Friday, 31 August 2012

When did we cover this in Teachers' College?

I could use a Merlin right now

Tuesday is meet the parents day.  Wednesday is the first day of classes.  There, I said it.  It still doesn't quite seem real, but that moment is coming quickly.  And given that most of my new teacher colleagues and I are still seeking our classroom Holy Grail, I doubt that we really realize that it's almost that time.  This weekend is probably the moment when the transition starts and we recognize that the classroom will be what it is, it's time to change our focus to what is to come.  At least, it's a short week next week (two instructional days) and one of those days will be taken up by orientation and introduction.  You won't hear any complaints from me since I'm still locked into the too much to do in too little time mindset.

We're all wearing these
Overall, I will need some time to change my focus.  Despite my student-centred focus ... these past two weeks have been all about me.
  • My classroom needs these items fixed
  • There aren't enough textbooks for my class
  • My class needs these items (posters, bins, whiteboards, tools, technology).
  • I need a desk
  • I need a lockable cabinet
  • I ... My .... I ... My ....

I have to admit, that despite the feeling of autonomy that I'm enjoying, I never realized how much work went into setting up a class for the year.  During my practica, I never saw what my associate teacher went through in order to set the class for the year.  And, even if I had, many of the items that I'm developing, pondering, creating and considering ... those issues have been dealt with years ago.  So yes, it probably makes complete sense that I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed as I can't even rely on my past experience and practices when I look at my to-do list.

Always something up my sleeve.
Take classroom management.  I was fortunate enough to have associate teachers with three vastly different classroom management styles.  Add to that the theoretical underpinnings we discussed in teachers' college and ... I'm suddenly at the education buffet picking and choosing the elements that are going to sustain me for the coming four months.  Although I don't plan to reinvent the wheel, and I've talked to three or four of the returning teachers to learn their systems, I recognize that my management style is going to have to be my own.  I also realize that I'm probably going to miss things, and that I've considered elements that really don't need to be there.  Finally, I know that the system I have developed is likely going to be too paperwork intensive and will need some adjustments.  If it works out for me ... I'll likely post it someday.  If it doesn't, pick a card, any card (ie I'll find something else to write about).  For now, I've got my expectations, I've got my ladder, and I've got my tracking system.

And no, this wasn't intended to be one of the many post hoc teachers' college rants that erupt from new teachers from time to time.  Oh, those vibrant discussions made for some fantastic stress relief during teachers' college, but I've got 33 students to think about and have to toss away my "of course you can repeat the past" Jay Gatsby cap for a while.  This was nothing more than one of those new teacher revelations that classrooms don't organize themselves ... and that there is far more going on behind the scenes than I could have possibly imagined.

Well, I have a couple more templates to develop and I'm on to planning my first six lessons.  Yes, I have every intention of counting the three carbon copy introduction lectures individually ... it'll be good for my ego tomorrow.