Yesterday was the first day of school for parents, teachers, and students in my school district. It seemed from the many discussions at our Open House Thursday night that students have become bored, parents were tired of trying to entertain their children, and most teachers would be happy with just another week to feel fully prepared.
The school year is here, however, whether we want it or not.
I can't believe I haven't posted in almost a week. Since Monday I have been in meetings, and have frantically attempted to clean and arrange my classroom for the best learning environment I can. My team has worked well together attempting to shuffle resources around so they are in the proper room.
A colleage of mine, our music teacher, told me Thursday he felt like a gerbil on one of those exercise wheels. Spinning, spinning, spinning, and not really getting anywhere. I have to agree with him. By the time I had gotten home after Open House Thursday night I had been at school for a total of thirteen hours( just that one day). I couldn't even put together a coherent sentence I was so tired.
This is a view of my room from the hallway door as I began to put my room back together.
This is the same view minutes before parents and students arrived for Open House.
This view is also from the hallway door, but it looks towards the back of my classroom where I have a very extensive classroom library for students. I have over 500 books that I have brought from home as my children tired of them or that I have bought myself.
Here is the same view after I worked my tail off. I placed all three of my computers along the wall to make more space to move above the room.
This view is looking towards the hallway door and is taken from behind my desk. All of my individual units are packed within the plastic tubs you see. The binder that holds my lesson plans, extra copies that didin't get used the last time I taught the unit, accompanying teacher resource books, tradebooks, etc. all fit nicely in the tubs. Each tub is labeled with the unit name such as "Civil War/Reconstruction", "Native American Regions", or "American Revolution". Some units are so large I use two or three tubs to hold everything.
Here is the after picture.
The teachers on my hall were all making these cute little hallway displays to welcome new students and place student names outside their doors. Elementaryhistoryteacher is not into cute little cutesies. I admire them, but just don't seem to do them myself.
The last year I taught fifth grade my teaching partner from across the hall had the language arts students write letters to teachers who had impacted their elementary years. Several chose me and this colleage took the letters and the student's self-portraits and laminated them onto construction paper. The group of students presented these to me the last few days of school. I treasure them and make it a tradition to haul them out from the protective case stacked on top of my classroom closet and display them for Open House. Occaisionly one of the students show up with a younger brother or sister and they are surprised to see their work on the wall. I place a caption with them that states "Elementaryhistoryteacher is kid-tested and board approved!". It fills up the wall along with my new homeroom list.
The mother of this particular student who wrote me a letter teaches in the lower grades at my school. I told her she needed to come to my end of the campus to see her child's work. She said she would and advised that her young man has just gotten his learner's permit. Wow! I'm old.
Yesterday morning another colleage of mine who works with our special education students brought her son in before taking him to the middle school to start his eighth grade year. I gave him a good squeeze and realized he could now see the top of my head with gray hairs scattered here and there. I didn't have my glasses on and had to stand on tip-toe to see the shadow that stretched along his upper lip. My new view confirmed it for me. It was no shadow, but the faint beginnings of a mustache.
It was the perfect beginning for a new year. Brand new students making the transformation from third graders to fourth graders, and a reminder that time marches on for former students after they have left me.