I recently had the pleasure of spending a morning with our new teacher/principal, Ms. Paula Baker and her seven students. Giving up the freedom of summer and adjusting to new routines and expectations is difficult for all of us. For children entering their first year of school this adjustment is even greater. Based on what I observed however, it seems that all of the children have all settled into school life with ease, the youngest included.
The wealth of teaching and administrative experience that Ms. Baker brings to Tancook Elementary must certainly be a major contributing factor to the way in which the children all seem to be enjoying and adapting to school life after a summer of fun in the sun.
Watching Ms. Baker in action was akin to observing a talented choreographer managing to keep everyone engaged and busily productive. Having some teaching experience myself, I appreciate the challenges of planning and facilitating the learning experience for seven children, all of whom are at different levels of learning and have varying interests and capabilities. Ms. Baker’s repertoire of masterful teaching skills seems to make this second nature to her.
During my visit, I observed the children writing, reading and having fun with math problem solving. Ms. Baker moved quietly and efficiently from one activity to another while keeping the children involved and focused.
Ms. Baker’s open door policy is welcoming and I hope to be able to assist in small ways throughout the school year. She has agreed that we can make a school page on the tancookcommunitynews.com website where we will keep island residents up-to-date on anything school-related that is newsworthy.
Between teaching, playing with the children outdoors at recess and making preparations during her lunch break, Ms. Baker still seems to have energy at the end of the day. I was worn out after one morning!
A little bit about Ms. Baker…
Ms. Baker is a seasoned educator. With a Master’s degree in Special Education and Administration and as a graduate of the Instructional Leadership Academy, Tancook Elementary is fortunate to have someone as qualified as Ms. Baker.
Ms. Baker has a wide range of experience both in teaching and administration. She has taught all grades from Primary to 12 and has experience as a Special Education teacher as well as a Vice-Principal and a Principal. In addition, Ms. Baker has served as a Literacy and Math coach for her colleagues throughout the South Shore Regional School Board (SSRSB).
On a personal note, Ms. Baker has four adult children ranging in age from 23 – 28. The teaching gene runs deep in Ms. Baker’s family. Her daughter has followed her mother into the teaching profession and Ms. Baker’s sister is the Coordinator of Literacy for the SSRSB.
Heritage is important to Ms. Baker. With the Baker surname, Paula has a special interest in Tancook considering the family connection. She believes in making teaching relevant and as a result, a special emphasis on island life is infused throughout the learning experience of her students.
As an example, the following poem is recited by the children in the morning.
If you’ve ever lived on an island
If ever you’ve lived on an island
if ever you’ve lived by the sea;
You’ll never return to the mainland
once your spirit has been set free.
If ever you’ve smelled the ocean
or tasted the salt in the air;
You’ll know you’ve discovered a haven
that is uncommon, precious and rare.
If ever you’ve seen the whales play
or watched the eagles in flight;
You’ll remember, again, why you live here
and why it feels so right.
If ever you’ve seen the sunset
as the ferry passed the shore;
You’ve seen the beauty of the island
that will be with you forever more.
If ever you’ve heard the seagulls
the waves, a foghorn, the winds;
Then you’ve heard the song of the island
and the peaceful message it sends.
Indeed, if you live on an island
if you’re lucky to live be the sea;
You’ll never return to the mainland
as your spirit has been set free.
~ J. Earnhart
Please stay tuned…We will update this page on the website with any school news that may be relevant and of interest to Tancook residents.
Hetty van Gurp