Monday, August 13, 2012

Teaching Adjustments

One of the things I most love about teaching is that each year brings a new crop of students and a new set of challenges and experiences to the table.  It's the same thing from period to period or day to day in teaching; there's no exact duplicate, so it's not boring and repetitive as many people think teaching to be.  This is also one of the most nerve-wracking things for me.

I'm adjusting from life in the alternative school to life back in a typical public school.  This means: 

~no uniforms
~bigger staff
~bigger classes
~being in a remote part of the school
~different mindset

These may seem like tiny changes, but to me they seem big.  A blessing for me is that I'm at a school now that I was placed at during one of my practicums.  I know (just a few) of the 50 or so classroom teachers.  I'm looking forward to staff time together.  My classroom is in the school's new wing, which means it's "new," but this also means that it's quite a ways from the office and the other classrooms and wings.  There are four of us in our little piece of the world, so I'm hoping we all get along well.  

Here are some shots of the classroom I'm getting the pleasure of adjusting to -- these are before pics/ in progress shots.

Microscope Station

Lab area/ back wall
Groups are named by sea turtle type.
two door
one door

3 door- to the storage closets

each table sits 3 wide
one closet of resources

second closet of resources
My principal probably thought I was acting like Santa had come to visit me for Christmas when I was four.  She showed me my room and gave me the keys, which was a pleasant gift.  She'd mentioned to me over the summer that she thought this would be my room, but I didn't give it more than a cursory glance at the time.  When it became "mine,"  the principal was showing me around.  We'd gone through these closets - both of which are bigger than my guest bedroom - just checking out the resources.  It was a surprise for her as well.

She informed me that she was sorry to say I wouldn't be teaching her daughter after all (whew!), and then took me out to the main part of the room.  She pointed out the smart board, projector, TV, and entire front teaching table/ lab/ desk like my teachers had when I was in the high school math/science magnet program.  I was practically salivating just thinking of all the potential.  Then there was the "oh no, this is gonna be hard to keep neat" strand of thoughts.  I turned around, and my principal was opening and closing the cupboards in the back of the room -- this is when she laughed a little because my jaw literally dropped and I said something extremely brilliant and memorable like, "Oh my gosh!!! There's STUFF in them too?!?!?" 

I just couldn't believe that there were resources in the closets and the classroom.  On a random tangent, maybe this explains why people always say that I travel heavy- it must be a science teacher thing.  Needless to say, I'm going to have to find at least a day to go through and inventory what I have and where it is so that I don't waste it or buy more of something we already have.  This is probably my biggest adjustment thus far, though I imagine this time next week, I'll be commenting on what the chorus of 30 voices sounds like all at once, or what it's like when more students than attended my college are all in the hallways changing classes at the same time.  Once upon a time, I was used to this organized chaos, noise, shuffle, and bright display of non-uniform clothing.  I'll get used to it again, but for now, I'm relishing the opportunity to observe the changes and soak them in.

Happy returns to school, y'all!

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