What's most interesting to me right now is the fact that I won't be in either of my spaces full time, but I'm still plumb exhausted. It is a good sort of exhaustion! I love setting up a learning environment for myself and my students. I love making it my own and then adding in touches of work and learning I've done with the students.
This year, because I am an ESL teacher, I won't have the same students all day every day. I will have a classroom at my elementary school and at the middle school. So two spaces to set up and prepare for learning. My elementary space I know for sure is not shared with anyone else (the school is gigantic and there are many empty rooms). The middle school space is unclear to me if it is shared. I was told at first that it is not, but then I got an email saying it might be necessary and I have not yet heard back to know if it is, indeed, having to be shared.
It is a big and beautiful space and selfishly I hope I don't have to share it, but nothing I can do if I do have to share because I know that the middle school is overcrowded now since 6th grade came back to that building.
At any rate, I also have to say I LOVE the fact that I can access my schools 24/7. I was never allowed to do that. Mostly I appreciated it because it forced me to take time off and relax and focus on myself and family. There were times, however, when it was really annoying. When my kids were small and I couldn't pop in on a Sunday evening to prepare for a sub knowing I wasn't going to be there on Monday so I had to go in early just to go home so my students would have a productive day. (This was also true any other day of the week!)
Of course, having access 24/7 can be dangerous because sometimes its too tempting to be there because there are always more things to be done. It's the nature of the beast. Fortunately, my new district is 45 minutes away so I won't be popping over on weekends very often! I do like having the option to go in, however, if I really need the time/space to work.
I got my keys on Wednesday and got to see both of my spaces and Friday I went to my elementary school and began setting things up. I'm not sure how long the previous teacher had been in there but it was clearly a long time. She took nothing with her. (I mean, I found silverware and other personal effects!) I spent a good deal of time purging, sorting and putting things I just don't know what to do with in closets. Fortunately, I have a ton of storage space in there so I am utilizing two closets and the other two and the big storage cart are housing things I just didn't know what to do with or where to put it. It's a solution for now. As the year goes on, I will purge and clean bits at a time.
I went back in Saturday (yep, on Saturday!) with my family. They helped me move in my big furniture items (small group table and my rocking chair) that I knew would be too heavy for me to move on my own. I also brought in some teaching materials that I have, plus desk and teacher organizational items. My youngest stuck around yesterday to help me finish up what I could.
There is a huge pile of tables and garbage that has to be removed (and I feel bad for the custodians), but otherwise the space is more or less functional. I do still need to replace the bulletin board paper and do a little decorating but I'm not as concerned with that since I won't have students in there all day every day.
The next big thing I need to do is figure out my tech cabinet and projector. It's so different than what I have had before so I have to spend some time figuring that out so I can use it once I do have students in there.
I'm excited for the space, though. It's big and open and with really only doing testing and small groups in there, I have a ton of open space and I love that.
This week I have meetings Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday that was offered for teachers new to the district. Some of it I probably know (the math curriculum is one I used for 11 years!) but I am unfamiliar with the science/social studies/writing programs they use so I'm excited to learn about those. There are also a couple of half day trainings on Kagan and CHAMPs, both of which I've never had training in so I'm excited for those.
Wednesday is my only open day and I'm hopeful to know by then if that middle school space is solely mine or has to be shared. I want to get in there and make it mine if I don't actually have to share it and Wednesday is really the only day in which I will have to do that. I have a really nice standing desk at home that would go perfectly in that room.
I'm glad I'm the kind of teacher who enjoys setting up learning spaces because otherwise it might be kind of annoying to have two spaces to set up...but truthfully I am so glad I do. Especially that middle school space, it is beyond amazing. By far the best room I've ever had. (That's why I'm so hopeful it is just for me!)
Stay tuned for pictures of my final setups!