Last post, I said I wanted to belong. Guess what happened?
I was recently offered and (duh) accepted a longish-term sub job at a school where I have previously taught. While the search for a permanent teacher continues, I will be teaching four different ‘levels’ of middle school math for six to nine weeks. I am SO EXCITED for this opportunity to put into action many of the ideas, values, and beliefs I have reading about and reflecting on over the last three years! I really do feel wiser, and that feels good.
This past week, I’ve been cramming. Carefully read three more chapters of Creating Cultures of Thinking. Finally perused Geoff Krall’s thoughtful blog series from the summer, which I kept meaning to get to but never did. Have finally had a couple brief yet valuable twitter experiences. 😆 Revisited several pertinent and inspirational blog posts: Mark Chubb’s “Never Skip the Close”, Sara van der Werf’s “Name Tents with Feedback” and Fawn Nguyen’s “First two days of school” . I’ve reviewed the routines in Illustrative Math , a stellar curriculum I upon which I am planning to lean heavily. (Need something similar for Algebra, hint hint!) Somehow I hope to get in some training in Notability and Google classrooms as well. I don’t start until the 18th, but much of my time before then will be given to prior commitments. Most of my anxiety circles around wanting to be fully prepared hahaha, wondering how to deal with the early and long hours and exhaustion, and related to that, what I need to do to keep family time sacred and create/sustain a reasonable sense of balance.
I have a tendency to overthink (which may look at times like procrastination). There are so many options and many decisions to make, and am working to gain focus and determine what my educational “big rock” priorities are (student relationships and student learning!), what would be nice, and what to let go, and what battles I can’t fight right now. Decisions need to be made so I can move forward. So far, this is where I’m at:
Although students at this school know each other well— its a small-town K-8 AND its six weeks into the year— I don’t know them at all as people or as learners. Nor do I know what sort of classroom culture I will be inheriting (although I have some sneaky suspicions). I’m trying to figure out the right the balance between developing a thinking and learning culture and moving forward, deeply, with content. Usually when you’re a sub, you have to work with the established culture. However, since I am going to be there awhile, I definitely want to invest time in developing culture, even for this relatively short period, even though it may be dismantled when I leave.
How could I not?