I said in my introductory video for my kids yesterday that I was expecting this to be my second weirdest first day of school ever, only getting beaten out by the first day of school that I missed because my son had just been born the day before.

This may have been weirder. I’m trying to put a heavy emphasis right now on being accessible to my kids, right? I don’t want anyone anywhere to be able to use “I couldn’t reach my teacher” as an excuse to not do what they’re supposed to be doing. And I know that this is the first day of school and that things are going to calm down, and frankly that’s unfortunate. I was expecting to have maybe two or three kids at a time in my little Google Meet room for most of the day, with occasional periods of time where there was no one in there. What I was not expecting was that kids were going to log in and that they were just going to stay there. I had sixteen to twenty eighth graders in my virtual “classroom” for three straight hours this morning, some of whom came in at 9 and just stuck around for the whole time. Probably a dozen, at least, were in there for more than an hour, and literally all I was asking them to do was pop in and say hello, since we’re not doing any real instruction just yet.

I have also learned that Google Meet is going to be entirely unacceptable for trying to actually do synchronous teaching, because I don’t have remotely the level of control over the meeting that I need to have. I can’t boot kids or mute them because they can literally unmute themselves or come back in immediately. I don’t really want to have to boot kids, and I don’t know to what extent disruptiveness is even going to be a thing in this, but I need the ability. So we’re trying Zoom tomorrow, which I think they have installed on their Chromebooks but I’m not 100% sure. We’ll see what the numbers look like compared to today.

And then, after three solid hours of listening to 8th graders try to yell over each other, which doesn’t sound tiring even as I’m sitting here typing it but trust me, I had to do three hours of professional development this afternoon, and … Christ. It’s 6:30 as I’m writing this, I’ve basically been working since 9:00 this morning, and I still need to record tomorrow’s lesson in its entirety, so I’m not done yet.

This will get easier, it always does, but man, am I tired.

Proof of life post

In all honesty, the last two days have gone as well as I could possibly have hoped. Better, even, since I never imagined “as well as I’d hoped” to actually be a possibility and therefore they exceeded that impossible barrier.

But I’ve been home for about four and a half hours and I’ve been staring mindlessly at my phone for about 90% of that time, so I may be too tired to string thoughts together coherently at the moment. I’ll try harder tomorrow, I promise.

See you on the other side

I am as prepared for tomorrow as I’m going to get.

I will post a real post tomorrow night provided that I remain alive.

For now, I’m going to take a shower and go to bed early and hope I can sleep.

A brief first day report

Odd fact: when going through previous posts for posts about teaching to possibly include in Searching for Malumba, I discovered something interesting:  I have not talked about the first day of school on most of the first days of school since I’ve been blogging.

Possibly because I get home and I am too tired to qualify as a living thing.  So, the short version: my homeroom girls are nice.  Scary nice.  Like, “I don’t believe you, and we’ll see what I think of you in a week” nice.  My afternoon kids… well, let’s just say that class is still in flux, because that’s where my special education kids are going to end up and we’ve not finalized class lists yet.  “In flux” sounds like a fair way to put it.

So… what is that?  Cautiously optimistic?  I’ll go with cautiously optimistic.

In which I work miracles

headdeskOkay, y’all.  Remember that to-do list I mentioned on Friday?  No?  Too bad, because this is it.  Some names changed to protect the innocent.

❏ Check (other teacher’s) data files
❏ Check pencil sharpeners
❏ Clean classroom
❏ Complete new Dropbox folders
❏ Create email roster for Parent Night
❏ Create/print textbook number rosters for each class
❏ Decouple 6th grade folder from dropbox
❏ Determine how math grades work– two classes, one grade?
❏ Determine which curriculum maps belong to Algebra class
❏ Email (yearbook lady) WRT yearbook
❏ Email staff about new Dropbox stuff
❏ Extra set of clothes for parent night
❏ Figure out DC fundraiser
❏ Figure out DC meeting
❏ Figure out the rest of the letters
❏ Figure out/arrange desks
❏ Find 7th grade workbooks
❏ Find some sort of bell-ringer book
❏ Find/count textbooks
❏ Finish student folders
❏ Get dates/schedule into lesson plan book
❏ Make sure we have a new yearbook advisor
❏ Mount whiteboard
❏ Move computer files over to my new account
❏ Nail bookshelf back together
❏ Organize file folders
❏ Print and bind algebra curriculum map
❏ Print out rosters– demerits, tardies, homeroom collectibles
❏ Print packets for Parent Night
❏ Pull one computer out from under table
❏ Put student birthdays on calendars
❏ Read through and mark up discipline plan
❏ Schedule union meeting for next week
❏ Seating charts???
❏ Talk to (four other teachers) about Success spreadsheet
❏ Track down potential new union members
❏ Track down union people
❏ Update data files for 2013-14
❏ Update materials/rules/discipline policy if necessary
❏ Update Teacher Assistant
❏ Write first day letter/email collection letter
❏ Write lesson plans for 1st three days of school
❏ Write sub/emergency plans
❏ Write syllabus for Algebra

Note that even though some things seem to be duplicates, they’re really not.  For example, “figure out desks” and “seating charts???” are two completely different activities– one is determining where to put the desks in the room, which is a pedagogical decision involving thinking about lines of sight, management, grouping, and other considerations (not to mention aesthetics) and another is purely a management decision– I’ve gone two years without a seating chart in any of my classes, but at least one of my groups I think is going to demand one.  Two of them, I think, can handle non-assigned seats.

I think only one item on the list is genuinely optional.  Maybe two.  Everything else needs to be done by 5 PM on Tuesday because that’s when Parent Night starts, and school starts on Wednesday.

You will forgive me if this is the only post today.  I have things to do.