Monday, July 29, 2013

A Blank Slate

“What I'm mostly good at is sleeping, he once told me in confidence, but he added, I don't see much future in it.” -Brian Andreas

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Lao-Tzu

Now that I've signed my paperwork, I shall, amidst preparing lessons, working on my masters, and attempting to maintain a work out/running routine as well as a social life, try to chronicle my first year of teaching via this blog. What better place to start than with the before pictures of my classroom? 

The day I got my key, I had rows of desks that were too big for kindergartners:

I came in the following week to drop off some supplies, and played around with my new, k-sized desks. In an ideal world, for kindergarten, I think I'd prefer tables. Simply arranging desks can be quite the undertaking--mine are the kind with storage in a side-cubby, making the desks long rectangles, which was causing me issues with my long-rectangle shaped room. Trying to find a way where no students back would be towards me at the white board, with enough meandering space was difficult--especially once I decided that I didn't want the desks to be the central focus of the room, as they are for older grades. So I ended up fanning the desks out in a half circle around where my rug (which I don't have yet) will go--and this gathering space can be the center of my classroom:

(I also learned that it's really hard to take a good picture of a classroom with a cellphone, that captures the whole scene. Not pictured is my reading corner and the door.)

My next focus will be what to do with my blank walls--but I'm holding out until I know more about the curriculum I'm using and what my daily schedule will be--I know I'll need a calendar area, and I'll get an alphabet to put up above the white board. It's all got to come together in the next couple of weeks--I'm in the terrified/nervous/excited mode right now. Stay tuned, and when my classroom is all put together for the first day of school (August 14th), I'll share more pictures!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Is This The Real Life?

"You are what you're going to be when you grow up!" -Jean Porter

"The beginning is always today." -Mary Shelley

This post is to inform you of yet another change in my life-I got a "real" job!...yet never fear dear reader, Miss Amy shall continue to think about education, and let you know exactly what she thinks about it. 

The day has come, on this journey through AmeriCorps, Reading Corps, and student teaching, where I will have my own classroom, full of its own challenges and joys. Today I accepted a job teaching kindergarten in Napa, California, signing up for an hour commute and a LOT of work that will be worth it. 

I have never been one to choose the easy way. When I ran track, instead of sticking with what I knew, I said, sure, I'll try heptathlon. And I learned several new events--hurdles, shot put, javelin, high jump--and in many meets I did terribly. I was the worst shot putter! But I never gave up. When I did AmeriCorps, I had an hour long bus commute--with two transfers that were zero fun in the winter; I didn't make much money, but I loved what I did. So when I went into this interview, with no intention of getting offered, much less accepting, the position, I was shocked when I left and thought, I WANT this job. So here I am, ready for my year of driving, long days, five-year olds, and caffeine.

Though excited, I am also a little terrified. I have been preparing for this moment for three all too short, yet still long, years, and I know I am well prepared with experience, perseverance, and education. However, there is that part of me thinking, who on earth decided to let me have my own classroom? I am being entrusted with precious kindergarteners, some of whom have never been in a school setting before, and some of whom know not a word of English--who in their right mind thinks this is a good idea? A lot of people do I guess--my references did a wonderful job (over)selling me, and maybe I'm too modest. But more than anything, it feels so good to know where I'm going to be and what I'm going to do, and that I am going to continue to do meaningful work, and have a job I am passionate about.

Side note: I guess it's time to finally remember that kindergarten has a "t" and not a "d" in the last syllable.