And, since I was a teacher and left my job in our old town at Spring Break, I had all the time in the world to unpack in a timely manner :)
I spent that last 9 weeks of school in our new town being a "mom", house-hunting practically full-time, volunteering at the kids schools (!!!), and looking for a job a little more than part-time. I wasn't sure I wanted to go back into the classroom but I also didn't know what else I would do -- teaching had always been my "life" -- sometimes too much of it, according to Tom..
|Some days I just took the show on the road. . .nice to get out and work!|
The interview went well -- there were lots of people there. . .the principal, librarian, music teacher/encore team lead. . .maybe the VP. . .and it lasted quite awhile. Mainly, they had decided to drop a 4th/5th grade teacher and instead hire a certified technology teacher because our state was going to online state testing this (last) year and they didn't feel their students had enough exposure to technology. This was a rural, Title I school and I was PUMPED to be asked to lead this endeavor. Technology is not something that our schools *have* to have in their curriculum but this principal felt that it was important for HER students in the 2015-16 school year. After the interview she asked me to apply for the job (ha!) so everything was in order. . .she had gotten my name and resume from a connection I had made on the previous year's grant. I love how all things seem to connect together. . .
She had said that a decision would be made, sent to the central office and it would be a few days whether I got a phone call from them offering me the job or an e-mail saying that the position had been filled. Obviously the former happened within a day or two, I quickly accepted, and I was excited to get involved in our county school system.
|Besides the usual teacher days before the first day of school, I also had an additional "New Teacher Training" three days before that!|
So. . .I went back to school on Monday and my wonderful, terrific, awesome in-laws went back to our old town on Wednesday and Thursday (they were down visiting for the week) to supervise the movers/packers there. We had moved into this house with our apartment stuff a week or so prior, but the other 2/3 of "stuff" needed to be hauled here. Tom's company paid for that part of it, which was nice.
|Leaving for school in the early morning, looking in at all the boxes!!!|
As the rest of my family was moving into our new home, I was setting up my new technology lab!!
This was the first day I saw it:
Margaret came back a few days later to help me set up, and I was confused because it seemed there weren't enough tables -- but once someone showed me how it had been set up in the past it made sense.
We worked hard and put together what we could before Open House. . .which is the night or so before school starts. . .
|I would lay their folders out on their floor spaces when they came in so we were ready to hit the ground running!|
|These were my "classroom colors". . .with all grades color-coded also :)|
|Students being picked up by teachers from the gym in the morning.|
|Morning duty - my view from the outside gym door|
I had morning gym duty all year. It was an interesting set-up. . .all grades came in and sat in their grade-assigned rows. They immediately got out a book to read or we (the three teachers in there or some of the safety patrol) gave them a book to read. It was completely silent and well-managed. Students knew the expectations and it was consistent. . .even on the first and last days of school. Luckily EKCE had an extremely supportive administration who would follow-up with us if we had a student not abide by the standards. I would do the job again in a heartbeat -- it was great to see all of the students every single morning.
Lesson plans are a part of every teacher's life. . .whether you are encore (or specials or whatever) or not.
|A common site in our home during the school year - especially on Sunday nights!|
|My mother's "I love you gift" - an Erin Condren lesson plan book!!|
The downfall of my job -- the part I hated (and the reason I was hired) -- was the testing aspect. Our state decided that it would test all students, grades 3-12, on the computer this year. We already do too much testing. . .data is important, but so is authentic learning that cannot always be measured. Anyway, because it was the main reason I was hired, I was required to do keyboarding work and test prep every single day and I just didn't like it. The kids were rockstars and did their best, despite the fact that the company the state hired to do this was unable to follow through and make everything work.
I immediately ordered some things (my husband asked about one of my Amazon orders, "is this so you can teach?" -- and my enthusiastic response was "YES!!! - Finally!!!")
I worked with some of the classroom teachers to complete reports for their classrooms (teaching students formatting and such in Word, and then later when we received our Google Accounts, in Google):
|Finishing up rough drafts before heading to their workstations|
Kahoot! is always a favorite. . .in my classroom or my kids' middle school classrooms!! (BTW, this is something that we have also played at home together -- it really is fun.)
Getting iPads out for the little guys and enjoying watching them learn and explore (of course PK-2 only did STAR testing -- universal screeners -- so we hit the ground running with instruction for them!)
I love, love, love watching students collaborate and work together:
And keyboarding, too, was a huge part of my curriculum. My little PKer's knew their home keys (one of their teachers was asking them to identify the letter F one day and the student said, "that's a home key" -- yea!) This picture made it into the yearbook:
I eventually got to redesign the technology lab so we had pods instead of those long tables and all (teachers and students) seemed to like it more.
(the orange station was the last to be re-configured. . .couldn't find pics once that was done)
The cubbies in the back kept the folders for students in each class -- these folders contained all of their usernames and passwords as well as any continuous work/research we were doing in the lab. The floor space in the middle was so great -- I couldn't see all students over the monitors so they would come in and sit on the floor to do opening instructions and such, then head to their stations to work.
The second graders worked week-by-week learning their QWERTY keyboard keys and coloring them in little-by-little. I was able to laminate and give them all back so they could take them home with them at the end of the year:
I can't find pictures (right now) of the solar system projects the third graders did, but all I can say is "wow!". They worked in Google groups, a student from each of the 4 3rd grade classrooms in each group. Every day, the class that was in there would do another slide as part of the whole Google Slide presentation. They learned to research and put together slides, work together to make suggestions, and be creative also. Since these are county Google accounts they should have their presentations for as long as they are a student in this county -- they should be proud of their hard work!!
There are so many more things that I was a part of in this school and projects that were fun to do and engaging (I hope!) for the kids. The end of the year was weird in the sense that I never really wrapped things up with the kids and told them that I would not see them again. I finished up projects and such that they were working on, but because of field days, assemblies, etc., my last day with some of the classes was two weeks before the end of school -- much too early to be saying good-bye! Plus, I was "just" an encore teacher -- someone they saw every 4 days (if they weren't absent that day) and most saw me in the gym in the mornings. It would probably have been different if I had been there for several years (I wish!!!) and could have seen them grow over time. I loved the year I had and got to know almost all of the 450 students and most especially had begun relationships with most of the teachers.
|This was most of EKCE's teaching and support staff at a staff meeting -- this one in January 2016||. You can see how the libary "walls" are just bookcases!|
|Joanna, Steve, Jack, Jenni, Kim, Aubrey|
|Kim, Jenni, Joanna|
Picture of the Day on May 20, 2016.
Yes, we get out early.
But we also start early.
This year teachers go back August 1st.
I still don't know if I'll be one of them or not.
I headed straight to a job interview at a private school right after this. Unfortunately, I was not the person they were looking for. It would have been a neat opportunity :)
I'm still looking. . .
Had a technology interview at an elementary school reallyclose to our house (before the school year was even over!), but they gave it to their gifted teacher. That makes sense.
I interviewed at another private school that I interviewed at last year too. . .they never called last year and it's been over two weeks now and they haven't called this time either.
I have an interview tomorrow for another technology position but it's part-time which would be awesome. Elementary.
But maybe I'll go work someplace completely different.
I *love* being home with the kiddies in our still-new-to-us (haven't even been here a year!) home.
The one thing I've told the kids: I'm not going back to school for any sort of degree -- ha!
I have been working on this blog post since the beginning of June. Time to publish!