Sunday, September 09, 2007

First week thoughts

Week one of the year of many hats went quite well. I love teaching, and the first days back are always a real treat.

Returning students are refreshed and happy to be back, a few even told me they were ready for school to start. I work in an alternative school with students at risk of dropping out but here they are smiling and upbeat about another year at Willard.

The new students, who account for roughly half our population this fall, were understandably more cautious as they learn the routine and settle into how things are handled here. In a few more weeks they will be fine.

The hardest part of this week has been leaving school each day just as afternoon classes are beginning. As I walk out the door I have this nagging feeling that I'm not done yet, that I'm abandoning my students halfway through the day. During the five minute drive down to the administration building I am learning to let that feeling go and put on my ToSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) hat.

Of all the differences between being in a classroom and in an office, the nature of time has been the hardest to get used to. The classroom is ruled by the clock; there are only so many minutes in a period and, whether you have finished or not, when those minutes are used up the period is over. Current students file out, new ones file in, reset the clock and go.

Not so in administration.

The first meeting I attended was scheduled for an hour and a half, but when time was up we weren't done. We worked for another hour, completing our planning. Being able to do so was a completely foreign experience but also a real delight. No half finished discussions, no scribbled notes to pick up the thread the next day; instead, a task completed by giving it the necessary time. I can get used to this.

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