Friday!!!

Well…I made it through my first half-week. And, really it wasn’t that bad at all. This is primarily because we are only in meetings. Students don’t show up until the 23rd. Since I am a new teacher, I have 2 wks of meetings (which I think I explained earlier).

On Wednesday we have meetings with the entire district staff. I’m sure it will be crowded as hell b/c we’re a big district. Also, my mom is an elementary teacher for the district, so I might get to sit by her at our super-big meeting. (*smile*)

Ok, so far…
Wednesday: we met at our individual buildings in the morning. There are 10 newbies, including me, at my building this year. 5 were actually hired for and taught during a portion of last year, but it was after new teacher induction. So, while they started working on their rooms, we got the world’s longest tour of our building. :-)P Wednesday afternoon we met w/ all the newbies from the whole district. We learned about our local Education Association and then had an inservice with a woman who wrote a book about teaching in a multicultural school district when you’re a white teacher (which most of us newbies in the district are…). It was pretty good.

Thursday: we met at a middle school for the whole day. The morning was spent learning about the 6-Traits writing and a) how to teach it in/across the content area and b) how to teach it as a Language Arts teacher. In the afternoon we broke up into workshops. I went to one on classroom management (which touched a LOT on procedures and what Harry Wong says in The First Days of School) and then another one on differentiating instruction. That one focused a lot on multiple intelligences, varying how you teach something (aka not just quizzes) and then also on the different styles or preferences of learning. A lot of it was stuff I had heard/learned in my education program, so it was nice to have it re-inforced. (or is it re-enforced?)

Today: We met at yet another middle school for the day and met JUST with our curriculum areas. So, I got to know more of the new Language Arts/Reading teachers in the district. We learned a LOT and discussed a LOT and I think this was by far the most helpful day. We talked about fitting the district’s mandated assessment tests into the curriculum (aka instead of just waiting till the last minute and shoving it in front of our students). We also talked about state writing assessment (which is a DAMN big deal, as all you educators know…my state assesses three separate grades to measure progress), structuring and pacing, planning or mapping out the semester and essential questions for our students. I have a much better idea now (after we’re given a sample template of setting up the school year–which I’d have to modify to fit into a semester b/c I’m on a straight 4 block) of how I can structure things. And, I have a GREAT idea for a bulletin board that would require just a little altering throughout the year. “ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: WHAT WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES” and then underneath, inside, etc, I’d have the essential questions for each unit/section posted, so kids know what we’re aiming for with each thing we do.

I got to thinking today that I’m really glad that I didn’t get hired by the district I student taught with–because I’m not sure I would’ve gotten this kind of information OR this feeling of support and encouragement. That district is bit snobby and full of themselves and has a better-than-thou attitude. MY district is great, and keeps telling us that, but is so earnest and enthusiastic (which I love). And they admit that we have issues we struggle with and obstacles to overcome, but that everyone is in it together. I guess I’m definitely drinking the Kool-Aid is where I’m going with this…

So, so far, so good. I just wish I could find all my letters/paperwork about next week. Becuase I don’t know which building to show up at next. *sigh*

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