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Flying or crashing? Well, I don't know...

Posted 09-13-2010 at 04:05 PM by nzkiwi

So have I flown or crashed?? Well honestly, I think the verdict is still out. Almost 3 weeks into the school year, I still don't feel like my feet are underneath me at all. Every day I deal with the feeling that everything is going to come crashing down, but somehow the day ends and I'm still aloft (if just barely).

Overall, I like my new school so far. It's much bigger and there's still days when the number of kids in the hallways just overwhelms me, but overall it's not that much different than the school I left. So far, probably the biggest two changes/challenges I'm trying to get used to are the class sizes & class lengths. My smallest group is 27, and the other three classes are 28 respectively. I'm teaching 3 science classes and 1 language arts each day and each period is an hour long. For science that seems to work well, but for language arts I'm struggling. I dream of having my 90 minute block back (which I've been used to for the past 4 years)!

I haven't quite been able to diagnose the exact problem, but getting readers & writers workshop going this year has been tough. In fact, I have to admit we haven't gotten a full official workshop in yet. My first week, I didn't even really try, but since then I have been trying, but it's not been going well. We keep running out of class time before anything in the independent part really gets started, and I'm beginning to feel frustrated.

I worry that we're this far into September, and so little progress has been made. I mean, my classroom is still only partly put together (half of my library & many of the writing resources are still in storage boxes). I'm still struggling with the schedule (in how to have workshops not only in less than 60 minute periods but also when some other things (ex. a specific vocab program) have to be fit into class to keep us semi with the rest of the language arts team). And to make matters worse, I still feel like I'm only working day-to-day. I haven't really had the time to sit down and think big picture yet, so I don't have a good sense of where I want to ultimately go. In the past, it's been something I've always planned out before school started, but of course, this year I didn't have that privilege...

So, again I don't know: I guess barely staying afloat is better than nothing, but I still worry about how language arts is ultimately going to go. In only a couple weeks, I get observed and I desperately want to have both WW & RW at least roughly going, but I'm starting to wonder when we're going to get there. The shorter time and also student numbers (28 readers & writers!) are certainly going to make this year tricky!

But oh well, right now much planning & paper grading still await, so this blog entry must end for tonight. Who knows when I'll have time to blog again (free time is still *extremely* limited), but hopefully it will be soon.
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