Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 7, 2016 #DITL

The following post is my first contribution to the Day in the Life Book Project initiated by Tina Cardone.  It's a little bit of what happened today, and a bunch of what's on my mind today.

Today marks one full month until my first day of school for the 2016-2017 school year.  I am now starting to feel stressed out.  I have been working steadily all summer to prepare for the next school year.  Wednesday, August 10th was supposed to be my closing date for the house my husband and I are buying.  However, some issues have come up with the sellers, so we're waiting for everything to clear up.  In the meantime, we are trying to purchase all of the items that we will need right away (curtains and curtain rods, a new vacuum cleaner, furniture, etc.).  These things are starting to accumulate in our small apartment, so I feel as though my stress is external, as well as internal.

Today I realized that I am not much closer to having a new course planned out.  This year, for the first time, I will be teaching Math SAT Prep.  This course is a half-year class that meets every other day.  The set up will be very new to me, and I am trying to get an idea of when I will assess and where I can find materials to create assessments.  So far, I created a scope and sequence, but I am having a hard time committing to it.  I keep looking for other resources, and trying to find another arrangement that I can feel confident with.  I am so uncertain about everything in this course.

I am still reading "Mathematical Mindsets" by Jo Boaler.  I am enjoying the book, and once I finish reading, I plan to go back through my notes and formulate a plan for applying what I've learned from the book to my teaching.  I am very excited.  I feel like maybe this will be the year that I finally meet some of my instructional goals.  These goals that I set annually with good intention, but never adequately meet, include questioning my students effectively, providing opportunities for my students to work collaboratively, and find or design learning tasks that are engaging.  I am hoping this book is the key to success in these areas, but I am frustrated that I am still not finished reading it.

This year I am the senior class adviser.  Our school has class advisers move up with their classes.  The teacher that was the class of 2017 adviser was offered a job in another district that better suited her family needs.  On the one hand, I advised the senior class two years ago, so I have great experience.  However, I was a co-adviser then, and had someone else to work with.  It lightened the load, and I had all the guidance I needed.  This time I am on my own, and picking up where someone else left off can be difficult.  Luckily, this is a teacher that I have a good relationship with, and she is planning to meet up with me sometime soon to brief me on everything I need to know.  The big things that I am preparing for are spirit week and battle of the classes, fundraising, senior brunch, senior trip, and, obviously, graduation.

My husband and I decided not to go away on any sort of vacation this summer since we are buying the house.  The big highlight of our summer has been having my step-daughter stay with us.  Most of my day revolved around spending time with her and preparing meals.  Our busy day included watching cartoons and movies, coloring, playing pretend, going to the park, and having frozen yogurt at Hoopla, her favorite spot.  However, I tried to balance my day with a little bit of work since all of this stress started creeping in.  I printed out some of the new posters and signs I created for the year until I ran out of cardstock.  I still have to laminate them, but that will wait until tomorrow.  Also, I prepared my new  teacher planner.  I love putting together new organizational strategies. 

Overall, I am looking forward to the new year.  Last year was rough to say the least, and I am very eager for a fresh start.  I am very excited to advise this year's senior class.  The students in the class are absolutely fantastic and an all-around great group.  I just wish my house was in order so I could start to focus on school 100%.  Before school begins, I would like to have my first units completed for my three courses.  I need to revise my scope and sequence for my new course, and I am still determining how to structure the course.  Although I am beginning to stress out about the impending school year, I keep reminding myself that I have a full month to prepare, and that I have already accomplished so much.

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