Reflecting on the First Week

School and office accessories on wooden background

I just finished my first full school week--for  teachers, not students.  My students started on Wednesday.  Just between you, me, and the gatepost, this is how I’ve been feeling:

  • Exhausted–Every year I have to reset my sleep cycle.  You will probably feel the same need.  Cut yourself some slack.  You may need to nap after school.  You may need to go to bed an hour earlier.  Your body will adjust in 1-1 /2 weeks.
  • Excited–I love all the new faces and new relationships.
  • Overwhelmed–there are so many forms to fill out; IEP’s to read; names to learn; grade books to fill out, lesson plans to write, e-mails to respond to
  • Forgetful–did I turn that form in?; did I answer that parent request?
  • Disorganized–I started out with everything clipped together and labeled with a sticky note; somehow in the “throw everything in the book bag after school and get home”, I messed up my organizational system :)
  • Hungry–teaching makes me hungry, but my supper plans fell apart this week!
  • Achy–my feet are really hurting; I went to school this week with a piece of CARDBOARD in my shoe (they were new) and I told my student teacher, “These are the most UNCOMFORTABLE shoes I have ever worn!” :)  I found the cardboard when I slipped the shoes off for the evening.  I had a great laugh…and it makes a great story!

You are probably feeling these things and more!  If you’re already thinking, wow!–how can I keep up with this…take heart.  Many of these first week feelings are temporary.  You will adjust to a new sleep/wake cycle in the next week or two.  The first of the year “getting everything ready to go”work will run its course.  You will fall into a pattern.  You will establish routines for getting your work done.  Keep in mind that some of the tasks you must do at the beginning of the year are one time only:

  1. Setting up the classroom
  2. Putting student names in the grade book.
  3. Establishing classroom routines like lunch count, bath room break, traveling to and from music and P.E., etc.
  4. Reading all the IEP’s and 504’s for the first time.
  5. Learning all the new names
  6. Adjusting your seating chart so that all is well
  7. Filling out beginning of school year forms

After my first week of school in 1982, I felt tired, but really excited.  I think that is when I let down my guard.  Are you thinking that now is a good time to forget about school for a couple of days and hit the mall?  Think again.  You’ll need to read my next post, I SURVIVED MY FIRST WEEK.  CAN I TAKE THE WEEKEND OFF?

And as a side note…I was informed Friday afternoon that I’m getting a new student on Monday.  There aren’t enough desks in the classroom…sigh.

If you saw the picture of my classroom on August 10th–not ready to go–here’s a couple of photos of the end product.  Keep in mind that I’m not fancy, and I teach high school biology.  Also keep in mind that I don’t have to change decorations every six weeks…one of the perks of teaching high school.  But my room will look like this all year.  It will be neat and tidy EVERY DAY (at least at 3:30 p.m.).  It is clean and functional, pleasant, and colorful.  If you have already decided that yours isn’t as “cute” as the next teacher’s room…press on.  What happens IN the classroom is more important!