I finished my first week of school. Every year brings a number of new beginnings, but this one is coming with a lot of changes. And I’m excited about all of them.
It looks like the same door as last year (with an added name. We’ll get to my new teammates later), but when you open it up and look inside (I got a picture before the blinds and clock went up, but you get the idea):
Looks a little bit different than last year, right? The school knocked down a wall between my room and an office next door and we ordered all new furniture. We put a lot of thought into colors, the types of chairs (they’re really hard to tip back on, but when you lean back on the chair, the back leans a little bit and the seat slides forward), the table, our desks. It’s an amazing space. As one of my little M1s (5th graders) said: “Your room is so small, but it has everything!” What I’m most excited about though, is the Idea Paint. The tables and the wall that you can’t see in this picture are all painted with Idea Paint, so most of the surfaces in our room are whiteboards! Students can work out math problems on the table or jot down notes and ideas. It’s also a much brighter and friendlier space than last year.
I’ve mentioned my colleague Pooja Patel before. She and I have presented together before and teach sections of the same course at Teachers College and now we’re collaborating as Middle School Learning Specialists. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am. It’s really exhilarating to work with a colleague who both challenges me and helps to build my ideas. Collaborating with someone in a new way comes with challenges, but I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for us.
There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening this year in the evolution of my job. The two biggest are the expansion and formalization of instructional coaching as part of my job duties and the addition of a co-taught English class to my teaching duties. Last year, not much was done in the way of introducing the coaching role that the learning specialists were taking on. The rest of the faculty didn’t know what we were doing and didn’t really understand what coaching was. This year, our roles are being introduced right from the beginning. And we’ve already started working on building relationships with teachers and introducing our new roles (thanks to a brilliant suggestions from Pooja and some amazing baking by my friend Amy’s bakery).
The treats and the welcome notes that accompanied them seemed to be a big hit.
I’m also excited to be co-teaching an English class with my colleague Drew Murphy. It’s my first time co-teaching for an entire year. I’ve done units of study or helped introduce specific literacy skills, but I’ve never been a full-fledged co-teacher. I spent a lot of time this summer refreshing things that I had learned in my Special Ed coursework, reading books, and thinking about how things will work.
I’m also teaching a new teacher ed course this year. This time it’s a course about teaching reading to adolescents with LD. I’ve done two classes so far, and I’m enjoying it so far.
How was your first week back? What new beginnings are you excited about this year?