m done studying for the year! It’s a bittersweet feeling. I don’t want it to end, but at the same time I’m so excited to explore. Especially with my partner in crime! 32 days and Nath will finally be here! I cannot believe it’s already been 85 since I left. It went fast but at the same time, really slow. Anyway, 32 days and I’ll be free to explore more of Canada and eventually head over to the states to hit up New York, Florida, Las Vegas and Los Angeles! But anyway, back to the present and what I’ve been doing since I posted last.

It has started to get cold, like Australian winter cold. And while I think it’s freezing, the Canadians keep reminding me it’s only going to get worse. Although I don’t mind, because I want to see snow and test out my new, but expensive, coat!

Recently I got to catch up with my oldest friend Miss Kasey Little while she visited Canada! How amazing that we got to have dinner half way around the world together! And did I mention it was up the CN Tower? So I met Georgia and Kase in Toronto and we spent Kasey’s last full day together. Exploring the Ripley’s Aquarium, shopping at Eaton Center and having a 3 course meal at the restaurant in the CN Tower. It was a pretty wonderful day, one that I’ll cherish for a lifetime!

What else, hmm HALLOWEEN!! Never have I ever had so much fun celebrating this day, maybe because I never really celebrated it before?? Anyway, in the morning I went to my placement school and saw all the students dressed up in their costumes! So many Elsa’s!! The kids were so excited for this day, they had been talking about it since thanks giving and were so excited for the whole week prior! After the parade around the school, I dressed as Cinderella for this, I went back home and got ready for Toronto! My good friend Chantal picked me, Stacey and Bec up from our apartment and we headed for Toronto. During the week people were saying it was forecast to snow on Friday night, but I couldn’t believe it. Stacey and I dressed up as a devil and an angel, we wore dresses but compared to other people, we were over dressed. Ever seen mean girls and Halloween is where they dress in lingerie and wear animal ears?? Literally what some people were wearing. Underwear and that is all. Keep in mind it was out on a boat and it was snowing. By 2am when the boat docked I was so tired and fairly cold, but once I stepped off that dock, never have I ever appreciated warmth so much! It was freezing and we were standing in it for at least 20 minutes trying to find a taxi. It was coldness I have never ever experienced, it was snowing and I was dressed in a jumpsuit. Not a good match. Eventually we found a cab that made us pay a $35 tip just to unlock the doors. At this stage I would have given him more, my legs and feet have never felt so numb and achy before. We eventually got to where we were staying and had to stand in a huddle until the owners came home to unlock the door. It was a fairly fantastic night, even with the numbness.

Yesterday was Stacey’s Canadian birthday so we went out for dinner and will continue to celebrate at our first ever ice hockey game on Friday night!

Other than that not much else has happened. The scenery is slowly starting to turn grey and stick like, all the pretty leaves are falling and winter is fast approaching! Well it feels like it for me anyway.

Talk soon!
Jess
xoxoxoxo

CN Tower

CN Tower

Halloween night - Snow

Snow in my hair

Halloween - Boat Cruise

Halloween on a boat cruise! An Angel and a Corpse Bride

Grateful for Mrs G

I know I haven’t written for a while, I have definitely been slack, but the reason I am writing now is because of self doubt. In everything I do, I find myself doubting my abilities. It’s such a negative aspect on my life, one that’s really starting to bring me down, one that I no longer want.

This week for prac I’m teaching 3 double period lessons, the weekend was spent typing and planning these lessons, tonight I get feedback and all of a sudden the anxiety and self-doubt kicks in. And I think to myself, “Am I even a decent teacher?” Little things that should be blatantly obvious slide by. I don’t know if its lack of experience or the pressure I put on myself to do well that’s making me feel this way. I guess I have to give myself a bit of a break, it’s only my second primary school prac and I can’t know everything (although at times I believe I do).

Anyway, over the dramatics and back to my amazing time in Canada! Since my birthday I have been so super busy! It really is a busy life right now haha

Due to some circumstances, I have a new prac school and I’m now with grade 2/3s! This classroom is absolutely wonderful and I am so grateful for Mrs G taking me on and allowing me into her classroom. I have only taught 2 lessons but they are going well (maybe from all the feedback I get??). My associate teacher is amazing, she’s really wonderful and her teaching skills are second nature, I can’t wait to be able to do this!

As I said above, I have been so busy and assignments have really started to begin, although I don’t think it’s been all that bad. Sure we have assignments to do but I was expecting it to be so much more than what it is/has been. I’m still enjoying the uni here! It’s seriously so amazing! Some unfortunate news though, CSU Ontario will no longer be offering students education courses on campus, meaning this year is the last for Canada’s campus. It’s really sad to see and hear and the first thing I think of is “what about the lecturers” they’re so amazing at what they do, it’s disappointing that they will no longer be offering their expertise to aspiring teachers. Maybe they should come to Albury and continue spreading their greatness haha So all in all, I’m the last Australian CSU student to come over and study at the Canada campus, it’s sad but at the same time such a privilege.

What else has been happening?? OH, I HAD MY FIRST EVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND! It was pretty amazing, although a little disappointing, because I had 2 assignments to complete, but other than that magical! My math lecturer invited all the Aussies to her house for a thanksgiving meal on Friday 10th, it was wonderful. Turkey, cranberries, vegetables and a wild berry pie! So divine! I was also lucky enough to spend thanksgiving on the Sunday with Lisa and her wonderful family. I also tried pumpkin pie for the first time, it has a funny texture but you can’t really taste the pumpkin, the spices take over!

Recently, we had dinner at our Prac Directors house and she made a beautiful dinner for us, my first ever chilli! It was delicious, tasted a lot like pasta sauce. We also…. CARVED JACKOLANTERNS!! You can’t celebrate Halloween without carving a pumpkin, gee it was so much fun. It was an interesting experience, one that I need to perfect!

I have also been to Toronto again, this time we tackled China town, Kensington market and the Royal Ontario Museum. Such a huge and wonderful museum, we were actually there for close to 5 hours! It’s so big! By the end of it we were kind of walking around aimlessly as my feet hurt and I was tired haha We desperately wanted to see wicked but the tickets were all sold out 😦 such a shame! Oh and I forgot to mention Sir Robert! The squirrel I got really really close to and fed, but not close enough that he could pounce and attack my face haha

Oh, also I cannot forget to mention the absolutely gorgeous picture perfect moments I get to see every day! Fall is beyond beautiful, the trees are such vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow, green and sometimes a deep purple. The view is absolutely breath-taking! I appreciate my time here more and more every time I walk out the door (I’m a poet and didn’t even know it 😉 haha) Although fall is beautiful, I am already freezing my butt off! OMG the “fall” here is technically winter back home and I can not deal! I seriously don’t think I’m going to make it through the winter! It’s so cold and I am constantly being reminded that it’s not, from the people around me, what they say and wear (t-shirt and jeans).

Anyway, that’s all I have to add! I promise to write more regularly and to not ever start again on a sad note. On the bright side the hug from Stace and me writing has brightened my night!

Sweet dreams!
Jess
xoxoxo

Fall in Burlington

Fall in Burlington

Fall 2

Fall in Toronto

Jackolanterns

Jackolanterns

Squirell feeding!

Squirrel feeding!

Missing these cuties!

Missing these cuties!

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Thanksgiving dinner

Guess who’s 21!

Hey guys, 🙂
Long time no talk huh! I have been absolutely flat out the past 3 weeks! Between Uni, placement and my birthday it has been full on!

Tomorrow (Monday 15th) I’m going into my 4th week of uni at this wonderful campus! I have already submitted my first assignment which was actually pretty easy to complete! Like I mentioned in the last blog, I go to my placement school 2 days a week which are actually Monday and Tuesdays, so tomorrow I’m at my placement school.

Placement is definitely not what I expected. I have upper school for this session, grades 4/5. It is definitely a complete 180 to what I’m used to. Even though it’s not what I was expecting, I’m up for the challenge!

Now all about my birthday! The celebrations started August 29th when my housemates and I went to Toronto for the weekend to celebrate! OMG seriously so much fun! We caught the train straight after uni, checked into our hotel and went to my first ever baseball game, Toronto Blue Jays Vs New York Yankees! It was seriously the best experience, I paid over $10 for a hot dog but you know what? It was so worth it, you can’t go to baseball and not have a hot dog haha. On Saturday we got up early and were the biggest tourists ever! First stop, the CN Tower, I paid the extra amount and went all the way to the top! It had such amazing views. Second stop was the Casa Loma, this gorgeous castle that let you tour right through. Such a gorgeous attraction! You can have weddings there and for a good 15 minutes I was watching through the glass doors haha. Third stop was the Canadian National Exhibition, it was pretty much like the Melbourne show. We didn’t stay long there but it was still fun to see. On Sunday we did a bit of shopping and then caught the train back to Burlington.

The following Monday, the 1st, was actually Labour Day in Canada and happened to my good friend Lisa’s 23rd birthday (the gorgeous girl that I convinced to eat Vegemite off a spoon haha). Anyway I spent the day with Lisa for her birthday and we went to this attraction that was right here in Burlington called “Rib Fest”. Pretty self explanatory, I tried ribs for the first time, they were pretty good! Anyway, after rib fest Lisa invited me to her house for dinner. It was so lovely to meet her family and see where she grew up!

Back to placement, from Tuesday 2nd – Friday 5th I completed observation week at my placement school. It was so amazing to see the first day of school and how excited the students/teachers get to be back. Also very interesting to see how the classroom environment is formed within the first few days. I’m excited to continue my journey with this classroom and see how the environment changes and grows. I have also decided to volunteer in a kindergarten class at the same school. I do this Thursday mornings for half the day before I have uni. I am seriously in my element with the younger students, I had an absolute ball!

So Monday 8th of September, my 21st birthday. Of course I decided to start celebrating when the clock struck 12 back home! The people close to me would know how nervous and scared I was to come here and celebrate my birthday without them, but it was seriously an incredible day! Firstly I woke up to balloons and absolutely gorgeous letters from my house mates that were scattered all over the apartment. When I was on placement the school announced during the announcements that it was my birthday and my class sung happy birthday to me! For dinner that night Lisa, Stacey, Bec and I went to out to a burger bar called “the works” it was so good! To top it off though, Lisa took us all to this place called Demtres that had the most delicious desserts! So so so good! My birthday celebrations continued into the following afternoon when, delivered to my door, were the most gorgeous bunch of flowers I have ever received, ordered from Aus! My gorgeous family sent a huge martini glass of flowers to my apartment and I received a birthday package from the gorgeous Kate Qemal. Words cannot even describe how magical my birthday was and it’s because of all the amazing people I have in my life!

So my birthday’s over for another year, but that just means that another extra special event is one week away! Nath and my 5 year anniversary is today! It’s unfortunate that we can’t be together but there’s going to be so many more to come, it doesn’t even matter! To my amazing partner, happy 5th anniversary, my love for you grows each and every single day. I can’t imagine life without you, I’ve had you around for too long! Just know I love and cherish you so very much! 3 months till you’re here with me! Love you so incredible much, Jess xoxo

Anyway guys, that’s it from me!

Talk to you soon!

Love Jess
xoxo

IMG_1488

Sweethearts!

Ribs!

Rib time!

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

CN Tower

CN Tower

Hot dog @ baseball

Hot dog @ baseball!

Birthday collage

21st Birthday Celebrations!

First week of uni!

Hey guys,

How are we all? I’m pretty good, not feeling the best (I think I’m getting a cold). Other than that, I’m in another country, so not much to complain about haha.

I just thought I’d catch you all up to speed on the first week of uni and my life as a temporary Canadian resident.

So the first day of uni, Monday 18th August. I wasn’t nervous, like I mentioned in the last blog, we got a tour on the Friday and had already met the head of school and nearly all the staff. Within the first presentation on Monday morning, the Australians were pin pointed and asked to stand up so the remaining 200+ students could see who we were. For the remainder of the week I attended uni from 8.30 – approximately 3.30 everyday. By Friday, exhausted was an understatement.Because we live on the other side of town to where the uni is, we have to take 2 buses to get to the university. Meaning I get up at 6.15am to catch a bus that leaves at 7.45am to arrive at uni by 8.30.

Anyway, back to the university, it is absolutely incredible. The CSU Ontario campus is also referred to as “teachers college”, it’s pretty much only for aspiring teachers, allowing the whole focus to be on this profession. The staff and lecturers are also so passionate about teaching and their careers, it’s so inspiring to see. The work content, so far, has also just been so relevant and handy. Everything that the lecturers use within their classes, mirror strategies that we can use within the classroom. We also do a lot of reflecting on why we have just completed what we did within a lesson. Everything has been so properly organised and thought out, I can’t speak highly enough of this wonderful campus. I have found that I’ve been comparing it immensely to my Albury campus and come to the conclusion that maybe they can take a leaf out of the Ontario campuses book. Especially in regard to orientation and the introduction to the course.

In regards to size, this campus is really small and only a single building with 2 floors, but the size is perfect. All the students that attend have already completed undergraduate degrees and have qualifications in a whole range of professions. Ranging from history majors to psychologists. This one year course allows them to attend and then teach once the year of study is complete.

On top of their welcoming and caring environment, they have been so organised with placements. I already have my school that I’ll be doing my upper primary placement in for November. Like I mentioned last time, we get to go into a school 2 days a week until November’s 3 week block.So I go to my placement school Mondays and Tuesdays and to uni Wednesday and Thursday, and then every 2nd Friday. It’s such an organised and beneficial way to structure the course and placement subject. It really allows you to get to know the students and the way they learn, before you’re expected to teach them complete lessons. My school is a public school in Burlington, and I’ll be visiting on Tuesday 26th to meet the principal and get a feel for the school. The 2014/2015 school year begins on Tuesday 2nd September so I’ll get to see what a first day of school looks like for not just students, but also teachers. I’m really looking forward to this experience.

So while at uni I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really, really lovely people. Pretty much everyone in Canada, that I’ve come across has been so extremely nice, but I could call these people my friends already. It’s not long till my birthday and I’ve already had a lot of lovely girls offer to take me out and do cool things for it. Within 5 days I was already having dinner with a lovely Canadian cat lady named Lisa hahahaha. She’s not a cat lady but she does like them. I also made her try Vegemite, the videos attached hahaha. I’ve also been invited to Amanda’s home town to go snow tubing once winter hits. And actually yesterday (Saturday 23rd) we were supposed to go boating with Chantal, but the weather was crap, we went out for lunch instead and I tried a poutine. Poutine is chips, gravy and cheese, other things can be added to it but that’s the original. It was nice, but apparently a traditional poutine from Quebec is where the real one is at.

Anyway, I think that’s my life up to date for the while!

Talk soon!
Jess
xoxox

IMG_1964

Little squirrel 🙂

IMG_1961

Charles Sturt University Ontario

The gorgeous Lake Ontario!

The gorgeous Lake Ontario!

 

Poutine

Ontario’s version of Poutine