Sunday, August 22, 2010

First week down, 35 to go

Or something like that, anyway.

Friday marked the end of one week of solid teaching. Tomorrow, we begin week two! There are many things to be thankful for right off the bat, so let me list a few:

1. New supplies. A well-stocked classroom is an enormous blessing
2. New arrangement. I'm in love love love with how my classroom is set up this year. No longer do I dread being in my room, or have to think of ways to not think about all the areas that still needed attention. It looks cute, it's extremely functional, there are lots of book nooks this year, and everything is organized. I can find anything I want in under ten seconds I'm sure.
3. CAFE is working really well with my students so far, as I integrate it into my existing reading workshops
4. Students. They are fantastic! They break my heart I love them so much!
5. Procedures and Routines. I actually know what irritates me, what works, what doesn't work, what makes things flow more efficiently. It's a continual work in progress, but at least this year I can institute most things immediately and reinforce them without hesitation. It's night and day compared to last year's first week of school....which also happened to be our first week in China.
6. Recess duty. There is a new line-up for this job, and now we only have this job twice for the school year! Yay! I like being outside, but not in sub-zero temperatures. Guess what--I already completed one week of recess duty--which means, only one left....FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!!!! I love that.
7. Drama Elective. It's fun teaching older kids. It's great being validated by the school as a drama teacher that can give credit for all the work students put into this elective. I feel very supported, privileged, and excited to be able to do this for the older students here. I hope more people join. Right now, we are at 5 students. But come Treasure Island days--these are the only students that will get credit for working in the play---so they are the lucky few. Baby steps. Everything starts small.
8. so much easier now. I am much more familiar with what the students need to learn. I have a better handle on the curriculum content. And there is more direction and focus in how I plan. Planning is still intense, but much easier compared to last year; I feel a burden lifted.
9. TI. I have a great Teacher Intern this year. It is a huge blessing to have someone who is so dedicated and diligent in her work. She is willing to accept challenges and to help out any way possible. She has a great heart for servant leadership and I like that about her.
10. Adam. He's a great husband. Not every day is easy, but I couldn't imagine going through all of this without him. He is working very hard this year, and I am so proud of his devotion to his students and commitments. Whether it is math, science, coaching, or student council, Adam is really trying to give his best to the school. He also tries to not forget about me, and brings me mochas on Saturdays, extra coffee on school days, and cheese this afternoon (when he saw it at the grocery store).

Ok. Those are some things to be thankful for. There are even more that I could write about, but they are so minute that it would be silly to mention them here.

The week itself went by very fast, and very slow. There was so much to accomplish with the students. So much to teach them, reinforce, and drill into them. So much to experience for the first time with them--as in how routines work in third grade. I think the routine thing is almost solidified, although we will review a lot.

There is one problem that you can be thinking about, if you have a mind to. Every class seems to have their own individual personality. Mine has many quirks and unique qualities that make it special from other classes. Yet, one thing that frustrates me is the amount of times they manage to interrupt lessons, activities, tests, or routines with unnecessary questions, irrelevant stories, or just random exclamations. Totally. Exclusively. Unnecessary Interruptions! I'm devising a plan for how to nip this in the bud, first thing in the morning. It will definitely take a lot of determination to stop all of the interruptions. I don't remember this being as big of a problem last year. I just hate being interrupted constantly! Seriously, every five seconds someone is interrupting either me, my TI, or someone else who is speaking to the whole class. Everything takes twice as long. I have some ideas, we'll see if they work.

Another thing that is coming up this week.....Adam is going on a retreat with his student council representatives Thursday-Saturday to Tianjin. He didn't absolutely need a female chaperon, I guess, but had the option of taking one. So, finally, I get to go somewhere in China! Yay! I'm not sure how fun it will be for me, but I'm looking forward to traveling and getting to know the StuCo kids better. My TI will be substitute teaching for me on Thursday and Friday--so this week will go by very fast...and very slow...again. Secondly, while we are gone in Tianjin, some girls will be staying in our apartment. They are traveling up Shenyang from another city in China in order to attend a wedding reception (which we will have to miss). One of the girls is dating our Assistant Principle (who is a good friend of Adam's)--so we were going to host these ladies over the weekend. Now it looks like they will have our apartment to themselves! This means that I have to make sure that our apartment is completely ready before we leave for the retreat on Thursday. Busy week.

This is not the finest sample of my writing. But it's too long to proof read--please forgive any major typos or anything like that--I'm going to bed! Have to be up before 5am tomorrow morning. There is not enough coffee in the world to make me feel like before 5am is a normal time to be awake. Sleep helps.


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