- Staying Within Law: Special Education Teachers and IDEA - September 1, 2020
- Teaching With Minecraft EDU - April 3, 2019
- Self-Care Is Priority One for This Teacher - February 13, 2019
- Preparing Students For Teacher Absences - February 12, 2019
- Respect in the Classroom: Earned, Not Expected - February 11, 2019
- Dissing the Family Crazies: A Christmas Story - January 6, 2019
- Band-Aiding The Mental Health of Our Children - November 23, 2018
- We Must Love Them - November 5, 2018
- Take One For the Team: The Need for Self-Care - August 19, 2018
- The New Teacher Smell - August 19, 2018
Owning a school may sound like an easy way to avoid all of the messy paperwork that goes along with education, but it really means that the paperwork just changes routes. Instead of serving the district or the State Department, I am accountable to a higher entity: Parents and families.
Summers are spent not only writing lesson plans, which I redo every year since I have students who stay with me for several consecutive years, but also getting all of my paperwork in place for Parent Orientation, conference times, all activities and field trips and updating our policy handbook. I also must make sure all staff positions for the upcoming year have been filled with dependable people along with posting potential volunteer opportunities on our Facebook page for parents to sign up for. Couple those responsibilities with the ‘business’ end of taxes, IRS forms and building and maintenance and my ‘summer break’ disappears in a flash.
The fact is I wouldn’t change it for anything. Even though I must make sure all I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed and predict any and every situation that might arise for the entire year, it’s really much less stressful than focusing on high stakes testing, sitting through sub par professional development sessions and preparing for principal observations.
One of my favorite parts of summer preparation though is the anticipation of transitioning new students into my classroom. Whether these students come from the Kindergarten room or transfer in from the public school system, I love the fact that I will have new students who I get to help reinvent the power and love of learning. Most of the surrounding school districts are so focused on standardized testing and trying to function in overflowing classrooms with minimal resources that the love of learning has taken a backburner. I love to see students who come from this type of environment blossom in my school.
There is definitely something freeing about being able to make my own rules and run my classroom the best way that I see fit. I do not have to follow required curriculum or reading. I do not have to teach without proper materials. I do not have to sit through endless staff meetings that get very little accomplished. As I’ve said before, I change my lesson plans, activities and classroom flow each year. This year I plan to start my students’ day off with a worship time. I know I have a few students who take a little bit longer to master material so I have allowed for that in my planning. I also know that I have several students who have experienced life-changing events this summer. I get to allow for that as well. I also have the parent support and communication with ALL of my school families. We are a village.
So even though summer is disappearing quickly, I am once again excited for the first day of school. I eagerly await smiling faces, summer stories and unending questions.
What is the one thing in teaching you wish you could change?