At age 44, I fulfilled one my childhood dreams. I became a schoolteacher.

It’s not that I needed something to fill the oodles of extra time I had on hand (insert winky face) or that I was lacking a challenge in my marketing career path. It’s just that I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and everything sort of fell into place at that magical moment. The powers that be agreed I had enough experience and education to teach and mailed me an official certificate which I now proudly display on my office wall. In fact, I’m officially certified to teach (among other things) marketing and web development to kindergarteners. So, if you know of any five-year-old’s who might be interested….

And that’s how I find myself with eight weeks of experience as a teacher. I like to think of myself as an expert already with over-flowing insight and wisdom. “You know what I’ve found to be a life-saving teaching hack?”

Just kidding. I know very little.

Starting Off Easy

Thankfully, they started me off easy with just nine students (all girls) in grade 11. Last week, I finished writing report cards for the first time and I can’t exactly commiserate with the other teachers who have 70+ comments to write. I tried, but they just rolled their eyes at me.

My students are such fun, dedicated learners who are more than happy to help me become a better teacher.

Case in point—after I told them how much fun I had writing their report card comments (insert winky face again), they decided to give me a “new teacher” report card. It seemed appropriate. Who better to assess my growing expertise and skill as a teacher than my own students? Little did I know what was to come. The list of “competencies” that I was excelling or failing at grew on the white board and notes with official comments started showing up on my desk.

Mrs. Kieneker’s First Term Report Card

Giving students time to sleep in class F Nap time should be added to schedule
Using teen slang correctly B  Showing improvement
Staying focused during class C+ But you tell funny stories
Getting students’ names right F Needs improvement
Handing out stickers A  Could hand out more
Teaching I Insufficient evidence
Using all of the school ink to print colourful posters A+ Our classroom looks amazing
Use of sarcasm A+ As if
Laughing loudly and often A+ Often described as a cackle


“It was a pleasure having you teach us this term. I am very proud of how far you have come since the beginning of the semester. Your bubbly and peppy personality makes for an always exciting class. I am always pleasantly surprised with what we are doing in class each day, everything from building Lego and the elephant nose game, to actually learning. There is room for improvement when it comes to accepting my ideas, however. Most teachers would say ‘no idea is a bad idea.’ Instead, your response is to tear up my sticky notes and throw them in the garbage. That created a lot of damage for me. But we can move past our indifferences and appreciate each other as people. Another piece of advice I would give to you, or any other new teacher is to learn student slang PROPERLY, (for example ‘W Violet’ and ‘L Mrs. Kieneker’) Trust me—it’s a life changer. In short, I look forward to continuing to learn from you the rest of the year.”— Violet

“Give us candy.” — Cynthia

“W students, L discipline. Could improve by disliking pickles.” — Kiera

“My only advice is if a student comes in 2.3 seconds late to class, maybe don’t make them get a late slip. That’s a waste of paper and ink, not to mention all that leg power to walk to the office and back. Sincerely, your favourite student. P.S. We need more stickers.” — Truly

The only question I have now is whether I need my principal to sign this and return it. I really don’t want Mike to read it though—he may not ask me back for next year.

I’ll just tuck this away and not share it with anyone (insert winky face).