Erin Stewart

For the Love of Teaching

And…here we are.

Here we are at the end of PRAC 491 already! It seemed so unreachable only a few weeks ago. This is such an exciting time for all of us and I hope my cohort is feeling the excitement as well. With COVID always being at the backdoor, it is a reminder how disconnected we all have felt throughout this past year so on April 12, when we celebrate our learning, it will be so nice to see the group again!

My last few weeks I started my 2nd set of unit plans in Math, Socials and English. The 2nd time seemed so much clearer in what I had to teach, how to adapt when needed and how to assess the students. My 2nd unit in Math focused on decimals (adding, subtracting and multiplication). When I was breaking it down into days with my CT, it was interesting to see how much I had to break down each step for the students. I had to make sure my units were flexible and easy to move around if my students needed more time or if they breezed through, but reality is…how long ago did they work with decimals? So we had to start small– breaking it down right down to learning to multiply 2 digit equations before even getting into the decimals. I had to focus on my backwards planning, what was my main goal? Where did I want my students to be at the end of this unit? We ended my math unit with a quiz that was more like an assessment to see where their understanding was at. So when I finished my practicum, my CT would know if she had to backtrack and work more on multiplication of decimals or move forward to division.

In English, my 2nd unit was on Poetry. We started with literary devices where we found literary devices in songs–with this being a grade 7 class, the students made a huge connection with the music (we added a few more song’s by request for me to connect with the students as well!!).

The beginning of the practicum I started with Science then finished with Social Studies. It was a deeper look at Ancient Civilizations (which was what they had been working on pre-practicum). I tried something new and I handed more of the learning to the students. They were given a choice as to which Ancient Civilization they would like to learn about. I gave them an overview as to what I was looking for in their presentations as each student created their own PowerPoint. My goal was looking for growth from their last presentation in the fall with Mrs. H (CT) I had to do some research and read previous notes on how they presented prior to my presentations and their comfort levels. I branched out even more by handing the assessing over to the students as well and we co-created how and what they wanted to be marked on for their presentations. This was created into a single point rubric where they were marked on how the presented (voice, tone, body placement, length of time etc.), the content in the slides (main points all covered), and the slide features (colorful, pictures, etc.). This single point rubric was used for me to assess their learning as well as it was used as a peer evaluation and their self-evaluation where they could assess how they felt they did in their presentation as well. It was a great tool and extremely powerful to watch how much these students have grown!!

These last few weeks I was able to focus on relationships, building a safe classroom community and really focusing on the final wrapping up of assessments and marking. It has been extremely busy getting formals finished and the final marking done but it was all worth it! On April 1st, I found out that I received my first posting which is the Thursday/Friday with my very own practicum class! I am very please to announce that as of April 15/21 I will be a TEACHER is School District 28, Quesnel!


I have learned so much on this educational journey, and with it now rapidly coming to a close, I am feeling more confident in myself and also in my ability to navigate through this career. This career I chose has so many layers. Meaning that I feel that once I have accomplished one goal and exceeded, there is another goal just waiting for me to achieve it! I am truly grateful to be a part of this journey.

One word that resonates more than any other word at this moment is: COMMITMENT. I choose this word because this is what I feel this job is about. I am commiting myself as an educator or pledging to do this job to the best of my ability. I am commiting myself to my work, to my students, my collegues, parents and to my community.

Reflecting back on last practicum 490, the commitment to the classroom and to my job grew stronger as time passed. As I became more comfortable, I was able to reach out more to collegues, I was able to connect more to the students and build relationships, and started building connections with parents as well (even though it was difficult due to COVID restrictions). My commitment towards the classroom teacher also grew. With tight restraints around report cards, I needed to be on par with students learning and adapting to their development as well as both of us working together to assess the students achievements.

Coming from a grade 2/3 classroom for my first practicum and a K/1 classroom for my second practicum and now moving into a grade 7 classroom will be a huge change. One of my goals will be to focus on classroom management. Going from primary to intermediate will be much different. It’s not like I can clap my hands in a pattern to get their attention anymore! I will need to use a different tone, different management strategies and a variety of different kinds of movement breaks. I will look forward to going into class prior to practicum to observe what management strategies are already in place. Another goal for practicum 491 is to focus on assessment and aligning the teaching to the learning intentions. More feedback from the classroom teachers will help me solidify my learning in this area. My third goal I have made for myself is to incorporate more indigenous content into my lessons. Looking back on last practicum, it was difficult in the K/1 classroom, but I am confident it will be much easier in an older grade. I think that understanding and learning more about other cultures will help me to integrate in easier into the teachings.

I am looking forward to this last chapter of our journey and I am commited to be open-minded, reflexive, creative and energized by everything and everyone around me. This journey is not the end, but the beginning of a lifetime of commitment to the best career ever!

EDUC 490 Practicum

EDUC 490 practicum was much more then what I ever expected it to be. From the very beginning I felt I had a great connection with my coaching teacher, practicum evaluator and the students. One thing that I really enjoyed about this practicum was that it flowed very smoothly. There was lots of communication between the coaching teacher, practicum evaluator and myself as well as the wonderful staff that made me feel welcome.

Relationship building in this profession is key and so walking into this practicum I felt I needed to make a connection on a deeper level. I opened up to those around me more then I usually would by sharing experiences, asking questions and talking about my goals for the future. I am very grateful for those teachers who opened up to me as well and shared their own knowledge and experiences as well as flooding me with their favorite resources.

I encouraged both negative and positive feedback from both of my coaching teacher and practicum evaluator in order to help lead me into this career knowing that none of us are perfect, that there are no perfect lesson plans, and that we all have the ability to grow and learn. One of my biggest lessons that I learned in this practicum that didn’t quite make sense yet to me in the last practicum was how to make my lesson plans more succinct and to further that learning into assessing the teachings. It was becoming clearer the more lesson planning that I did but it really became clearer when I was teaching the lessons. I focused on my pacing this practicum, especially since time seems to go so fast! One thing that I really focused on and is going to be one of my goals for next practicum would be practicing backwards design in my lesson plans with end goals as my focus.

Throughout the day I found it was important for the students to share their thoughts and own stories, yet we never quite had time. So I started a talking circle in the last week where children shared in a safe environment what they were feeling, things that they liked, what made them happy and also what they are looking forward to. This was a safe and respectful wat to really connect with the students and they loved it!

For my EDUC 491 practicum, my focus will be on backward design, classroom management, pacing, and learning about how to set up your units throughout the year that focuses on the students continued growth.

I am truly blessed to have been in a great classroom surrounded by many amazing teachers who I know have my back and would do anything to help me succeed. I feel more confident now then I ever have that this is the right path for me and that my journey will not end in May 2021, but it will just be a small fork in the path that will lead me to greater things in my future.

Thank you!

Erin Stewart (Van Diemen)


Teaching Metaphor

When I think about my journey to become a teacher, I think about how difficult it was to make sense of what I was learning. My mind felt confused and scattered at times because this was something so new to me. How can I be going back to school at such an age? There’s something about the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” that scared me a little. But I perservered. I pushed. I had sleepless nights. I dealt with divorce. I had obstacles. I had support.

My journey reminds me of a small piece of driftwood that slowly flows down a river. It starts off rough around the edges, slivers, broken off pieces and branches, much like me at the beginning of my journey…new…fresh but rough around the edges. As this driftwood flows down the river, it meets shallow water and the rocks rub the driftwood, slowly smoothing some of the rough edges away. This is much like my learning and my growth during this journey. As time passes on and many many miles down the river, the driftwood slowly becomes beautifully smooth from water petrifying the wood which are the obstacles and hard difficult times within the journey. Much like the petrified wood, it doesn’t make us weaker but makes us stronger and more resilient. Now…looking at the driftwood piece…it’s still not perfectly smooth. There are rough edges still and some parts are old and fragile. But this isn’t the end of my journey either, it is still my journey and much like the driftwood, I will still be slowly drifting down the river smoothing out my edges.

Journal Reflection Pro D

Erin Van Diemen                                                                                             Oct. 25, 20

Journal Reflection Pro D

October 23,2020


For me, this Pro D day was all about assessment. Which actually worked out very well because my first workshop of the morning was ALL ABOUT ASSESSMENT.  Being a Science lover, I chose 3 workshops that would hopefully give me some ideas for Science in the classroom as well as First Nations content and then hopefully touching on assessment throughout the presentations. The three workshops I chose were “How Do We Know?” Taking Secondary Science Outside,  Ocean Literacy, and FPPL: Bring the Poster With You! These were great workshops that really helped me think about my lesson planning, what I would bring into my classroom and how to assess these lessons.

My goal is to become an elementary school teacher but “Taking Secondary Science Outside” gave me ideas even for elementary classes. We were asked to go outside, and it didn’t matter how but we needed to bring back evidence of the season outside. I like many, took a picture on my phone. Depending on where we were across the province, some came back with leaves, some with sticks but most were pictures of snow in their backyard. Our task focused on assessment. The big question was, “As a teacher, how do we know that our student understood what I asked them to do?” What if there were no phones in our classroom? How would we assess the students understanding of the task? It was quite clear that our pictures on our phones had the evidence, but other ideas started flowing; collecting leaves, snow in a container, it was all great evidence. The next question: Where does this lesson go from here? What do we wonder? How would this assignment fit into a grade 9 classroom? How would it fit into a kindergarten classroom? There were many great ideas ranging from chromatography experiments to basically learning our seasons. This workshop really made me understand where one simple activity could have such a huge range in grades.

Ocean Literacy sounded really interesting and for me, who loves nature, I thought I would see what this one was about. Like many, I thought it was stories about the ocean or stories about creatures living under water. What Ocean Literacy really is, is understanding our impact on the ocean and the ocean’s impact on us. The only assessment in this workshop was that the speaker gave us a questionnaire to see if we had ever heard of Ocean Literacy and gave us some time in breakout groups to talk about what we though Ocean Literacy was. It was interesting to know that there is a University course at SFU that is focuses just on Ocean Literacy. It sounded like a very interesting course to take as well as how to bring ocean literacy into my own classroom.

One of the things that I am working on is implementing more in my classroom is First Nations content into my lessons. One of the things that I will take away from this workshop is When you’re asking kids to do an activity and you don’t know if it’s going to work – do it yourself. Walk through the steps and understand how you get through the process. Make notes as you go to go through each step, so you know what to expect from the students. Will they have difficulty on certain areas? What questions will come up during the activity? This was a very informative Pro D Day and I absolutely loved it!


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