Now we have internet in the lakehouse. Huzzah!!
Things have been moving along here in the Valley. I’ve started at my new school, where I’ll be teaching English II (tenth grade). I must admit, I was so nervous for my first day there. Like every profession has it’s evil boss stories, I had heard so many horror stories about principles and other teachers from TFA members. I wondered how I would get along with my colleagues, and whether or not they would actually take me seriously given my age. Would they be nice? would they like me? Would I fit in? Suddenly I remembered all of the worries my students will be facing in high school. I guess that fear never really leaves us.
Of course, I needn’t have worried. The rest of my department, and really, everyone I’ve met at my school are so wonderful. The administration is caring and open. My mentor and my next door neighbor (class-room neighbor) are the kindest people ever, and have offered me so much help already! I feel so at home there. More importantly, I feel as if my colleagues and I see eye to eye on expectations of our students. I got warm fuzzies all around my heart when our curriculum specialist for English said exactly what I’ve been thinking– it’s not about teaching to the TAKS test, it’s about taking the students to a higher level of learning. If we can get them there, the test won’t be an issue, merely a change to prove what they know.
I’m also very comforted by knowing more of the logistics of my class. I’ll be hanging out in room 186 all year, in the beautiful new wing of our school. I have first and second bell conference– so I don’t teach until 10am. It’s amazing– I get to settle in, get problems solved, and mentally prepare before I begin teaching. Another piece of good news was my bell schedule. At my school, tenth grade English students have a block English schedule– which means that I get my students for an entire hour and a half instead of 45 minutes!! I’m so thankful for my schedule. I was a bit panicked about making any learning happen in 45 minutes (although, to be fair, in high school I would have found 1.5 hour classes insane). It also means I only have 3 classes, which means less students, less grading, and more personal attention for each of them. Although on hard days I’m sure I won’t be singing this same tune, I couldn’t be happier right now about my block scheduling. Or really, about my school in general. I don’t think there’s a better thing in this world for a new teacher than starting out in a school where you feel supported and cared for, and where your colleagues are all committed to leading our students to success, no matter how hard the path.