Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Second Day of School

There are so many resources - books, DVDs, websites - that prepare you for the first day of school.A full day of teachers college is dedicated to it. You can fill the first day with icebreakers, get-to-know you games, your own introduction, how-to procedures, and arts and crafts. I had my name on the door, a name tag on every student, a welcome sign on my board, my kid's notebooks and text books neatly placed on their desks and their first assignment ready to go the minute they set foot in the class. What they don't prepare you for, is the second. It was the second day of school that really hit me: holy shit, I'm a teacher. I've got a lot of work to do and have no real idea where to start. Up until the wee hours of Friday morning, overwhelmed with the task before me, I managed to plan a days worth of work for my students, thanking god that it was Friday and I had the weekend ahead of me to 1) sleep 2) run 3) work.

The other teachers here and the administration have been so helpful and supportive. My principal, acknowledging the fact that I have a difficult class with a wide range of abilities, has already come to my aid on a number of issues. Three other teachers have also been kind enough to supply me with resources that I was without.

What's happened in Kash is this: in 2006 there was a very dire water crisis, and mid-way through the school year the entire town was evacuated until the problem was resolved. As a result, all students missed a half year of school. It was decided that ALL students would be held back a year. This created a double cohort of students (now affecting the grade 3). Last year there was 3 or 4 grade two classes, this year there are 2 more grade 3 classes that in years previous, one of which I am teaching. My classroom used to house grade 2s. When I entered my classroom before school began, there were no grade 3 resources, books, etc, and they hadn't ordered anymore. Teachers at the end of the year purchase resources and supplies for those filling their shoes the following September - and since I wasn't replacing anyone in a new grade 3 class, I haven't had any supplies ordered yet for my classroom.

However, like I said, a few teachers have been extremely helpful and us grade 3 (and a grade 4 teacher) teachers have agreed on a open-classroom policy of sorts - so now I have math text books and am sharing social studies, science and literacy texts with another grade 3 teacher across the hall from me. Since art is my stronger suit, I've agreed to help her (Kris) out with that, meanwhile, she's going to teach me all she knows about running literacy centers (which I have no experience with) so I can begin to tackle the mixed abilities and interests so prevalent in my students.


  1. Wow Geni! What an adventure! I kind of envy you. I wish I would have had that kind of experience. I am going to give you one bit of advice. Routine is your best friend. Even if you think you might be boring the kids with the same old, same old every day - they will thrive on it. And I am so glad that you have a supportive principal and staff. Use them they won't mind! I am going to love reading about your experiences and I will keep in touch!

  2. Thanks Barb - its funny you said that, because I was actually really worried about boring my students. I've changed my attitude since (my mantra: "I'm not here to make friends with students") and already I'm noticing huge changes in how students are responding to me. Who knew - I think I'm a pretty tough teacher!
    Thanks again, and all the best to you and your girls!
    Love Geni