Thursday, August 15, 2013

I'm One of Those Teachers

Someone asked me today when school starts up again.  I seriously sighed before answering: "in about three weeks."  Honestly, I would have to look up the exact date.  I'm one of those teachers.  I know when, but not exactly when.  I have another vacation-- up next, Jamaica! with the boyfriend and our mothers -- another week until the end of the month, two days of work after Labor Day and the students come in after our four-day weekend due to Rosh Hashanah.

In my last school, I always got a letter each year from the principal, welcoming everyone back and letting us all know when we could enter the building early.  I used to go in for a day or two with my colleagues and work on my classroom-- cleaning, decorating, putting up colorful paper, adding personal touches*, and of course organizing.  Last year, at my current school I went in for a professional week in August.  This year I will be doing none of those things. 

It took seven years, but as I begin my eighth year teaching, I feel confident that I can put together a room worthy of the "Best Classroom Environment" awards I used to win at my old school during our two days at work without students.  Even if that means I work through lunch in between professional developments and stay an hour or two after work.  Maybe this is me trying to hold on to summer just a little bit longer; regardless seven years has gifted me the ability to not worry about things that will get done.  Setting up a room, writing out a list of rules expectations and planning the first few days of school is the easy part.  Sustaining a thriving classroom with control**, classroom culture and actual learning is the hard part.

On that note, time to pack for my next vacation.

Miss M

* I love color and vibrant prints, so past classrooms have included curtains made from fabric purchased at discounted rates and cloth over the teacher's desk and other surfaces.

** In other words, control in terms of classroom management is when the students make the right decision without your prodding.  This of course is a result of teaching routines and procedures, giving consequences and the like.

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