Monday, August 22, 2005

All teachers report in!

Hey.......That would be me!
So it begins. However, this the little ones don't really show up until next Monday. This was a Professional Development Day, where most of the teachers go to really pointless and boring workshops to learn stuff they already know, or really never want to know. Tomorrow will be "Pro D" day too! I am not doing Professional Development stuff because I took 30 units this summer (3 units left!) and can write that down as my Development. Thank God too, because I will need the time to prepare. A member of my wife's family died recently from a massive stroke, and I will have to miss days this week to attend a funeral. That means my prep time has just dropped by a day and a half. Not good, but not panic time since I'm teaching the same classes as last year.
How's the old "F-Building" (Social Science) look? Messy as hell. The custodians took all the desks and shoved them to the corners of all the classrooms. Teachers were not happy. As it happened, the two other Gov/Econ teachers decided not to attend workshops either. After about an hours worth of conferring, I began my duties.

1) Set up my television and VCR. This is essential. Every morning I tape "Imus in the Morning" off of MSNBC and listen the program while I work. I have 4 from last week to listen to while I prep.

2) Set up the desks. This is (from left to right) set up in rows; 7 across and five deep. 35 total desks. For once in 5 years, nobody has taken a desk or chair from my room.

3) Open up the cabinet and take everything out. Anything that I haven't used in the last 4 years is getting tossed. I've taught World History, Government and Economics for the last four years (last year was my first all Gov/Econ). A lot of stuff is tossed. I start to sort and put away materials into the cabinet, old lesson plans, student examples, basketball jerseys, maps, etc.

4) Go to administration building and check my box. 10-12 grade are getting schedules and yearbooks today. I wander around the quad saying "hi" to students. Many students are very excited to be in my class, which is a great sign! Last year students were much more apprehensive and guarded. The only two students I get half-hearted greetings from are two varsity basketball players. One played for me and doesn't like me because I don't put up with his shit. The other is really nice when no other basketball players are around, then becomes very shy when other players show up. I would never imagine that the worst reactions would come from ballplayers. But, you have to understand the program. I'm the hardass of the group, with high expectations. After me, the kids are mentored by people more concerned about winning, and less concerned about teaching.

5) I need a big bookshelf. I have a ton of books for my student library from used bookstores and yard sales. I look at the very back corner of the school and viola, a huge bookshelf. If has to be 3.5 feet across and 7 feet tall. I spend the next half hour running down a custodian and getting it to my classroom. Then I need to rearrange furniture to fit the bookshelf. Hey look, haven't even got to lessons yet!.

6) Books start going up on the shelves.

7) 1p.m Lunch time! The teacher that taught next to me last year got hired on as an administrator at the high school. He's a terrific guy, only about 3 years older than me. Although he's admin, he's still a teacher at heart. Anyway, he comes over and invites me to lunch. Sushi is the menu. We talk work related subjects and Economics. He was a Gov/Econ teacher last year.

8) Back and more talk with Gov/Econ teachers about curriculum.

9) Set up my computer and tackle various problems. I hunt for a speaker cord and have to update all the Microsoft sets since the computer came home with me over the summer.

10) I'm winding down. I sift through more papers that need to be put away and slowly things begin to take shape.

11) 4 p.m. Time to go home. I walk to the admin building to get a copy of my schedule. It is bizarre. College prep is fine, both classes have 35 students. But Intro is all over the board. 2nd period has 17, 3rd has 26, 4th has................37!?!?!??!?!!? 37 Intro kids is crazy. I talk to a guidance person who says that I'm taking in more Sheltered kids (ELL'ers) this year because of a scheduling problem. Than I'm told to "prepare differentiated instruction and assessment" for the sheltered students. When I asked what she had in mind, I got no answer. With 37 students, there is not going to be much differentiation, keeping in mind that at least half will have IEPs that will need modification. I go home annoyed.

So endith Day One. I'm back in the classroom tomorrow, preparing for the year. Hopefully housecleaning will get down and I can work on class policies, and copy the first few weeks of materials.
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