I leisurely sip coffee at my desk on the first day of school when students begin filing in- and they just keep coming by the thousands. I suddenly realize I don’t have first hour planning finished, I don’t have a syllabus and I can’t get the kids to sit down and be quiet.
This is the first of many dreams that begin for me about a month before school even starts. In reality, there is never time to leisurely sip a cup of coffee at my desk.
I begin getting ready for the school year before the current school year is over. There are meetings for redesigning curricula and collaboration about what was effective and what needs improvement. Common Core Standards are fairly new to education and also need to be reviewed and implemented.
I have used time this summer to prepare for the upcoming school year. I have read nonfiction, cleaned and organized curriculum binders and researched Web 2.0 lessons. I have created and edited classroom web pages, policies and syllabi.
I will continue work on lesson plans the week before school. This involves making sure I have daily focus activities, lesson objectives, guided practice, independent practice and a reflection activity. I have outlined semester lessons and will develop at least two weeks of lessons in advance of school starting.
I had to move classrooms this year and have spent hours moving furniture, unpacking, organizing and decorating my new classroom. I try to set up the classroom from a student perspective by sitting in different places in the classroom and looking around.
I will spend time the week before school attending professional development courses and district in-services. Some of the courses involve how to utilize Thinking Maps, Podcasts and Reader’s/Writer’s Notebooks. I will be updated about district information and receive training for the new telephone system as part of the in-service.
I have purchased new school clothes, but I will save money by doing my own pedicure and manicure. I also make sure to have a fresh hairstyle and I am blessed to have a best friend who is a professional hairdresser. I have also taken care of doctors’ appointments so I won’t have to take time away from the classroom.
My husband, daughter and I rarely go on vacation over the Labor Day weekend. I feel I need this time to be home to relax and be with family. We all know that when school starts, I will spend anywhere from 55 to 70 hours a week with students, lesson planning and grading.
Each school year is a new beginning; it’s not like going back to a job after a vacation. There are new schedules, students, lessons, curricula, technologies, policies and employees.
I won’t be able to sleep much the week before school because there will be constant images of lessons in my head. I will also be thinking about my new set of students and what we will learn from each other.
But now the day is here, and this is no dream, school is back in session!