Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day Weekend...labor free?

How was my first week of school? Totally different from the past!

It makes a BIG difference when the leadership of the school, educators and all the staff are working together and are supporting each other. The administrators were vigilant in doing their rounds and hall sweeps and teachers were at their duty posts everyday. Principal Patton and the teachers were there outside the school to greet the students who were lining up to get through the metal detectors. Some students still tried to break the uniform rules, but they did not get past through the teachers before they entered the auditorium to join their respective homeroom. It's good to see the students in their complete uniform, it's like saying "I belong to Jefferson family, and I want to succeed!". I guess we were able to set the tone from Day 1 that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated in school.

As I've always been doing during the first weekend of school, I have started updating our class portal: with the syllabus, encoding the names of my students in my online gradebook and the weekly lesson plans so that students, parents and tutors can have access to my class materials even outside the classroom. Check out colleagues, it is a free grading program that enables teachers to post assignments and grades for parents and students. It saved my job last summer during an unexpected visit from a DCPS monitor! My classblog is an extension of my classroom, and I have links of my classroom presentations and different educational games so they can work at home on their skills needed to be at par with their grade level peers.

In the past I used to feel stressed, pressured and anxious during the beginning of school. This year there are too many things going on. My school is in a transition stage, and this is my first year to teach 6th graders. The pacing guide looks different from the 7th and 8th grade pacing guides and their textbooks are of different publishers. I am teaching both ELA and Math in multilevel-noncategorical resource classes; other teachers told me that I have the most challenging classes this year. Time to be creative and innovative! I have to create a system for myself in lesson planning. I have a lot of great ideas for differentiating instruction but I'm still trying to figure out how to put this on a lesson plan template. My syllabus is done; I have started lesson planning yesterday but I did not finish it. I will work on it and finish it today, because I want to have a labor free day on Monday. Am I stressed?

This past weeks, I have been getting up early in the morning to the call of my 6 month old baby that I don't need an alarm clock anymore. I leave the house just early enough to have my 45 min. drive to work with no traffic and to get a nice and safe parking spot in school. Today, I am doing the laundry and preparing a grocery shopping list, while blogging and constructing a lesson plan in my mind before I type it. Oh, I should not forget to buy my 5th grade daughter's violin required for her strings music class (Charles County Public Schools in MD, they have excellent education!); she's been into violin since first grade. She's all set with her school supplies, and thanks God for a wonderful husband, he takes care of assisting her with her homework while I'm still at work or on my way home. Am I stressed?

I promise to have a labor free day on Monday. I am physically tired but, no, I am not stressed. This holiday weekend will give me the rest and leisure that I need to have a fresh start next week.

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