We are now into the second week of school and it already feels like a very different year. Here are the realities of my life at the beginning of this academic year:
1. We have a full staff!
And we started with them on the first day of school!! Sadly, this was not the case last year as due to lay-offs, the bumping process, and so on it was October before the shifting started to subside.
2. Having completed a year with the K-8 population, I now have a much better grasp of what to expect and how to manage my classes.
Oh, and I have had more than 5 days to prep before school started! Last year, I had to throw out a year’s worth of sketched plans for 9-12 grades days before I was about to implement them.
What did I learn?
Wet paper towels solve most anything. Bathroom needs are contagious in the kindergarten and first grade crowds. Giving kids beans for lunch is never a good idea. Certain grades smell really bad. Putting a young person in a room with a slippery floor and mirrors on two walls is asking for trouble. Add 29 other bodies and you have human bowling leagues. Threatening to hold a 1o year old’s hand until they can remember to make the right choices is much more effective than a drill sargeant’s booming voice. Middle schoolers hate to be literally sent back to kindergarten when hand-holding doesn’t work. And when kids tell you they love you, they usually mean it.
3. The tipping point has tipped.
Whenever there is change there are people who are happy, uncomfortable, or both. This year we are all starting with clear expectations, a better understanding of the work involved, and how to go about doing it. The kids that were resistant have either graduated, moved, or caved. As a result, I am really having a good time teaching and the kids are responding.
4. The personal stresses are different.
After a year of agonizing when my son should start school and where he shall go (he is a November birthday and we were debating several schools and programs) , we’ve worked it all out. In fact, our current situation came much as a surprise as we had hoped for it in the spring, ruled it out by mid-summer, planned as though it was never a consideration, and then it did! The best part is that he couldn’t be happier! And our daughter is also loving her “school” experience. At 17 months, she comes home at the end of the day as if her personality has been amplified. We are so thankful to have our kids feeling challenged, nurtured, and supported with excellent teachers.
I am back in school! This time, I am completing two courses this semester and one next in order to renew my teaching certificate before June.
I am ridiculously busy but I am also loving it.