Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Starting With a Clean Slate

I know that Tuesday is usually when I do True Confessions Tuesday, but I can't pass up talking about my first day of being at my new job.  Besides, I don't have that much to confess this week.  Maybe I'll do it this weekend - might have more to share by then. 

The first day in my new center is over....and what a day it was.

It was a great day, really.  Long.  Tiring.  But a very good day.

I arrived at the center, and was met by my new director.  She was super nice.  She treated me like she'd known me for years - and immediately gave me a tour of the facility.  We started in the main classroom...and then she told me she had a little surprise for me.  I was a little nervous by the way she said it - we were on to see my classroom, but that wasn't the surprise....

This was.....

I was getting a completely blank slate in which to arrange my room.  All of my stuff was piled up on one wall...

My director apologized for the state of the room....and I couldn't believe my eyes.  I wasn't upset, I wasn't disappointed.... I was ECSTATIC!!  This was exactly what I wanted, the opportunity to completely set up my first classroom. 

There was no setting up to be done, however, because the first order of business....

Fresh Paint!!

That wall was originally a very dull, sage green.  My assistant...yeah, assistant, get to that in a second... had picked out the color and spent the day before working on this wall.  She asked me if the color was OK and told me that she thought I'd be OK with a "primary color" theme.  I was totally fine with it - especially since she'd bought the paint with her own money. 

So, for the rest of the day, I painted and painted and painted.  That wall is blue, and there are poles around the outside of the room painted blue.  The area outside the door where the kids will hang their coats are, now, blue as well.  The other walls are white (fresh coat on those, too).  The curtains will be yellow, and the chairs are red and blue.

OK, so I spent the day painting, but also getting to know the people I was going to be working with.  The director is super nice.  The teacher and assistant from the other room are super nice.  I was so nervous about meeting my assistant, and will admit, I was a little uncomfortable with her at first.

She's worked for the center for five years.  I kept telling myself that the last thing she wants is a new teacher coming in and changing everything.  The most part of the morning was spent with small talk - where I'm from, my family, her time at Head Start, etc.  She made several references to how the old teacher did things, and that got me a little nervous.

By the afternoon, and four hours of painting, I started to feel a little more at ease.  We started talking about how the classroom was going to be arranged.  I started sharing some of my ideas, and asking for her feedback - and in no time, we were working together, laughing, and she was open to everything I suggested.

I'm very excited that I get an assistant all to myself.  I hope that doesn't sound bad.  What I mean by that is a partner in the classroom.  Someone to work along side me, help me out.  I made sure she knew that I'd be counting on her to really help show me the ropes, and I wasn't there to start barking orders.  I know that there is going to be times when I will do things differently to what she's used to - but I feel confident knowing she'll be able to talk to me, and we can bounce ideas off of each other.

Towards the end of the day, I told her that I needed to start thinking about classroom jobs for the kiddos.  She asked me if she could make the chart for it...she'd done it the year before, and really enjoyed it.  I thought it'd be a great help.  We sat and discussed the different jobs the kids would do, and how I'd assign jobs.  During that conversation it was revealed to me that I was responsible for getting a classroom pet.

This was another big deal to me.  I remember during my science class in college, the professor discussed the importance of picking a pet that would have some educational value.  While rodents (hamsters, guinea pigs, etc) are cute, and the kids like to pet them - there's not really any educational value.  Sure, the kids can feed them... but that's about the extent.  She told us that if we really wanted some bang for our buck - we should consider reptiles or amphibians so that the kiddos could observe them, discuss habitats, and cold blooded vs. warm blooded.  I knew immediately what pet I wanted:  A snake!!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this or not, but I own a ball python.  OK, I don't own him, Hubby does - but I claim the snake.  It's in my bedroom, next to my side of the bed.

Here he is...

I think snakes are perfect for a classroom not only due to habitats, and all that jazz... but they shed!! Kids LOVE messing around with snake skin.  Not only that, but snakes are so misunderstood.  I guarantee most kids will be terrified at first - because their parents are terrified.  They would be accustomed to being scared of snakes.  Also, there's a big misconception with the way they feel.  Snakes are not slimy - they are smooth.  A lot of kids don't know that. 

Now, I have to find a good classroom snake.  I want a small one, but they're not I'll have to do some looking around.  Another big benefit with a snake as a classroom pet is the fact that they are so easy to take care of.  They only eat about once every couple of weeks, same with pooping.... can you imagine only pooping once every couple of weeks??  There just isn't an easier pet to have.

OK, I did not intend for this much of my post being devoted to talking about snakes... I'm terrible about staying on subject.

Today, I have a day long professional development workshop. Tomorrow, I get to arrange my room.. YAY!!

That's it for me today.....sorry this week has all been about work - but this is an exciting time for me. Will get back on track soon.

Till next time. ;)
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  1. what a wonderful first day!!! And no, there is nothing wrong with enjoying an assistant. I would love one. :)

  2. Ahhh the beginning of the school year - full of workshops, in-services, etc. Also, I am deathly afraid of snakes. I think it's because they slither. Creeps me out mega big time... ugh.

  3. I nominated you for an award. Stop by my blog and check it out. Thanks for all you do...

  4. Thanks, Michelle! I like her - and I think we're going to get along just fine. *Fingers crossed*

    April - I get that, I do... but they are so misunderstood. They really make the perfect pet, though.

    Kirstin - THANK YOU!! I will check it out and post about it this weekend. :)

  5. Are you going to feed the snake like live mice? In front of the kids? I think some little ones would freak out over that. I know mine would.

    Looks like you have a nice big room. I can't wait to see it when its all done & ready for the little ones.


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