Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1 day to go!

 Well here we are, the last day of summer before students come tomorrow.  I have some mixed emotions about tomorrow's first day of school.  Any other teacher out there will agree with me that not many days of the year compare with the first day of school and the roller coaster of emotions that lead up to and accompany that first 8 hours.

Excitement,...dread,... and everything in between.  The emotions with 1 day to go, typically have a wide range and occasionally come in mixed bunches that don't often pair up.  Emotions such as excitement followed immediately by dread, with some panic at, "What am I forgetting?!"  Sometimes feelings of disappointment that the summer 'To-do list' didn't get done, coupled with excitement of seeing former students and meeting new ones with a little of Cannon's 'flight response' to try and capture the most of the last fleeting moments of summer.  On the whole many emotions seem to come together more naturally; fear and anxiety are often found together.  Sometimes panic and nausea are thrown in on the side, depending upon the individual and his inherent and learned behavior to the stimulus.  Some emotions such as exuberance and jubilation match up with a little euphoria and giddiness thrown in.
If you step back and think about it for a moment, emotions are awesome when you consider their power in our lives.  Consider how many decisions you make each day based upon how you're feeling, or how that particular decision will make you feel?

Today though, with 1 day to go until school starts, I am feeling more on the excited-thankful-calm and slightly nervous side.  We had open house last night in the high school, which is typically geared toward freshmen and new students.  Upperclassmen are welcome to attend as well, but not many do, (their last free non-school week night probably shouldn't be wasted by going to school!)   So as a renewed freshman teacher (I taught English 9 four years ago) I met some of the incoming freshmen last night at open house.  It is always interesting to meet these youngsters and see their energy and social skills in action for the first time as a high schooler.  It is a night of anticipation and excitement as everyone makes their way back to school for another year.  The potential is there and everyone can feel it.  And, I am happy to say, the students I met last night all had similar emotions when I met them and they noticed the exercise balls in the room.  A common response I heard was, "We get to sit on balls?! Cool!"  "YES!!"  I thought to myself.  They can definitely feel the potential, and so can I.  After seeing their initial response and riding that brief wave of affirmation, it was interesting to watch them as they contemplated the idea of sitting on balls all year.  A few students, I'll admit didn't seem to waiver from the enthusiasm, which I found encouraging, since we are in here for the next 9 months.  I may need to call on those enthusiastic individuals if the tide becomes rough at some point in the year.  A few students though, you could see were considering what a year on balls for chairs would REALLY look like.  Not that I saw dread or fear, although one student mentioned she would probably fall off on the first day, but perhaps a little quizzical, as if they aren't sure how the balls will impact the class as a whole.  Will the students who seem to have behavior issues take the balls and run with them, causing chaos and uproar, so the class resembles the ball pit at McDonald's?  Or, will the theory hold true that the balls require more energy to sit upon, thereby increasing students' focus, creating the ideal classroom setting that all teachers with 1 day to go pray for:  a productive class where everyone is working quietly with sunshine streaming in and birds singing outside the window.  Hmmm, I have a feeling that the days to come in the 2011-2012 school year could see a little bit of both...but for right now, I am enjoying the preparation of this day and the potential of what tomorrow will bring.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

11 days and counting...

 As we head toward the start of school thoughts, dreams, and prayers become focused once again toward school.   School starts in 11 days, the balls are all blown up and ready and waiting for students to come.  I am currently planning out my bulletin board, and I have my first semester curriculum pretty well planned out,..but I do have some trepidations as we draw closer to Day 1.  I know the schedules are not quite finalized, they probably won't be done for another week.   But when I check my class numbers I currently have one section with 35 students in it. Hmmm... Interestingly, my first concern isn't necessarily teaching that many students at one time, although it does concern me a little.  My first thought is I do not have 35 balls or room for 35 balls at the tables in my room.  Visions of ball, chair, ball at each table are coming to mind as I picture housing that many students in one room as well as four bodies to a table that is best suited for two to a table.  35 really isn't feasible with the size of my room and the tables I have.  However, my faith in the scheduling powers that be (Shirley) is fairly strong.  I know I won't have 35 students in one class, but I do not know just how many less than 35 I will have.  So the thoughts, dreams and, definitely the prayers, will continue.