So said Benjamin Franklin, who liked making up homilies. The first day of school went well. After the morning yard duty, carrying an A-Z list walking around greeting and directing families to classrooms, I settled in to the new spot I parked my desk. In fact I have rearranged the entire room, since the custodial staff put everything back in a panoramic, ampli-theater design, which was pretty awful. My new desk spot is on the wall near the opening, called a door, but in a pod space it really isn’t a door. Part of the opening is blocked by a double door cabinet just to mitigate the effect of looking in from the main doors at the cafeteria, down the pod hallway and straight into my room. Tunnels are not chic in interior design.
I like the re-arrangement. The windows in a little alcove used to be where I parked my desk, but this year I set up the small group instruction for the elementary groups in that pleasant space. It won’t feel so schoolish. Then, the GATE desks are arranged in an oblong facing the projector screen and finally the primary group section is the horseshoe table by the cabinets and drawers.
Someone found a credo I wrote about schooling and life, with a collage from Smithsonian mounted on tag board — I think it must have been in my outgoing principal’s office. I like it. I still mean what I wrote, so I tacked that to the wall next to my desk with the calendar and bell schedule.
The rest of the day I got administrative things done — getting the GATE student lists updated. I will have twenty 3-5th graders who are gifted and talented, or guests in the program. We’ll meet weekly and pursue personal learning projects.
I got the predictive list of who needs to be tested 1:1 for reading and what room they are in and emailed teachers in each grade level. I walked around my tentative schedule and got buy-in. I updated all the forms we’ll be using to track LLI benchmarks and my LLI stats for the year.
And, I walked to the office a dozen times, once for a cum folder, twice for the secretary, several times to talk with a GATE cluster teacher, etc. After at least 10 times passing through the staff room past a box of cookies, I saw the counselor in her room next door. I stepped in.
¨I think I deserve a sticker for passing the cookies ten times without taking one,”I told Stephanie.
¨What kind of sticker do you want?¨ she asked moving to her stash.
¨A shiny, glittery one.¨ After it was posted on the back of my hand, it gave me superpowers the rest of the day to walk past the cookies. Until. Until after 3 pm, when there was just one last cookie. One lonely, tired cookie left.
I was thinking that the level of organization and preparedness I already have for my job is different than last start up. Oh yes, I was unpacking, sorting, shelving and cataloging an entire library for guided reading my first 10 days when I could have been doing forms, communicating and testing students. It made my LLI groups collide with the start up of ELD rotations which was very stressful and engendered some hostility from some of the less evolved staff members.
And, of course, I hate going into teaching groups when I haven’t had time to prepare adequately, which means completely in my world. And, if you’ve ever taught LLI with Fountas & Pinnell you’ll have sense of the endless preparation required to run groups in the Green, Blue, and Red systems simultaneously. In January I add one more color to the juggling, Orange, for the kinderbuddies.
So, I came home by 4 pm, very decent hour. I was cheery with my Mom. I handled some business, marinaded chicken, made salad and grilled the meat. We had a nice supper followed by two squares of dark chocolate on the front porch. I went for a pounding 45 minute walk in the loop around Olinder ES and got my exercise.
Then I meditated for ten glorious minutes of relaxed stillness. Not the mind so much as the body.
And, now for the ten minute write, while Mickey has curled up on my desk. The crickets are chirping outside, but the air is cool and breezy. Everything says that summer will be wrapping up, or closing down, or folding in, throwing in the cards — whatever cliche’ or idiom you like.