Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Pretty Much the Same as Last Year

This morning, I read my blog post from this date last year. It was a Monday, and I was sharing how I'd spent my last Sunday night staying up late, as it was the last Sunday night of my summer break.  I missed that when I posted yesterday, because Sunday was - again - the last late night Sunday of my summer break.

Monday of next week, I'll be "officially" back to work, even though I've been going to work almost every day for a little over a week.  It's a little different, though because I've got to set my own schedule and go in when I wanted to.

This time last year, I was sharing how anxious I was to get in to my classroom as a teacher for the first time.  My very own classroom.  My very own students.  A dream that was 25 years in the making had finally come true, and I was going to be a teacher.

I couldn't of asked for a better first year.  I had a wonderful class of kids that were loving and kind and well behaved.  I had a wonderful team that supported me and helped me and got me through each panic attack.  

It was everything I hadn't been expecting.

All though college I had been introduced to first year horror stories.  The new teacher always got the tough pick of the kids.  The new teacher was always treated like a newbie and never given any real respect or leeway to teach what he/she wanted to teach.  The new teacher spending his/her first year crying and panicking and feeling nothing but overwhelmed.

Thankfully, they were all horror stories that I never had to worry about.  Not a single one of them things happened to me.  

I don't feel near as many nerves as I did this time last year, but I am feeling a little overwhelmed by how much I still need to do in my classroom before school starts.  I know some teachers who don't show up until that first official Monday, and they are able to get their room ready to go in three days.

I am not one of those teachers.  Not even close.

Last year, I started with a completely new canvas.  I had to move all of my stuff in and completely start from scratch.  So much to do in so little time.

This year, all my stuff was there, but it was all boxed up at the end of the year and stuffed in to any place that could hold it.  I had to unpack it all and basically completely start from scratch... because I didn't want a room that was full of clutter.

This was my room on the first day of working in it last year...

This was my room on the first day of working in it this year...

A lot more stuff in there this year, but still basically starting over.  

Thankfully, my room doesn't look like that now... I've come a long way, but not far enough to be done.

My first year went by so fast.  I worried so much about it, and then in a blink of an eye it was over.  Before I had time to really worry about how I was going to do something or how something should be done...I had done it.  First week jitters came and went.  First round of testing.  First holidays.  More holidays.  First benchmark testing.  Done.  Done.  Done.  No worries.  No problems.  No major mistakes.  I got through every bit of what I needed to do with minimal tears, minimal stress, and minimal worry.

Sure, there were a few tough times here and there... but I didn't really even have time to worry about them.  They were gone and past before I had much chance to dwell on them.

Now, I'm entering in to my second year.  I've now done this before.  I'm still new, I'm still learning, but I've got a year under my belt.  I know how the day to day routines go.  I know my expectations.  I know what I need to do in order to properly do my job, and do it well.  

Although, I'll also be experiencing a few firsts.  

My first year having a completely self-contained classroom.  This year my kids won't all break up and divide themselves among the other 4th grade teachers - me taking some of theirs and they taking some of mine.  My kids will be my kids all day long.  Which is something I've always wanted.  Not sure that's how I'll still feel once the year is over, but it will be nice to at least get a year of it to see how it goes.

My first year teaching common core standards.  And this one I head in to with my team being completely brand new for all of us.  No leaning on them for support and guidance, because we'll all be doing that for each other.  Testing out new stuff...new methods of teaching, a new order to how it's taught.

But, I'm ready for all of it.  Ready and rearing to go.

Today and tomorrow, I'll be spending my time in professional development training.  I'll be listening and learning and doing my best to enjoy it.  I'm sure I'll spend some time wishing that I was in my classroom doing what needed to be done in there, but I'm actually one of those teachers that doesn't mind professional development.  Some of it.  Not all.  But, it's always good to stay on top of new learning and find out stuff I should be implementing with my kids.

When it really comes down to it, just like last year I'm excited and ready to go.  I've enjoyed my summer.  I've enjoyed having time with my family (when they've been here).  I've enjoyed moving in to my new house and getting a little over two months to settle in and make it a home.  But, it's been long enough.  I'm ready to get this year started.


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