Tomorrow is the LAST OFFICIAL day of summer. The weekend will come and go, and school will resume. I was at my classroom today, and you will be happy to know that I finished up my BIG PROJECT. I will return again tomorrow because I have a meeting, and to straighten up my last few things. In theory, I will be ready when students come through the doors on Wednesday.
Every year, the first few days of school feel like a fuzzy dream. We have worked and prepared for it, but when you are actually sharing the things you've been building and practicing, it feels like a shadow of that which is real. Our first three days are 1/2 days so even the schedule is a little wonky, and maybe that adds to the strangeness of it all.
Our first full day is when everything snaps into focus. Suddenly, the year is here and real. Our first full day of the school year happens to coincide with the eclipse. Our principal has managed to gather up 100 viewing glasses, and no doubt we will dive deep into it, but this school year begins even with the sun shining differently.
We've had a few changes at our school; a lot of changes. Teachers retired, and our school was reconfigured from K-6 to K-5. Buildings (portable classrooms) were actually removed and we have two gaping holes where classrooms once stood. Things feel different.
None of these are necessarily bad things but they are reminders that every single year is new and different. I am happy that so many of my good teaching friends still remain. They are very busy as some of the classrooms were shuffled around. I was fortunate, in that I didn't have to switch rooms. Packing and unpacking a classroom is a TON of work. I rearranged my tables a bit to really accommodate for my Littles this year.
Here's something I bet you never knew: Your teachers are generally, 1/2 excited, 1/2 terrified, and 1/2 exhausted. Yes, I know that is too many 1/2s but that is the truth of teaching. There will never be enough. You could also decorate more, plan more, rearrange more, design more, listen more, learn more, and provide feedback more. Not unlike parenting, you can always, always, always think of ways you do better.
I finished putting together 360 little booklets where my students will be able to track the badges they've earned in my class. I printed them, folded them, and cut them all out myself, which is probably why my hands are sore. Folding 30 pieces of paper are no big deal, but once you get to around 100, you start to rethink your plan. I persevered though, and I am pleased with the end result. I hope that they hold up like I want them too, and that students are excited to start their journey.
We got our computers working today, too, so I'm officially recognized by the computer system again. #relief. I was able to put my little trailer movie up on the big screen in my classroom to test it out. I hope the students enjoy it. It is a nice way to start Day 1.
I wonder if you are like me. Do you doubt yourself, sometimes? Are you always sure? I think most of us hesitate from time to time. My hesitations are usually hidden - like an actor taking a deep breath before taking the stage, teachers, dig deep and step to the front of the room. I have taught long enough now, to recognize the doubts and nervousness to simply be part of the experience. Of course, since becoming a specialist and teaching a huge chunk of the school, the nervousness and self-doubt have faded a bit. I teach the same students year after year, watching them become older and more confident in their technical skills. For teachers like myself, summer is more like a really, really long weekend; the same students come back to us. We have a few new older students here and there, and of course the younger ones are new to us and new to school, but we have the advantage of already having met most of them.
And once again, we've avoided thermonuclear war, so we've had another really great day. Tomorrow will be too, and if it isn't, we will do what needs to be done to make it so.
Keep moving forward,