And so another school year begins

It’s always a nice feeling when the teacher’s first week back results in a sense of getting stuff done to get ready for the job of teaching. Those systems that get set in place during teacher workdays before school starts can make or break a teacher’s year sometimes. The ability to work out plans with colleagues, develop themes, share some common discipline techniques for consistency–all are little pieces which can contribute to the possibility of a great year ahead.

But that building of a consensus can’t be forced, or administrated, or driven. It thrives when there’s been a bit of continuity, when the team has a history of relationships and experience and is not afraid to try new ideas. Add in a range of ages, gender and experiences, and…stuff can happen.

I’m holding my breath because, of course, sometimes the magic doesn’t work. But there’s a delicate bubble of a school year ahead with potential.

A lot of my feelings also come from several major changes I’ve made in my setup as well as some successful planning time. First of all, the rattly old overhead with the dying and loud fan (which replaced the overhead that didn’t focus) has been replaced by a projector and document camera, cobbled up from various sources. This means I have a wider range of visual materials to use without scrounging around for transparency films (and praying that the copier will cooperate). I rearranged the room to accommodate and protect that technology plus create a teaching work center in the front of the room. I can have a more accessible active teaching center and a more private sped work center.

The tables got replaced by desks. I prefer using desks, but when you have to crowd a lot of kids into a room, tables are easier. Well, I don’t need to crowd kids now (our population is dropping) so it’s back to the desks. They’re less clunky, more flexible to configure, and the kids have a place to put their binders out of other peoples’ way.

There’s an entirely new grading, attendance, and IEP program. The learning curve on this one is HUGE, because it’s an extremely powerful database and can do a lot. I can see the potential with this program, but wow. Figuring it out is going to take some time, and it’s also a complex one to develop. I spent six hours this week in training and…wow. Lots of pieces, but it’s an easy program to work with.

I brought prep work home for the weekend. But when I walked out of my classroom this afternoon, I felt comfortable about kids being in there soon.

That’s a dang good feeling.

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