Monday, August 11, 2014

So the Last Shall be First and ...

I  am pretty sure that a recurring theme of this, my final year in the classroom, will be "lasts." The last this and the last that. I guess I already started that by referring to this as my 'final' year. I will do this sparingly, I assure you. But this time, I must. Today was the first day that teachers were back. Students return next Monday, August 18. So-o-o-o this was my last first teacher day. There, it's done.

And now to the news of the day:
After 21 years in the same classroom in the technology building, I moved over the summer to a new-to-me room in the science building. I can safely put this in the column "Things Teachers Dislike Doing." But I'm good with it. The main reason is that, in packing up for this move, I had to toss things that I hadn't used in years and I knew I would not use this year. I'm going to have to do this again at the end of this the final year, but now the job shouldn't be as bad, since I got rid of a lot for this move.

The moves means that a substantial portion of my time this week will be spent in personalizing my new room. It is not a bad room, as classrooms go. But it lacks stuff on display. I have my own posters to adorn the walls, puzzles to lay out for students to manipulate and astronomical equipment to set out. I should have this room up to my standards by a 7:18 next Monday morning (that's 3 minutes before kids arrive and class starts.)

On another front, I find myself with 2 preps this year. Now, for the non-teachers in this vast audience, a prep is the term for a class or subject that you teach and have to prepare a lesson for every day. The more subjects you teach, the more preparation time you usually have. Many teachers teach required courses, which means that a lot of students take it. So those teachers usually have 5 or 6 sections(periods) teaching the same thing (say Algebra 1) 5 or 6 times each day. They have a lot of students but only one prep. Most of my career I have had at least 3 preps and sometimes 4 or even 5 (I would teach a different subject each period.) Never have I have fewer than 3 preps. Until now, my last year. I have one section of Advanced Placement Computer Science and four sections of Astronomy! I would be worried about the monotony of teaching the same thing 4 times a day, except for the fact that it is astronomy. Come on. How good is that.

One final thing for this post: I have determined that this is going to be a good year, maybe even a great year, for me in the classroom. I have thought about this a lot and realize that there is much in my life that is beyond my control. The good, the bad, and the in between - it all happens without seeking for my permission. The one thing I can control is my response to those things, which a direct outgrowth of my attitude. I may not succeed all the time, but I am resolved that my attitude and response will be gracious, caring and encouraging. From time to time I will let you know how I am doing.

Astrochap (my WWF handle)


  1. I cannot help but feel like an era is coming to a close.....

  2. I also have only two preps this year. I've had 4 and 5 at times. I can't teach the same talk more than twice - three times tops. Talks seem to degrade after two times. I'm not teaching a full load either so I have crazy prep time. A gift and a curse.

  3. Chap you will always be teaching! :)