Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meet and Greet coming up!

Over the years I have always had my own personal “museum” but this year I will just have to do without. I am sharing a room and doing it for 60% of 80% of 100% if that makes sense. Last year I made 100% salary but chose to resign just to be able to get out of the ‘you know what’ that I was in. I found a job at a local Episcopal school in town that pays 80% of what I used to make. The job turned out to be part time so I am only making 60% of that 80%.

That’s how bad I wanted to teach and how bad I wanted out of my last job. I am not sure I will be able to make it this year with all this and my wife retiring from the same system we were in last year. Her retirement will be 75% of that original 100%. It’s going to be a strain but I want to teach so bad that we are willing to make the sacrifice. I may be the “old guy” but I love what I am doing and what I want to do. The students always come first in what I have planned.

I will do my beloved history club with 7 weekend trips this year. I had to go get the bus forms for the districts bus, contact my favorite driver, and make all the arrangements but it is worth it. I have done these trips over a dozen time now but it is so much fun to watch the students faces and hear their comments about the places we are going, the foods they will eat, the art they will do, the photos, they will shoot.

All this BEFORE I even start at the new school. The principal keeps telling me that she wants to get me up to full-time ASAP. She says I can step into classes and help teachers in any way I can. There are not many of us who have taught in the district so most have never been exposed to the things I have. She is hoping that they can leave from my experiences.

My goal is to hit the ground running on day one. I may only be 60% of 80% of 100% but I will be there at 7:15 waiting on the first student even though my first class is not until much later in the day. I want to meet and greet the students as they come in. I NEED to be there.

I always have some of my favorite items on TPT. Even though they are geared towards history and in general, Louisiana history, they can always be modified to what you need. My students always love having things they can cut out and "make". Tryone of my FREEBIEs about Slave Cabins in the south pre Civil War.

Friday, July 29, 2011

From one to the other

Closed the chapter on one school and opened the next chapter. It happened so quickly. Yesterday I turned in my key from OPMS and headed to my new school only to find my name already on the door and my name on the school’s webpage.

I didn’t shed a tear as I was leaving the old employer. I had been thinking about it for so long. As I drove off I barely even turned to look at the school one last time. I will miss a few of my coworkers because I really got close to them over the last 15 years. I can stay in touch through Facebook and emails. I know things will it me on August 15th when school starts and I’m not there but I’ll be busy with my new school.

It’s nice knowing that I don’t have to do the webpage, yearbook, totally decorate my classroom, or any of that other new teacher stuff. I am sharing a classroom with a friend which isn’t as bad as it sounds. I never really used a desk other than to store junk anyway. I can sit in classroom and watch others do their thing and not have to write lessons. I am being used for the knowledge I have gained over the last 20+ years.

For my Art-in-Lit class I don't even have to grade it because that is the job of the Lit teacher. I just to supervise and head them in the right direction. I can live with that!

Everyone at the new school is so excited to see me and talk to me. I guess they are comfortable because I am not pushy and not overbearing. I just love my job and want to TEACH. What more could I ask. The biggest downfall is the pay cut. I have been talking to most of my creditors and have told them that I lost my job and I am starting a new job in the fall. They seem to understand, I have never walked away from a debt in my life and I won’t start now. It just may take a little longer to pay them off.

Next week I have to do something that I have not done since I began teaching – attend a “New Teacher Orientation”. How strange is that? It’s not because I’m new; I’m just new to this school and this system. I’ll be sitting in there with several first year teachers so that will be strange. I also found out that there are only three men here at my new school – the guy I teach with, and the tech support guy. It’s a female dominated staff of teachers from P-K to 8th grade. But it has ALWAYS been that way.
I love life in middle school.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What? You LOVE middle school?

I hear this almost every day. From student teachers to other teachers. No one seems to understand that there are those of us to really do love the middle school child. We know that it is strange. The 6th grades come in wired with no idea of what is about to happen to them. Seventh graders are the middle of the middle. When the year starts they are still sixth graders but when the year is over you can see they have matured. Eighth graders start the year as the “Kings” of middle school but end with that freshman mentality”.

I have taught eighth graders for 21 years now but have been pulled to teach a class here and there of 6th or 7th history. I love 8th graders but can handle each of the others. I love the subject that as Rodney Dangerfield said “Gets no respect!” In middle school it is all about ELA and Math. Whoa is the Social Studies teacher. I may do all the things the school needs but I really “don’t get any respect”. That’s fine by me.

I like being the “other teacher”, the office tends to leave me alone allowing me to do other things needed such as yearbook, the school’s webpage, my history club, Junior Beta, and so forth. There are lots of needs at a school that ELA and Math can’t seem to ever get to. They are so covered with in-services, this form and that test. It tends to be all about how they score on the state mandated tests at the end of the year.

This new-year is getting my brain to really work as I am starting a new school – a private school. I will be teaching in another teacher’s classroom while he is teaching PE. I will be moved around all week and not really having a place to put all my treasures but I can handle it. They don’t realize that I am a very flexible teacher who can do just about everything anywhere with almost nothing.

The only real downside of this move is that I will be taking a pay cut and not having a room that I can call my own. Sure I will enjoy my teacher partner. We have been friends for a good while and I can tag teach in some of hs classes while there.