(120 hours down, 0 to go)
I realized today that I've been stress eating about the prep schedule, mainly because every good adventure works up an appetite. Thank goodness I have muscle relaxants to keep me from dreaming about it.
Today was another very busy day. I got there early enough to work a bit on the schedule. Still just crunching numbers at this point, to make sure there is enough specialist hours to cover the amount of classes we need. The next step is fitting them in to where classes will go on the schedule.
My second grade class this morning was a repeat of yesterday's lesson, working on writing names down (after reading Rumpelstiltskin) which went a lot better. I had less students needing help, although I really am not sure why. I don't know what I did differently today. That's frustrating, because I really would like to replicate the results with my classes the rest of the week. Behavior was a bit of a struggle, but I talked to the teacher about it as they were leaving, and she said it was most likely because they had a sub yesterday, and they were going on a field trip later in the day. That explains it.
Kindergarten was rough, too. Even though 5 kids were absent, another 5 of them came in completely disengaged and obviously upset about something that had happened before class. It took nearly 20 minutes to read The Three Little Pigs because I had to keep stopping and waiting for them to get it together (I've been working on ignoring low-level disturbances, as long as they're not affecting the rest of the class, but this was beyond that). I had to have three students sit quietly on the story rug while the rest of the class started working on the computers, in order to have them "pay me back" the time they wasted during the story. One girl had to sit for nearly 10 minutes before she could compose herself to where she was sitting appropriately.
In first grade I started working on Word, mainly because it has been such a struggle for my second graders (and hopefully by starting earlier we'll eliminate some of the issues). We simply opened Word, and they learned how to use the shift and return key by writing their full name five times. It was really successful, although with a few kids I had to take their fingers and show them how to use shift. We barely had time to check out books, though, because I was interrupted half way through class with an urgent tech need, and again the last 5 minutes with something related to the first interruption (I'm not going to expand on this, as it is an issue of some confidentiality).
Third and Fourth grades worked again on Study Island, and fourth grade earned 5 minutes of choice time.
At the end of the day I had another conversation with Ms. W. the principal about some changes to the prep schedule for next year. Our part-time building tech will be reducing his hours at our school to only 10 hours/week which means I'll be picking up the slack, and as a result have to try to build in a bit more administration time into my schedule next year. I probably won't really be able to (the schedule is pretty tight) so I talked with Ms. W about how I'll be focusing primarily on being very clear in the beginning of next year what the procedures are for: staff requesting help (and making it clear that it will not always be immediate), media check-out (including books and equipment for staff), and also distributing some of the responsibility to others. We'll be transferring the library to a traditional Dewey Decimal system (it's AR right now) so that staff will be able to find their own books easily. I'm going to talk at the next tech committee meeting about having a tech representative from each grade-level team bearing more responsibility, and maybe be better trained in procedure, and hopefully distribute some of the responsibility. That is probably the most frustrating thing about my job, is how often I have to explain the same thing to staff. Clearly I need to be more proactive to prevent this, as simply saying "oh sorry you didn't understand the first time" is not an option.
All of this really encompasses so much, I'll be starting in on staff development manuals over the summer. I don't mind so much, it will make my job easier in the long run. It is a good thing that I am scheduled to be done with my LME certification by then, so that I'll have more time to dedicate to my job.