Saturday, August 27, 2011

A New Beginning

It was a long week of hard labor . . . not always mine, but hard enough.  Thankfully I had my daughter with me the first three days of setting up my classroom and my sister spent last Monday with us.  This is what my classroom looked liked when we walked in on Monday. You can't tell here, but Kailyn and I had emptied most of my book shelves (I have six!) and the books were stored in cupboards.

Here are my Monday Movers and some of the results 
of their efforts!
 This map is in three pieces, and challenging (for me!) to get straight.  Before I caught her, Pam had put staples every few inches!  It's not going to fall down!
 I'm not sure why Kailyn is smiling . . . she should know by now that she'll probably be moving the desks into a different arrangement before the day is out!
I gave away so many books last year that one of my shelves is mostly empty.  I'm downsizing each year; gave away several books each to last year students, and put a couple hundred out for other staff. 

In a few short hours on Monday, Pam and Kailyn accomplished more than I could have managed in several days, in my limited capacity.  I was hugely grateful and treated them both to lunch at Applebees, not near enough payment, but they were happy! Despite my job of mostly just directing, I was exhausted by 2:30 that afternoon.

The next couple of days, Kailyn organized files, readied group supplies, rearranged and added desks (I had four new students enroll) and created a fabulous Welcome Back bulletin board! It's a little hard to read here, but the words are: "Sailing Into a New World of Learning" and many of the "waves" have words relating to upcoming curriculum.  The student's names are on the sailboats. This was all her own idea. I have been so blessed to have either Kailyn or Jessica create my bulletin boards for the past ten years! It took her hours to draw the coastlines of Europe, England and eastern US, then she carefully cut it out!  These outlines will move into the classroom on my back wall when we begin our storyline, "Coming to America".  

We were ready for Open House on Thursday evening!  I had a great turn out.  Twenty-two of my twenty-six families came to visit the classroom. I was on my feet the entire hour, often leaning on my cane, chatting and enjoying this annual opportunity to meet the families of the students I would be spending most of my waking hours with for the next several months.

By the time our principal’s voice came over the intercom, announcing that it was 7:00 and time to let the teachers go home, though, I was close to tears.  I sat at my desk for a few minutes, waiting for the parking lot to clear so I could leave.  The long walk down the hall was excruciating.  It was only through sheer willpower, and the desire to get home and lay down with my knee propped up and ice that got me down the hall and to my car.

As soon as I walked through our front door, I headed for the couch and Kailyn immediately went to get my ice packs and I finally couldn’t stop the tears.  Never had it felt so good to be laying down, knee propped up and ice surrounding my swollen joint!

After a mostly restful sleep, I felt a lot better on Friday.  It was an easy day, strength wise, as I was able to sit at my desk with my leg propped, and use ice as I desired, while I typed and my teammates and I created a curriculum map for reading.  We got a lot accomplished, working at our own pace and felt good about our results.  Regrouping again with all the staff, each team shared their progress and our new principal was pleased with the efforts of all.  

The week ended with a staff party at one of the teacher's homes and it was relaxing and fun to spend down time with friends and their spouses. David joined me and he had a good time as well!

By the end of last year, I had 18 students, the smallest class I'd had ever, and one of the most challenging ones.  It was rewarding to receive the news that only one student didn't pass the state test for reading, and all but two passed math and science.  Our hard work as a class really paid off.

This year, I have 26 students, and as always, there are upcoming challenges, academically and behaviorally.  I'm still a little nervous, due to the fatigue I have experienced just getting ready for the school year, yet I'm excited (as always) for the new beginning.  I think that's what I love the most about teaching, every year you get another opportunity to meet the challenges and make an impact on a completely new group of young people.  I've never experienced a boring day as a teacher.  I love the possibilities of a new year beginning.


  1. Happy new school year, may it be filled with love of learning!

    Thanks for all your kind comments on my blog.

  2. You and your trusty and able-bodied team-mates certainly put in a sterling effort. Things were looking very good and I'm sure it made a favourable impression on Open Night. Sorry to hear you took a bit of a knock both phyically and emotionally, but it's quite understandable after all you've been through. Complete recovery takes time and you need to gradually build up your strength and stamina. I hope you are resting up this weekend.

  3. Sandi, Are you the kind of teacher who is always on her feet, writing on the chalkboard, looking out the window, simply moving among the children to show that you are connected to them? I bet you are!

    For the first days and maybe several weeks, you're going to need to shepherd your strength. The past few days have made you aware of that.

    So please be gracious to yourself. Sit down sometimes and call the children to your desk. Ask them, individually, to go to various places in the classroom to point things out.

    Just conserve your energy because, being the teacher you are, you use so much psychic energy walking in the children's shoes and listening for what is behind the words they use in a question or a response.

    You know all this. Please remember to take care of yourself so that you can give them the best in yourself this year and thus bring out the best in them. Peace.

  4. I feel like I'm right there with you. I understand almost everything (not the knee) that you are experiencing. I have just about the same state test results. This year is going to be my most difficult so far, but I'm ready for the challenge.

    Good luck as you are in your room for the whole day soon. I'm sure the students won't mind if you sit with a bag of ice now and then. I bet the young mothers in your group would love to serve you! Let them, it does their souls good.

    Here's to another great school year!

  5. You definitely have the challenges this year: so many more students and a knee to take care of! What a great time you have ahead, and I'm glad I get to go along with you as a virtual cheerleader! Hugs to you...

  6. Good luck this year with your students. I hope your knee will feel better each day and keeping ice on it when you can will probably help. I love the bulletin board! Looks great!

  7. Your room looks awesome, my friend! Kailyn's board is stunning. Can't tell you how envious I am that you have such a wonderful resource there. :-)

    I'm glad to hear, too, that your knee is recovering quickly. It sounds like you're off to a great start. I'll be thinking of you Wednesday as my 26 come in to start a grand new adventure with me.

    We're going to have the best year ever. I love that we're back in the same saddle.

  8. You are doing fine.
    With a little bit of help from your friends it'll all go swimmingly, you wait.

    Your classroom looks good and the students will appreciate your efforts.

    Good luck and best wishes for a successful new year!

  9. Dear Sandi,
    I've awarded Flying into the Light the Versatile Blogger Award today-I enjoy reading your posts, and thank you for your support of my blog! Please read my post to see your award! And enjoy the exercise--if you have time in your busy teaching schedule! Peace.

  10. Stopping by to see who my friend Dee awarded the Versatile blogger...nice to see it's going to another fellow teacher! Isn't the beginning of the year exhausting? I teach middle school!

  11. Hi Sandi! I'd forgotten your blog is Flying into the Light, so when Dee made mention of it and urged us to pop over, I had no idea it would be you I'd be linking up with! Of course I know you AND follow you! I won't make the mistake of not recognising your blog name again :)

    I trust you are well?


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