I Survived!

These are the exact words I said as I left Dunbar on Friday afternoon.  It has been the LONGEST week ever, but I think we’re off to a great year.

This week, I had my kids write an essay about themselves.  It’s an easy way for me to get to know them, but it also lets me assess their writing.  And, I’ve gotta tell ya, they are all over the place for me this year.  I have some that need help getting what’s in their head to come out on paper and I have others that write better than I do!  I’m going to have to get really creative with my lesson plans to be sure.

I already have some kids that really stand out (some for good reasons and some for not so good reasons), but this year, I don’t want to lose focus on those middle kids.  As a kid, I was one of those middle kids.  Smart, but not a genius.  Quiet and never got in trouble.  Always did my homework and never caused any problems for anybody, but none of my teachers ever seemed to really see me because they were busy doting on the really smart, good kids or were disciplining the bad ones.  So, one of my (many) goals this year is to not lose sight of the middle guys.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

One week down!

Classroom Tour

The first day of school was today.  Even after 6 years, I still get the jitters on the first day.  It’s just unsettling when you don’t know you’re kids and you’re about to spend 9 months with them.  So intimidating.

I’m happy to report that the first day went well.  My kids seem pretty solid and well behaved.  I give them until Wednesday to start showing their true colors.  Ha!

Here’s a little tour of my classroom this year.  I should do a before and after when the year is up to show you what 8th graders can do to a classroom.  It’s pretty amazing.

A little chalkboard on the door for notes and directions.

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Classic book covers to decorate the closet door.

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A little student station.

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A white board and a word wall.  Essentials in the English classroom.

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I got crafty and covered the shades with fabric this year.  They look SO much better, but don’t roll them down because you’ll see the old shade…

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I love this bookcase!

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My little work station.

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Not too shabby!  I love this time in the school year when life is full of possibilities and excitement.  I’m trying really hard to hold onto this feeling for as long as I can.

First Day Back

Well, today I had to go back to work.  No students, yet, so that makes it a tiny bit better, but not much.  Usually when the summer is winding down, I get antsy and ready to go back to school.  I need the routine.  But, this time, it totally snuck up on me.  I think with Bennett, a routine is already in place every day, so structure was definitely not absent in my day to day.  Needless to say, I have not prepared a single thing.  I’m going in totally blind this time around.  Usually I’ll have thought about the first week at least.  Not this time.  I’m just hoping to have my classroom ready and what I’m doing on the first day finished by Friday.  Sheesh.

I’m feeling pretty nonchalant about the school year which I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  Does it mean I’ve been teaching long enough that I’ve finally found my stride?  Or does it mean that I’m not as passionate and excited about the school year?  I don’t know, yet, but I’m really hoping it’s not the latter.  I’ve got a LONG way to go before retirement.

I’m really praying this week about the school year that the Lord will continually remind me that this has nothing to do with me and everything to do with bringing Him glory.  As hard as that is to do on a daily basis with middle school kids that drive you insane, it’s something that I really want to keep on the forefront of my mind.  I want to be able to give my students grace and love, but the only way that can ever happen is if I stay close to the Lord.  It gets really easy to start depending on yourself in this profession, though.  I mean, it’s day one and I’ve already said about 17 curse words.  Lord help me.

I was really excited to see my co-workers, though.  I work with some really amazing people.  People that love to teach and love students.  Maybe some of their passion and enthusiasm will rub off on me a bit this week.  Here’s to 2013-2014!