Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Whew! Yeah!

I feel *so* much better now that the anticipation and the first day are over!

Wow, it went fast. It felt like it should have been longer, for some reason. I know, I'm crazy.

Anyway, it went pretty well, I think. I saw each of my classes. A bunch of people not there, and a handful new add-ons in each one.

In the morning, I actually got up at 6.30, bleary-eyed and feeling hung-over from not enough real sleep. I left about 7.15, hit some traffic on the freeway but got to school about 7.40. I brought in the two bags of things I got at the dollar store (crates, candy, brooms), and rushed around my room finishing up. There were a couple things needing tidying, and I had to write the week's agenda and the homework up.

This year we are getting time for homeroom, which I'm thankful for. The older teachers last year were all, "Boo, homeroom, lots of paperwork." But in reality, though we didn't have separate times for it, we still had to do all things, and it cut into classroom time. So now they get ten minutes to do attendance and lockers and announcements. The last two years, announcements came any old time, anywhere from first to third period. Now it will be more structured, which means that our class time will (in theory) be actually all for, you know, class. And learning and stuff.

So because I have the book room as my menu item, I don't have a homeroom assignment. However, my morning class is in my classroom for homeroom, with a traveling teacher. Today and for probably a couple more days, I was with her to pick up the kids and start the homeroom stuff. That way I got to see them and immediately give them my guidelines for entering and things like that.

Oh man, while finishing up my room and while waiting for the kids, I was so nervous. I felt all flushed and anxious. Occasionally my stomach actually hurt. But, once I was in front of the kids, it all went away. I love public speaking on its own, and I love being in front of my own classroom, and thank god I seem to be not bad at both.

I have one high-level class, and two average. Last year it was the opposite, and I will miss it for sure, along with the actual students.

One class looks to be a full 33. I have 36 desks in my room but only 33 chairs, so I really hope those absent kids stay absent.

I had my morning class for technically two periods, but it was more like one and a half. The middle class I saw for one period, and the afternoon class for two full periods.

In all three, I had them fill out the contact card, and then handed out the parent newsletter (with a welcome letter, my contact info, supply list, expectations, unit list, and signature page). I went through parts of that with the class, not all of it though. Important things like no late homework, no bathroom, book orders, field trip, etc.

The middle class I had to rush through both of those and didn't really finish. My last class I got through them and got to go through my homework rubric. I drilled into them that the expectations are very reasonable, everyone is definitely capable of them, and following them will result in a 4 (out of 4).

That last class got a little chatty when it was time to write down tonight's assignment. I said very sharply and loudly, 'If you cannot handle writing down homework without chatting, we will have a very tough year. There is no reason to talk.'

Ai yi. I'm always nervous about management. I need to introduce the quiet signal and the class point things. Must add them to the agenda on the board.

I saw a handful of last year's students. It was neat to see them! Here's something cool: one of my worst kids from two years ago (who has somehow been promoted to the eighth grade on time, don't ask me how) walked by when I was in the hall with a class. He said to them, "You gotta good teacher, you better listen to her." Awesome!

And I got an instant message from a Class 3 girl right away, asking about the kids. She said this: "if they don't listen to you call me and every body from last year, will put them into place for you". I said in response, "Sweet! Thanks! :)"

So adorable.

So far I got a couple kids' names, I think. I noticed several were definitely more participatory, but they were well-behaved. One thing I need to work on is calling on many different students, and not only the ones with hands up. Yes, definitely. If I had a bit more money and organization, I might do that popsicle-stick-with-names thing. But then I'd have to have three jars and it would just be another thing I'd have to find a place for.

Once things got underway this morning, I was all like, "Yeah, let's go! Let's get this thing started!" Like, excited to start the year and start implementing good systems. And again, I felt like the day was over too soon. I was all hopped up on adrenaline, ready for more. Hurrah!

But now I'm glad I'm home. My shoes were hurting my feet a bit, and nylons are uncomfortable. I wore a black skirt suit with a light blue button-down shirt, one of my pearl necklaces, and my hair in a bun. The picture of a professional educator! Not the most comfortable attire; I'm always grateful to change into sweats or pj's.

I am going to add in the new names to my rosters tonight, but I figure they'll keep changing for a day or two. I'll tweak my week's plan because now the testing will be on our own and not lockdown, and starting on Friday instead, and because we now have an assembly first period tomorrow.

Alright, let's go! How was everyone else's (NYC) first day?

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Sounds like a good first day! Congrats! I, too, worry about "looking" like a teacher (especially in the first few weeks), and about using that no-nonsense teacher voice with my classes. I always forget about the latter because so many of our students are so sweet.

No bathroom?