Tuesday was my first day back to work with kids. I've been working on-and-off all summer, but Tuesday was my first official day. Before the school year started, I was told that I would have a 2nd/3rd grade combo. That's a tough one for a teacher because, even though we make "it" work all the time, I have not yet figured out how to be two teachers at the same time in order to teach two separate grade levels. I resigned myself to the fact that I would have it and tried to just shrug it off as one more thing. As the end of the school year approached, it seemed to me like the combo wouldn't happen because of the numbers, but I still remained a combo teacher.
Over the summer, I didn't do too much planning because I didn't want to waste the time on something that was bound to change. The first day of school got closer and closer without word one way or another. Then on Friday of last week, I got my class list and I had a combo. I spent the weekend doing some planning and started school on Tuesday, ready to go!!!
This entire week was spent on assessing and teaching classroom procedures. I had a nice little group, albeit two different grade levels, but it was ok. I still wasn't convinced that this combo should be happening. The numbers weren't right, but as the week went on, I started some curriculum and we were moving forward. Then Friday morning I was told that I wouldn't be having a combo anymore. My 3rd graders were to go to another 3rd grade room and I would get additional 2nd graders to fill my class. Ugh! Here we go again.
Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have a straight 2nd grade, but the first week of school is so, so very important and now it's come and gone, but I've got to do it all over again. I started school on Tuesday with 18 students and now I will start school on Monday with 17 students 8 of which are new to my classroom. Not to mention that among those new students are a borderline autistic child and two selective mutes. It's almost comical, and all I can do is laugh.
This is my ninth year of teaching and not one of those years has started off "normal". I work for a principal (yah, the one who grabs his neck) who likes to change things and move people around a lot. Here is a quick glance at my 9 school years...
Year 1 - Hired in October. Two second grade classrooms were too full so those teachers picked students to go into my classroom. I started that year with 18 boys, two girls, and 5 students who didn't speak any English, 2 of which had never ever been to school.
Year 2 - Given a 2/3 combo and moved out of Year 1's classroom into a classroom that was pretty much condemned a year later. My kids and I were sick all year, so sick that my principal wouldn't even come observe me because we were hacking, and coughing, and sneezing like a doctor's office.
Year 3 - Back to 2nd grade, but made into a roving teacher. I had to move, yet again, out of the sick classroom and into one rolling cabinet. That rolling cabinet made it "easier" to pick up and move from classroom to classroom each month...that's right, EACH MONTH!
Year 4 - Still in 2nd grade, but this time had to pack up that rolling cabinet and all my storage and move to a new school, literally a brand new school. We got to move in about 4 days before school started. That year I had the class from hell.
Year 5 - Still in 2nd grade and the same classroom, but I don't remember too much about it, so it must have been pretty normal.
Year 6 - Still in 2nd grade. The year started off pretty normal. Then a month into the school year another teacher was mad that she had lower kids and to appease her my principal moved 7 of my kids out to her room and 7 of her kids to my room. Did I mention how important that first week of school is? After a month had gone by it was very difficult to reteach all the classroom procedures AND keep up with curriculum. That was the worst year I have had.
Year 7 - Still in the same classroom, but back to a 2/3 combo. Plus I had back-to-back student teachers starting with day 1. They were WONDERFUL, but it's hard to get your classroom running smoothly when you have to hand it over to another person a week or two into the year.
Year 8 - Started off the year job-sharing with another teacher and doing additional tasks for my principal. Let's just say that last year is neck-in-neck with year 6 as the worst year ever.
Year 9 - See above
I know I'm just being a whiny baby, but it's my blog and I'm allowed too. I'd really like to have a normal beginning to the school year more than one out of nine times. I'm just saying.