Sunday, September 9, 2012

Year 3 (of teaching, not Hogwarts)

Week 1 of school: Done. Here we go again, folks!

I’ll try to post more often now that I’ll actually have more material to work with. I did recently write a political piece that I was really proud of and was going to publish here, but my dad said that while it was great, he didn’t want it to ever be found by a potential employer and end up hurting my chances of getting hired. Much as it kills me to admit it, Papa Bear was right. Damn it. I feel so artistically stifled.

Going back to school always gives me such mixed feelings. On the one hand, I love summer. I grew up at the beach, and my birthday is even in the summer, so I’m a summer gal through and through. And this summer was fantastic. I actually didn’t make it to the beach that much (partly because I’m no longer living with my folks), but I saw my friends and family a lot and did plenty of cool things (like the Color Run, going to the X Factor auditions, watching Euro Cup in Boston with friends, playing soccer, watching 5+ hours of Olympics coverage per day [okay maybe some of you will think that’s more sad than cool…], hanging out with the wonderful R.R. who was in town just for the summer, hanging out in Boston, etc.). So when I’m sitting on the beach and someone asks me, “Hey, are you ready to go back to school?!?” it’s hard for me to muster a whole lot of enthusiasm. When I started seeing back-to-school Target commercials in late July, I swore at my TV.

But on the other hand, one thing I like about this job is that every year you sort of get a fresh start. New kids, new chance to set the tone and lay down the law early, the opportunity to try new things (especially since I’m teaching a couple of brand new courses), and this year I have my own classroom! Other than the fact that it leaks like a faucet during heavy rains, I love it. I really enjoy creating spaces that reflect their purposes and my personality. I’ve got posters on the walls that I’ve saved from college, a mini whiteboard that shows the quote of the week (if I can get the darn thing to stay on the wall), mini posters I made myself with quotes from books and such, and I have the desks in a double-horseshoe in order to better facilitate student discussions. Yup, I got to geek the place out. Hopefully it looks welcoming and is a place that will inspire students. And it’s great to have everything where I want it and to not feel like I’m invading someone else’s space. I’m hoping that having a classroom will get me to be more organized, since I won’t be on the move all the time with my stuff all over the place.

This past week was kind of hectic—we had school on Tuesday and Wednesday, day of on Thursday for the state primary election that no one really cared about, and then Friday was picture day. All the English teachers have to take their classes to get their pictures taken, since that’s the only subject every student has to take, so there went half of class. So there’s not a whole lot of exciting stuff to report on yet, but as I continue to get to know the students I’m sure the stories will start cropping up.

Oh, also: I work with the coolest department. On the first day back for teachers, we had already started planning a party to celebrate our retirees and welcome the newbies (and because we just like having excuses to have fun together). And on Friday, a bunch of us went out after school, where we decided we need to do some fun stuff as a group this year, including some sort of a trip (maybe New York, Martha’s Vineyard, etc.).Our new additions seem great, and the rest of us have been reminding them that we’d be happy to help them in any way we can.

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