So, here I am sitting at my dining room table writing this blog. Tomorrow starts the second week (first full week) at my new school back in America. This past week was beyond exhausting for numerous reasons.
- No rest the weekend before as I and many other teachers came in on the weekend to decorate our classrooms as we had no other time to do so because of nonstop meetings and training for the previous two weeks.
- A trip to Orlando for a summit meeting on Monday which meant that we had to be at the school at 6 am which meant a very early waking time of 4:45 am for me.
- Open House the following day. Of course, the first grades scheduled to have parents were kindergarten and third grade. Since third grade is my grade, I again was there bright and early. After, I continued to decorate my classroom.
- The next day was the first day of school. I woke up again at the crack of down and was at school by 6:15-6:20 am to put the finishing touches in the classroom. The other 3rd grade teachers and I waited until about 830 to close our doors as the students slowly kept trickling in (normally everyone should be accounted for by 8 and attendance should be in by 8:30. Being that it was the first day of school, this is not how it happened. There were about twenty-seven students on my roster, and about twenty-one of them showed up. This week more may show or some may go. They never know – this is mostly because the school that I am teaching at has a very high population of children coming from families falling below the poverty line.
- That day in itself was very tiring. Getting to know the children and also getting them to behave in a somewhat appropriate manner took a lot of my energy. To be fair, most of them were fairly decent.
- Easily the most tiring part of the day was dismissal. Getting the children home or simply out of the building started at 3. It didn’t end until nearly 5:30. Then we had a meeting and then some extra talking amongst one another. I didn’t get home til around 7:30 that night and I am supposed to be home around 4 on a normal night.
- The following day was pretty much the same. I was (and am) still getting to know the children. I’m still trying to teach them expectations in the classroom and assess where they are academically (many are far below where they should be).
- Dismissal this day also was pretty much the same. Disorganized and it took forever.
- Friday (TGIF) came and the kids felt it. They’re getting to the point where they already don’T want to be in school (still in summer mode) and some feel comfortable enough to challenge my authority indirectly. So, I put my foot down, because these kids will eat you alive if they sense any hesitation.
- This day also came with me learning about some of the children’s back stories. My god just stick a knife through my heart. The tragedies and lives that these children have witnessed or experienced is enough to make anyone want to curl themselves up in a ball and cry endlessly. How do I look at these babies knowing what they have been through? My heart breaks every day for them.
- Friday’s dismissal was interesting. We started at 2 with a “mock dismissal” and the children all got into place by 2:15. We thought we would head back to our classrooms then, but nope. The poor kids (and teachers) had to wait in the cafeteria (or wherever they were supposed to be) until the actual dismissal at 3:15. What is more is that they had to wait silently and could not do anything. Now can you imagine 100s of students from K-4 (higher grades in different areas) waiting silently for that long? Neither can I. Poor babies. They were so antsy. Some kids, especially the kindergarteners, fell asleep, others continuously asked to go to the bathroom, all of them fidgeted impatiently in their seats, and many kept trying to speak to those near them. Many of the teachers were just as fed up as the children, but could only do their best to bite their tongues and grumble under their breath.
- The problems with dismissal seem to be because of a new system that is in place, lack of understanding between the parents and the school, impatience from the parents, over-enrollment (more kids = more time that is needed to get them out of the school safely). Hopefully thing run a bit more smoothly this upcoming week.
- I will be doing my best this week to continue teaching expectations this week as well as to learn more about each individual child – their needs, where they fall academically, etc.
Wish me luck! Coffee is my blood at this point. Sleep does not exist. Only preparations for the classroom and lesson planning exist. Preparing children for impossible assessments as well. Ahhhh!