A former Thunder Bay teacher, now living in Hong Kong, has written a special book for parents and teachers.
Pat Kozyra’s Tips and Tidbits For Parents and Teachers book, celebrates her 50 years in the classroom, sharing most of what she has learned over her lenghty educational career.
Kozyra told The Chronicle-Journal that she wrote the book as “a way of celebrating a milestone of teaching for 50 years, and being faced with having to get rid of all my resources accumulated over the years.
“I just felt that before I took that step I wanted to cull, preserve, and share tidbits of information that might benefit parents and teachers. It took a year and one half to make this book a reality and I liken it to birthing a baby in many ways — an unbelievable experience,” Kozyra said.
Kozyra and husband Taras (former teacher, Thunder Bay city alderman and area MPP) have resided in Hong Kong the past 13 years.
Pat accepted a position of learning specialist with the Canadian International School for two years, and for the next 10 held positions of pre-school co-ordinator, music teacher, nursery, pre-kindergarten and Grade 1 teacher at Carmel International, a Jewish school.
Kozyra retired last June, but continues to tutor students privately with her husband who is an English specialist and former principal of a Korean International School.
She keeps busy as a soloist at a Catholic Church in the resort town of Stanley, and is also a freelance writer for the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s largest English newspaper, writing on topics that help parents in raising their children in Hong Kong.
Kozyra said her book has 77 chapters of interesting tips, including: The Helper, How To Help Your Child At Home, Do’s and Don’ts for Parents, Behavior/Discipline, How to Interpret a Report Card, and Explaining Educational Terms.
The latter one, she said, is “so that parents can understand what the teacher is really saying on the report card and during the interview conference.”
Kozyra said she has also found that music is very important in helping a child learn: “You would not find too many lessons in my classroom that did not involve music of some kind and this is a must-read chapter in my book. If you want children to learn something quickly, just sing it, clap it, rap it, tap it with some rhythm and rhyme and the results will astound you.
“It is so sad and unfortunate to hear of schools cancelling music programs in some pre-schools settings for budgetary reasons,” she said, noting that “parents should revolt when this happens.”
Kozyra has advice for new teachers. “Keep track of the year, the school, the grade and the names of all your students over the years. Now with Facebook, students are finding me after 25 years and I wish I had kept better data.
“The other thing I would tell teachers is to never stop getting professional development even if you have to do it on your own and remember that we never stop learning ever. I am still learning every day.