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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Twas the night before in-service

Well, the day has arrived.  That day I've been dreading for months. 

That's right, it's the day before teachers report back to school.

Now, I know that teachers in other states have been back for a while, and private school here in Texas even has already started.  I'm only speaking for myself here, though I have a feeling that teachers everywhere either HAVE gone through the same dreadful day I'm facing, ARE going through it with me today, or WILL go through it sometime soon.

For some reason, it seems especially hard for me to flip my brain into back-to-school mode this year.  Part of it is that I've really relished having time to be with my 3 year old son all summer long (including me, yes, the DADDY, doing most of his potty training).  Part of it is that I'll be getting a brand new group of students this year, after looping up and being with the same kids for the past two years.  Part of it is going back to 4th grade to find a brand new curriculum from when I last taught 4th grade.

And, if I'm totally honest, a HUGE part of it is that I am a very lazy person when you get right down to it, and I really enjoy staying up late, sleeping in, and lounging around the house with very little responsibility other than keeping a 3-year-old and myself alive and relatively clean.

Yet now I have to scrub all that and get back into the mindset of actually thinking!  And encouraging children to think as well!

Good thing they give us a week of in-service to ease ourselves back in!  A week to get used to waking up early and being present physically while still being able to zone out mentally and not have to do all that much thinking.  Unless my principal is reading this, in which case it's a week of totally immersing myself in rigorous planning and brainstorming for best practices.  :)

New for this year...

1)  The school was finally able to implement its 1:1 iPad program towards the end of last year, so we will be beginning school with iPads for all this year.  We had some bandwidth and connectivity issues last year, but overall I really like the kids having iPads as it opens up a whole new world of resources and activities.  I was never great with finding a way to adequately share and utilize 3 desktops and a couple of macbooks with my class last year.  But now, EVERY kid can watch Fast and Furious trailers on YouTube at the same time! 

2)  Nearly all of the existing furniture was thrown out in June.  Old desks, gone.  Old chairs, gone.  Lots of tables, gone.  In their place, we got a smorgasbord of new-fangled furniture.  There are white board topped flip tables.  There are puzzle piece desks.  There are couch section chairs with footstools.  There are stools that allow you to wobble, which reverse to prevent wobbling.  And there are individual swiveling chairs that remind me of the gun turret from the Millennium Falcon. 

I'm not really sure how I feel about the new furniture right now.  While the old desks were clunky and heavy, they had a lot of storage space, and with 3 sections of kids, I need storage space.  Every kid has a folder, a thinking journal, a spiral notebook, and a couple of workbooks.  I liked to keep a white board and an eraser at each desk as well, for use by everyone who sat at that desk.  The new furniture has no storage at all.  Well, the Millennium Falcon chairs do have a sort of saucer that they sit on which technically COULD store some stuff, but it would be like trying to store 15 calculators in a frisbee.

So if anyone out there has any experience with/suggestions for efficiently keeping multiple classes' worth of books and supplies, let me know.  I'm thinking I'll probably have to collect and distribute them all every class period...

I'm also not sure how the kids will react to having different styles of seating.  Will everyone want to sit with a group at the white board tables?  I only have 4, and they seat 4 each.  Will kids get made if they can't (or if they have to) sit at one of the puzzle piece desks?  Will anyone hate sitting in the swivel chairs?  Or will they all want to sit there, just so they can spin in class all day and not pay attention?

I am of course bringing up all of the perceived negatives to the new furniture.  Hopefully the practical positives will present themselves immediately once school actually starts.

3)   This will be the first year since I've been at my new school where I haven't had a date scheduled to fly to California and play Jeopardy.  When I started at this school, I got the call while setting up my classroom and had to convince my principal, whom I had just met, that I wasn't pranking her.  Last year, I knew in July that I'd be playing in October.

This year, no game shows lined up.  Sure, there's always the possibility that The Price is Right will call me up, but I'm not going to hold my breath.


So now I turn it over to you, my loyal readers.  I want both of you to leave a comment sharing how YOU felt or are feeling or will feel when it comes time for your night before reporting back to school.  I'll get the popcorn and look forward to reading.