1st Weekend of School

Phew! My first few days of school are over! What a whirlwind. What exhaustion!

I am a Utah Studies (7th grade) and U.S. History (8th grade) teacher (intern) at Springville Junior High, home of the knights!

Last week, there were 3 days teachers were required to come in: faculty meetings, department meeting, district meetings, finish your classrooms, work on lesson plans, eat boxed lunches, all that kind of jazz.

I realized there is so much more to teaching than just taking attendance and giving lessons. So much more. So very much more.

There is nitty-gritty, there is federal law, there is adaptations and compromises, there are a bazillion little tiny nuances and traditions. Everything was thrown into my head! At least I didn’t have to go it alone. There are 4 other interns besides me: P.E./Aerobics, English, Computer/Business, and Math. We have 3 wonderful mentors who have been there to catch us as we fall and guide us to the promised land. I will talk more about mine later.

This weekend, I also finished my classroom.

My classroom is outside in a portable. We only have a semi-working swamp cooler to keep us  “cool.” (It doesn’t)

My desk is, of course, filled with Welsh stuff and medieval history stuff. Too bad I don’t teach European history.

My bookshelf, old-fashioned overhead, and a cut-out of George Washington. He was left by the previous teacher! Can’t wait to use him!

My poster board. I bought a lot of cool posters for U.S. History!

I will NOT tolerate any use of any phones, iPods, or electronics!

It was pretty fun to decorate my classroom. But, again, there are so many minute details you have to think about: where to turn in work, what about late/absent work, where to show schedules and due dates, posting the daily objective/goal, where do class-set of textbooks go, what is the best arrangement for desks, how to organize all the different kinds of papers at your desk!

Monday was 7th grade orientation…my 7th graders seemed so excited and willing to participate. That made me happy. They were even like that the 1st day, which continued my relief! Afterwards, I desperately scrambled to prepare the first few days and print out all the copies I would need of everything. Then, open house! The sheer amount of faces that showed up! I teach 6 periods, all with about 32 students…that is a lot. And meeting there parents! I was overwhelmed and exhausted. And went home and went to bed early. Poor husband.

Yesterday was the first day. Again, my 7th graders were well behaved because it was their first day of junior high. But, my 4 periods of 8th graders were a different story. They’ve been there, done that. So, they sat with their friends, talked, told me how much they loved the teacher who had my room in 7th grade….oh my. I have some big shoes to fill.

It was interesting because I was able to begin to see who the trouble makers would be and who their comrades were. However, as I went back over my role and saw the different IEPs and 504s, it made a lot more sense as to who was misbehaving. My classroom management professor taught us that “negative behavior is a positive attempt at attention.” So, keeping that philosophy in mind, I will do my best to use passive classroom management (such as being quiet and smiling at the class until they turn back towards me and tell each other to pay attention–it actually works, especially after you do it a few times). My goal is to never raise my voice at them, so I keep quiet.

Yesterday, I was so tired mentally and physically. I went home, took an hour nap, didn’t even make dinner…just took things out of the cupboard and told Justin, “this is dinner.” The whole evening I worked on lesson plans and studied my classes. Again, poor husband.

Today, I felt better. I believe my classroom management is working well. I was able to learn to pace myself based on the first period of each subject I taught. I’ve already talked to a few of the chatters and misbehavers from yesterday. I feel pretty confident.

I am still scared stiff about learning names and putting them to faces as I have always had trouble with that, even as an EFY counselor last year.

Wish me luck!

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.