It's the weekend before school starts and my classroom isn't 100% ready. I did my best and worked really hard...but it's not all the way done.
I'm okay with this. I'm not going in to work this weekend. Monday morning will be here soon enough.
It took nine years to get to this point, but here it is: my to do list, as a teacher, will literally never end. There is always something else that could be prepared, perfected, tweaked, or created.
I've spent a lot of time in my classroom over the past week and a half. Not all the days had working air conditioning, so I am thankful I have a classroom fan. I'm thankful our teachers' union fought (and won) for us to have a contract day to prepare our classrooms. I'm thankful my administration gave us additional work time.
I got asked why I wasn't done with my classroom yet. Well...
1) My room wasn't really ready for me to move in with a logical plan at the end of the year. The leaving teacher made it inconvenient for me for a variety of reasons, so I walked into a mess. I hope that teacher is happy at a new school. We all deserve to be happy and like our jobs.
2) I checked in on the new teacher in my grade level and helped him out with classroom logistics. He's a great guy, really enthusiastic, and wants to be a team player. I also went to see the new first and fifth grade teachers, as well as the 3-5 humanities teacher. I didn't just say hi, I welcomed them and asked if there was anything they needed. I gave one a tour of the school. I took the time to listen. That matters.
3) I took the time to collaborate with my grade level. I helped some hang bulletin boards (it's really a two person job), shared lesson plan ideas, and wrote first week plans with my work wife and our new teacher. I didn't want to just hand him plans, but instead we invited him in to share ideas with us and have the opportunity to ask questions. I didn't have much support my first few years in the classroom, so I want to make sure others have a different experience. Being a new teacher is hard. Being a first year teacher is hard. Being ARL is hard. Let's not make it more difficult by shutting down communication with each other. We've got a game plan going into the school year and are going to share the work load. I get to devote my planning time to creating some awesome ELA plans with my work wife while others get to work with their strengths as well.
4) I made sure to leave at a reasonable time each day so I could see my hubby and pets.
My classroom is clean, my lesson plans are done for the first week, and my copies are ready. I have my first day outfit picked out. It's as good as it's going to get until 7 am on Monday morning.
I overheard a conversation about what teachers wanted from their students on the first day. One mentioned having their new students know all of their procedures. Another mentioned setting up the notebooks and diving into a math lesson on the first day.
Um, that's not the route I'm taking. My goals for the first day are for my students to feel welcome, safe, cared for, enthusiastic, encouraged, motivated, and eager to return on Tuesday. I want them to know that third grade will be an exciting and challenging time.
Math for the first two days will focus on exploring math manipulatives, learning the procedures for Number Talks, tackling multi-step problems as a table, and practicing how to have discussions about math. We'll set our notebooks up on Wednesday (giving families time to gather supplies) and dive into Engage NY then.
So since I'm not in the classroom this weekend (but totally support the teachers who are!), what exactly am I up to?
Friday I left at 3:40 pm without guilt.
I had about a dozen girl friends over Friday night for a Lularoe and Lipstains party. We had tacos, bean dip, veggies, cookies, and margaritas. I snagged some cute back to school outfits and more importantly, had some friend time.
Saturday I slept in (if you can call 8 am sleeping in), got my hair cut, got supplies for a craft project, and helped a friend with wedding favors. She's got just over 3 weeks until her big day and I love that I get to play a small part in it. Plus it was really sweet to see her and her future hubby working together on favors.
Saturday night is spent in pajamas with the hubby, watching movies, making a classroom banner, and doing small chores on commercial breaks.
Tomorrow will include a breakfast date, a grocery trip, finding the missing box of picture books (because my first day books are in there), crafting, a nap, and some at home pampering before an early bed time.
I may or may not be done with my bulletin board banner by Monday morning. Truly, does it matter? Will my kiddos remember if my board is blank one day and says "dive into reading" the next? No, probably not.
I checked with my admin because if it was super important to them, I'd have it done. It will be done by next Friday, but isn't a first thing Monday priority.
My plan for Monday is to arrive around 6:45 am with Starbucks in hand. They're doing construction right outside our school and at the nearby round about, so I'm giving myself extra time to deal with that situation. I've got to make a sign for picking up students, but that involves a manilla folder, a stapler, and a yard stick. I've got to finish my Smart Notebook for the first day because it calms my anxiety and keeps me on track while teaching. I've got to make sure my anchor chart paper is ready and pick up the breakfast cooler.
I meet my new students at 8:55. I've got to make it until lunch (11:25-12:05). From there, I need to make it until specials (12:45-1:35). Then I've got to make it until 3.26.
I'll leave around 4:30, after making sure my mentor texts and materials are ready to go for Tuesday.
I might even be able to label a few more books or check a few more items off my never ending to do list.
This will be a good school year.
Twas the weekend before school started...and I felt fine. #yearnine