Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Random thoughts inspired by the start of a new school year

It is amazing....and I don't know why I always forget this...but it is amazing how once school starts, you hit the ground running. And it is also amazing...and again, I don't know why I always forget this....how exhausting it is being a teacher. At least at first.

The thing about third graders is that they know so much, and yet, they know so little. Everything needs to be reviewed, from lining up to playing on the playground. Bathroom rules to where to store our reading books. It's exhausting repeating directions for every little thing they do. It gets easier--soon they will know the rituals and routines of our classroom well enough to be reminding me of what they are. But right now....well, right now I spend my days explaining and re- explaining everything. And I do mean everything. Today, for example, I had to explain how to knock on the bathroom door. (Yes, I have a bathroom in my classroom, and yes, I really did have to explain how to knock on the door. I really can't make this stuff up.)

It doesn't help that I have a student teacher. I mean, it does, because with twenty five kids in the room you'll take any extra hands you can get. Plus it means if I need to sneak out to go the bathroom (the adult bathroom that is), well, I can. Without worrying something will happen that will cost me my job. But it doesn't help in the sense that I am trying to model all the right behaviors. I mean, not that I wouldn't be anyway, but you are really on top of your game when you have someone scrutinizing you. Taking notes on things you say and do. (No joke, she has a notebook where she keeps frantically scribbling ideas.) Knowing that you are being watched constantly means, for me at least, that I have to be overly prepared and planned. More so than normal I mean. I like to be that way anyway at the beginning of the year--because not only do you explain everything a hundred times, you also can't leave them with a second of free time. Not now at least. If you give them an inch at this point in the year then you've lost them and it will take every trick in the book to get them back again. So, having a student teacher--helpful, very helpful. But also, not so much.

So. That's that. We are off to a good start. And, oh yeah, here are some pictures. Did I mention I rearranged my WHOLE classroom at 3:00 the day before school? I swear I must have been smoking something to make that decision. But I wasn't. And I did. And I love it so much more than my old arrangement. And I scored an extra book case. Make friends with the custodian. It's such a good thing.


Dianna said...

Hang in there!
You are not alone and it WILL get better! :) Happy new school year!
Dianna :)

Kelli said...

OH I LOVE the photos! What a great classroom - that wall of windows is SO NICE! I still want to plan my visit someday...

I really love hearing all of your tales about school - keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite posts!!!
A peek at your life -at school.
PLUS a bonus****Pictures of your classroom!! I would LOVE to be a student in your classroom.

Sounds like you're off to a GREAT start.

Love you Mom S
ps. What is bathroom protocol anyway?? {knock..knock} "someone is in here!!!"

Anonymous said...

Now I can picture where my Big (but little in size) Sister spends her days...and some nights! Funny thing is that you have to teach high school students some of those skills. Like HOW to wash a paintbrush and that you should NOT put it dirty and "hairdo down" in the jar.
I LOVE the pictures :)

nancypearlwannabe said...

Your classroom is SO CUTE! It makes me miss elementary schools...

Tina said...

I think you are always overly prepared, so I can't imagine how much more preparation there could be??!! But it's the same everywhere, like when I get a new graduate student to train and I have to start off with "Give me your class schedule so I always know where you are" or "This is a pipette." Different... but the same.