Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week One Down...

The first day and a half of school went pretty well.

I don't know why, except it's the way it's always been done, but we always have a half day on the first day of school which we spend entirely with our homeroom.  Then we have a day off for staff development and planning.  Then we have a full day with all our classes.  That day off in there is a little wonky, but we do put it to good use.  It just seems weird.

In any case, the first half day is the "here is all the paperwork your poor parents needs to fill out, sign, return" day, plus rules, policies, blah, blah, blah, blah.  It's really quite boring, not only for the kids, but for us.  As the principal says, the important thing is they feel comfortable in a home room and they know how they are getting home.  This year I only had one kid who didn't know his bus number, but Guidance solved that rather quickly.  That's pretty good.  I had one kid one year who didn't know his address, phone or bus number (he had landed here the week before from Florida.)

My homeroom kids, all 24 of them (a significant drop from the 30 I had last year) are mostly special ed and lower achieving kids.  Out of the 24 of them, I teach 4 of them science.  The rest go to inclusion science with Mrs. Eagle and Mrs. Angora.  I guess because I'm teaching two grades I didn't get an inclusion class. So that's a bit weird.  I see these kids in the morning, then see them in the afternoon, and that's it.  No academic contact with them.

On Friday, the first full day, it got a little crazy.  The first three full days we spend a two hour block with our homerooms in the mornings doing training of some sort.  My homeroom is seventh grade so on Friday it was there turn to go to the gym or the theater and hear "The Talk" by the administrators.  Mr. Enforcer talks with the boys, and Mrs. Sparrow talks with the girls.  They go over discipline, dress code, cell phones, bullying, sexual harassment, etc.  On Monday we'll get our books and lockers.  On Tuesday we'll do our School Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) training.  Then on Wednesday, it's normal schedule, normal day.

So, that two hour block in the morning means about a 30 minute class for the remaining periods.  Which is barely enough to do attendance, introduce yourself, hand them the science lab rules that need to be signed and returned, and go over expectations.  We're doing electronic attendance every period this year instead of just in the morning, and that's taking a lot longer than I thought it would.  Once I know everyone's names, it should go easier.

Unfortunately, on these weird schedule days lunch just seems to throw a monkey wrench into everything.  The sixth grade went down to lunch early for a bit of an orientation (apparently there are a lot more choices for lunch in middle school which kind of overwhelms the kids).  However, going early didn't help as it took an extra 15 minutes for the kids to get through the line.  Which left me with about 5 minutes to introduce myself to my 2nd period class of sixth graders.   From that point on, everything was running quite a bit behind until about 5th period when things calmed down and the lunch was over.  Let's hope that it works out better on Monday.

So here it is, Saturday, and the building was open and quite a few of us were in there working.  Mrs. Eagle and I had some data drilling to do, plus copying, plus just catching up on stuff so we got in there early and did about 5 hours.  I don't feel so bad about missing a Saturday since it rained all morning and is hot and muggy today.  I just don't want to make a habit of it as we all need a mental break on the weekends.

So, one week is done.  So far, so good.

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