I'm slowly learning my schedule and routine and it's a bit weird for me. I'm so used to being in the same place all day with the same students. I have to admit, I am LOVING the variety in my day, but trying to figure out schedules has been a tad daunting. (I'm quite positive that in another couple of weeks, I won't even have to bat an eye...in the meantime, however, I am making myself a cheat sheet because I'm sure that our first late start day is really going to throw me for a loop!)
Today was the first full day of school and also my first day traveling between my two buildings. I woke up super early this morning for some random reason. I fully expected that to happen the night before the first day, but I slept like a baby (has never happened in 14 years!). The second night, nope. I was wide awake at 4 am and no matter what I did, I could not fall back to sleep. I finally got out of bed and hopped in the shower at 5.
I left early enough to be able to stop at my middle school and drop off and pick up a couple of things before heading to my elementary. I'm so used to being the first one at school and when I got there at 6:45 am there were other folks there. I was impressed (especially because in my previous district, I was always told that secondary people "work to contract, no more, no less"). Waved hello to a couple of folks then took off to run an errand (yes at 7 am!) and then headed to my elementary and still got there 10 minutes before I was required to be there :)
My first hour of the day is planning so I was able to sort through the data I already had and do some calculating. We had some shifting of classrooms last week, just before we opened up school, so I had to figure out where some of my students landed. That was easy enough to do and then I was able to actually meet with and touch base with some of the other staff whom I hadn't had a chance to really talk to or introduce myself to. Looked through new kindergarten enrollment forms and found a few friends I will need to screen next week. (I'm sure there are more because it doesn't appear that all of the forms were in yet as they come from central office.)
I did some other scheduling and arranging and checking emails and answering emails. I also had a chance to touch base with my mentor. We share a family so that was nice to be able to connect with her about them and making sure that we have everything in place for those students.
I also got to finally finish putting up the bulletin board paper and borders on my closets (it had this really weird, old and ugly wallpaper on it) and create my Content and Language objectives area on the whiteboard. It's a big enough space that I can actually just write my CO & LO for each grade at the same time. I have some of those magnets that show a pointing finger so I figure when I have a specific grade in there, I will just move the pointer to the correct grade and voila. :)
Before I knew it, it was time for lunch and then traveling over to the middle school. The drive isn't that bad right now because the weather is nice, but it could get interesting when the weather changes. I am definitely going to have to plan ahead. It might actually be prudent for me to travel THEN eat on those days. (I taught elementary school for 13 years, I am definitely used to eating a meal in under 10 minutes if I have to!)
The only dedicated class I have is 6th hour. This class did not exist last year because there wasn't enough staffing to have a dedicated class (they had two ESL teachers in the district last year and now we have three). It's a mix of 6th-8th grade and some of the 8th graders, who slipped by not having to have this class last year because it didn't exist, are a little annoyed that they have to be in there instead of a "specials" class (like gym or art or the STEM classes). Alas, I am just going to keep it as positive as I can!
Part of me feels bad for them and I certainly understand their frustration...but it is what it is and there is nothing I can do about it. I think it will get better for them when we get started with some real curriculum work -- when they are busy and engaged, it [hopefully] won't feel like they are being punished!
I do have a quite a wide range of students in there too, including three newcomers to the USA. Differentiation is going to be essential! I do have some FROG games that I purchased last year and I think they might even work for my middle schoolers. I am going to ask them tomorrow if they would like to earn game time on Fridays because it would allow them to practice some of the grammar concepts but they ARE games and who doesn't like games?!
As much as I know some of those kids are upset to be in the class (or at least are annoyed), I do believe that once they realize we CAN have fun and learn at the same time, it will be a good class. They have a ton of potential. I told them my goal is really to work myself out of a job -- to have them all do so well on the WIDA this year that they don't need me anymore. We shall see if I can motivate them to get to that point :)