Monday, August 24, 2009

48th Summer, 23rd School year, 1st day.

Today's Best Practices: Timer. Use a Pampered Chef timer to keep your mini lessons or talks to the proper length. It's amazing how we can talk for what seems like 3 minutes but it is actually 20 or 30. Use a timer. I often set it for 5 minute intervals during my prep period so I don't get so focused on something that I blow my prep on it. I highly recommend this brand because it has a magnet and toothed clip for convenient placement on metallic surfaces and clothing as well as a long and loud beeper and it can be a clock, and stop watch or timer. I own 3 of them and give them as gifts to my student teachers and new colleagues.

Yes! It happened to me during school... in class...ALL DAY LONG.

The easiest and smoothest and least anxiety(as in none) start of the school year since
New Kids on the Block were on the top of their game.

I've done this 22 other times so I should be getting good at it. It helps to have a spouse that will come out and help you set up your room (thank you sweetie).
Room set is also easier if you
STOP being anal-retentive about getting every poster or border (whoops...I didn't use borders this year..woo-hoo) perfectly aligned. C'mon it's just a bunch of posters with funny and thoughtful and inspiring and creepy images and interesting factoids spread about in a way that says...THIS IS WHO I AM AND WHAT WE WILL DO AND WHAT I THINK ABOUT YOU AND HOW I APPROACH LIFE AND DO I LOVE MY JOB AND AM I PASSIONATE ABOUT IT!!! Also you should have a periodic table on at least 2 walls and a poster of Einstein on more than every wall (Albert because there are lots of pictures of him and he's kinda fun to look and wonder at). I don't care what you teach put some posters up. I can't find a decent Isacc Newton poster and...oops, I digress...Posters can be a different blog.

Back to setting up your clas
s. Try to take your class down (for those of us that have to every June) and store things by where they go. Then a few months later you take out a box for the back wall and set your son or spouse or eager students that are willing to come in and sweat away for a pizza or Taco Bell Burrito.

It helps if you come back a week or two before school and spend an hour here or there getting it up in little pieces. The grumpy NAY SAYERS in your area may say "NO, I'm only paid for 163.54321 days with maximum in class time of Blah flipping blah".

NOTE TO NAY SAYERS: Shut up, go away, retire or quit already, bother someone else across town, go become an accountant or lawyer or an sell insurance...just get the frack away from us. Don't drag us down, don't suck the enthusiasm out of us, don't shake your head at us as if we're stupid. Time spent preparing is adding ease and joy in front of kids and the time is added on to the end of our lives.

Look, I want to enjoy my job. I want to reduce stress and love teaching and enjoy my kids. A big part of that is BEING PREPARED. If you can do that is smaller increments of time then you have more time for family, friends, gaming, or hiking or HELPING A COLLEAGUE.

A colleague of mine lost their spouse to cancer recently. One day life was normal, the next day exploratory surgery found cancer and 2 weeks later we were slicing fruit in the cafeteria for the post funeral meal.

So my point is make sure you spend time GETTING A LIFE with your friends and family. Don't stress over your room set up. Don't stress for lack of pre-planning your lessons...pre-plan. Get efficient with your time...ah, use a timer help you pace yourself.

Time's about up, I hope you enjoy this, it's for you. As educators we tend to re-invent the wheel. That's good and bad. Good because if you make something you understand it. Bad because a colleague may have just what you need in folder or on a wall or in their hard-drive.

Share...that's what I do. My school website has all my materials on it. Share at a conference...yes you...just share.

Love to Teach and Teach with Passion!

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