Monday, August 26, 2013

The One About Starting Over


So, my good intentions of coming back after summer fizzled away with the busyness of August.  I am sure August is that way for you too though.

After an awesome summer at home with the family, August brought us back to reality.  The reality was that there was a ton of change coming upon us with the new school year.  Me moving schools.  Amy moving grades.  All of the kids changing schools.  The kids being split between schools.  Everything we knew had been turned upside down.  But not in a bad way.  Change can be good, even though I am, admittedly, at times resistant to it.  But we were all very excited about these changes.  They were fun.  Positive.  Exciting.

So, August brought me to a new school.  Well, sort of.  You'll remember that I am now teaching where I attended elementary school forever not too long ago.  The church and school welcome me with wide open arms.  It was an effortless transition.  I have been amazed, humbled, and blessed with coworkers and church members alike eager to have me aboard.  It did make climbing the mountain of change much easier.  

But, as you may know, with moving comes boxes.  As in everything you own.  In boxes.  That you have to unpack.  Find places for.  Hide.  Cram.  Get creative.  You know the drill.  It took me the better part of a week to get everything out and away.  And honestly there are things that I just had to place somewhere with the hopeful promise of returning periodically throughout the school year to finally put away and sort through.

After that faculty meetings began.  As did block planning, lesson planning, back to school planning.  Luckily I am familiar with some of the curriculum so that isn't all new to me.  But you forget about how many little day to day procedures and routines there are to learn at a new school.  Big ones like fire drills and restroom locations and what to do/who to see when you need _____.  Little ones like lunch count and scheduling and recess.  All in all though my coworkers have been eager to help, assist, and offer advice when needed.  Again, I've been blessed.

Despite seeming like I would never be ready and dealing with the hectic schedules of 2 different schools and all of the kids Amy and I made it.  The school year started off very well last Tuesday.  I have 17 kids this year, our cap is 18 and I am sure we will fill that spot soon.  My kids are amazing, as are their parents.  The first day went off without a hitch.  My 10th year teaching and this was the first year with no crying.  One little girl had the sniffles for about 30 seconds, but that was it.  I was pleasantly surprised.

These first 5 days have flown by.  Last week was filled with initial assessments, rules, procedures, getting to know you, back to school activities.  You know the stuff.  This week we began everything, with the exception of Reading Groups.  I am still doing assessments in order to properly group them.  I will begin that next week.

My classroom is huge.  The one downside is that it is an interior room (read: cave) so I have no windows and there are none in the hallway.  In the event of a power outage, I only have the soft glow of 2 red "EXIT" signs to illuminate the entire room.  But, it's all good.  The room I am in now was my 5th Grade classroom so that is pretty crazy.  The walls are cinder block which brings me back to my first job in New Orleans where I also had cinder block walls.  So that was a bit of nostalgia.  I think I am happy with my set-up and haven't felt the need to rearrange anything yet, hopefully I've hit upon a good layout that I can stick with.  I am notorious for changing desk arrangements and/or other room components mid-year.  We will see if this year is any different.  

All in all though, back to school has been a breeze this year.  I have been lucky.  But with all the change and easy transition is nice.  I still haven't been able to make much for TPT but I hope to get back onto that soon and get everything going.  I miss making things, and selling too.  I'll keep you posted though.  

I'll close with some pictures of my classroom.  Nothing fancy, I didn't go all out this year but I am pleased with how it turned out.  I hope your year is off to a great start!

Thanks for hopping by!

Giant panorama of the room when I first moved in.

My box pile.  It got bigger.  Then it went into the recycling because I could barely get in the door.

Finding a home for the frog collection is one of the first things I have to do! 
My name!  On the door!

My word wall.  Literally.  I didn't jazz it all up and decorate it with frogs.  I may do frog letters later and replace those but I didn't have the time or energy.  Note to self: frog word wall letters - make for TPT!

My vintagey (yes it's a word I'm sure) alphabet.  Again, not frogs but a retired teacher from my last school left it and I fell in love with the vintage, old school look and now I just can't bear to be without it.  I get attached like that.

My class pictures.  All 9.  

My door, decorated and ready.

Tags for the kids' backpack pegs.  Not fond of the curtains but I don't have cabinets, just open shelves.  I need to jazz the curtains up though.


Big panoramic 1st day picture.  I hope it gets bigger when you click on it.

Me, ready for the first day!  Bring it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The One About Summer Break


How has your summer been going?  I hope well.  Mine has been awesome.

So awesome in fact that I took a break from blogging for most of the summer.  As you can tell.  

But I am back now.  Tomorrow is the last day of my summer vacation.  :(  I report back on Monday and then school starts on the 20th.  I can't believe how quickly this summer flew by.  Was yours the same?

I did a lot and I have to say, unashamedly, that I didn't do anything for school.  Well, that's not totally true.  I did begin by block plan for the year.  Well, sort of.  I got the dates and quarter breakpoints done.  That's it.

Sure, I had grandiose plans.  Plans for creating TPT products.  Plans for block planning.  Plans for looking over all of the new curriculum I'll have this next year and getting familiar with it.  But other stuff came up.  More important stuff.  Life family time.  Vacation.  Relaxing.  You know how it goes!

So, here I sit, facing the end of the summer break with tons of work looming before me. But I feel refreshed and ready to tackle it all.  I'm not going to lie and say I'm not nervous or slightly anxious about it, I am.  But I needed a break.  Needed a summer.  Needed a time off.  So I took it and I enjoyed every minute of it.

In case you're new or have forgotten, I'll be starting at a new school this year.  So that means I'm a newbie once again.  New policies and procedures to learn.  New coworkers.  A new boss who was my 8th Grade teacher!  Remember, this school is where I attended 2nd - 8th Grade!  So, it is a lot of new, but also a lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to it.

We will see how long this positive attitude lasts once Monday comes and the meetings and classroom prep begin.  I have a feeling the anxiety and sense of overwhelming work will creep in as they always do.  But they can be great motivators.  Until then though I have one more day and a weekend to enjoy before it all begins!  I'm going to do my best to enjoy them and relax as much as possible!  Hope you had a great summer and are easing back into August and all of the craziness it brings!

Thanks for hopping by!