Saturday, September 19, 2009

A look back on the first full week:

Sunday: Hit the wall and had a major "I can't do this job! I just can't do it! It's too much!" kind of reaction all of the paperwork that I can't seem to leave at work.

Monday: Forgot to put on deodorant before leaving for work. Awesome.

Tuesday: Realized that I over-planned my lessons by about two weeks, forgetting that sixth-graders need instruction on how to open lockers, take out their notebooks, and keep their shirts tucked in. Maybe a few more days before we get into character analysis?

Wednesday: Parent Open House two hours after the end of the school day. Prepared a Power Point presentation that might have made me look like a big dork. It was a bit over done...too much text. Later was cornered by two "concerned" mothers insisting that I stop giving their kids homework. They said our extended school day is long enough and why should the kids have to do MORE work once at home. A legitimate concern, however, I had to remind these women that assigning two small assignments to help the students learn the week's vocabulary list is not exactly out of line.

Thursday: One of my students had to teach me how to activate the light on my document camera...I was grateful but it made me feel like a bit of a dinosaur. Later had a meeting with my principal and team teachers...was lightly teased for being a ball of anxiety and a perfectionist. Went to class that night and was told by a classmate that I seemed stressed out. Two hours later was told by another classmate that I should probably go get a massage.

Friday: Eight kids asked me to go to the bathroom during the first fifteen minutes of class. (What the...?) I said 'no' and made several preadolescent enemies. Later in the day I thought it would be funny to mess with the gifted kids and tell them they needed to memorize 100 words by Monday. They weren't amused. I told them to lighten up and made a few more preadolescent enemies.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Touchy? Feely? Read on!


1. I survived the first week with only one relatively minor melt-down.

2. A girl I had last year in a reading intervention group (this girl was initially so angry to be in the group that she used to throw pencils at me) gave me a hug when she saw me today and is very excited to start up again and to keep improving her skills.

3. The shiny new school building seems to have lifted everyone's spirits.

4. I was (FINALLY!) able to incorporate Powerpoint presentations into my lessons now that I have the technology to do so.

5. The school principal has been smiling a lot. Also, she went out of her way to save and return to me the hundred-year old spider plant that I absentmindedly left in the old school building over the summer.

Pretty neat...pretty sweet...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Insomnia and Bubble Baths

The insomnia has set in.

I went to sleep at eleven last night and, after falling into a light slumber for about ten minutes, I remained in a state of constant awareness of my surroundings for the rest of the night...good if you're trying to become more enlightened during daylight hours, bad if you are starting to teach in two days and need all the rest you can get before meeting your students. Fudge-buckets.

So, while shopping at Target for more last-minute classroom items, I picked up a bottle of baby bubble bath with lavender in it. It's supposed to make cranky infants relax at bedtime and I'm hoping it has the same effect on me.

No matter how prepared we are for the kids, I would imagine that the first-week jitters get to all of us. The week before going back to school after a summer off is like having a huge jacked-up Incredible Hulk-sized version of the Sunday blues beat you over the head with a desk. I'm not complaining about my summers off. Heaven forbid! There are folks out there that want to tie teachers to flagpoles for all the time they get out of work. I'm just expressing my thoughts about the enormous amount of anxiety that comes with going back.

Here's my challenge: I need to ignore my inner perfectionist and just put the work and preparation aside and take some time out for me. The plan: Take a baby bubble bath and listen to jazz.

Here's to a good night's sleep...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

***Names changed to protect the innocent...

I met a student the other day at our school's sixth grade orientation. He was squirming around nervously as his homeroom teacher stood at the front of the room assigning locker combinations, so I sat down next to him and asked him his name.

"Bob," he answered.

The little girl wearing long braids sitting next to him said, "No it's not. His name is Peter***. He was in my class last year."

"No, my name is Bob. BOB! BOB! I'm not Peter, I'm Bob! Bob! Bob! BOB!"

Then he stopped crying out his pseudonym for a moment, stared at me and asked, "Are you a student?"

"Do I look like a student?"

"Yup. You do. He-he-he." Then "Bob" continued cackling and bouncing up and down in his seat like a wild man.

I found out later that day that "Bob" is on my class roster for this year.

Whoa, Nelly. I need a few more weeks of summer vacation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lordy, lordy...

Lordy, lordy. Going complaint-blame-whine-free is so hard.

I've been in and out of school for weeks getting my classroom ready, engaging in various forms of professional development, and serving on committees, etc. I have to admit, again, that I'm really doing a poor job of committing to the contract I've made with myself. Over the last two days, I was presented with two major opportunities for me to exercise my new way of doing things and I blew it. Looking on the bright side, however, I was able to see quite clearly how I currently relate to my job: I REACT! So maybe these "opportunities" and my panic-stricken reactions to them were a sort of gift - The gift of clarity.

Forgive thyself and start again.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...Chug, Chug, Chug...