It is so great to be at a school again that values my professional opinion in my own classroom and just leaves me alone to do what I need to do! I was able to spend all of my classes this week getting the relationships, rituals, routines, and BID-NESS taken care of that I know, especially as a middle school teacher, are so important to having a good year!
1. My largest class has 21 students. (Yep. You read that correctly. WHAT? I know.)
2. My kids ALL (and I mean ALL) say thank you when I hand them a paper.
3. Our cafeteria has a SALAD BAR and the food is actually cooked ON SITE!
4. I have an interactive white board, and asked for a document camera and VOILÀ...there it was!
5. ALL of my kids come with school supplies. (Even markers, scissors, glue, etc.)
6. Almost all of the kids speak AT LEAST three languages and have lived all over the world.
7. Kids seem a bit more accepting of differences because they're all inherently very different given that they are from/have lived all over the world.
8. The average stay at the school for kids is only about 1-3 years so they've all experienced being new and are extremely willing to help out other new kids, more so than I have ever encountered before.
Does it feel like I am cheating on public education? Yes, yes it does. I feel a little bit ashamed to share all this stuff with people who have had their class sizes increase to ridiculous numbers this year. But, this is what I am doing for at least the next two years, so I'll just apologize in advance if it seems like I am rubbing stuff in...I'm not trying to, just sharing my experience!
Our schedule is going to be hard for me to get used to from a memory standpoint. I cannot remember which class is coming in next, let alone what I have planned for that hour. I have toyed with about 5 different planning/organizing/documenting systems this week and think that I might have gotten one down. I had planned on trying to do it all in my ipad, but alas, I am a pencil/eraser girl.
Here's a link to a definition of Constructivism if anyone is wondering what the heck I am talking about....
Because I see all teaching/learning through the lens of inquiry, discovery, and constructivism, sometimes I have a hard time (and by sometimes, you will know that I really mean ALWAYS) planning with people who are not this way. I have been tested mentally already and am trying to apply some of my Cognitive Coaching strategies instead of just being a brat (like I would prefer to do though it is not very professional) and throw my hands up while saying "FINE! I'll just do it my own way and don't care what you want to do!" But, we are expected to do things together so I will continue to try. The good thing is though, I am FULLY supported by my head of department (UNLIKE last year...uh...just the thought of her makes smoke come out of my ears) and the school administration seems to think like me about assessment based on the book that they gave us at our staff training. And, just to demonstrate the extent of my nerdiness, you can know that, yes, I already read most of it.
So, as week two begins, I am trying to actually plan some real content lessons and creating/searching for a lot of resources because I will be teaching some things that I have never taught before. I do have solid amounts of time during the school day to get stuff done (those white boxes on my schedule) so I am really trying to use that time the best that I can.
And, don't worry...my week wasn't all about school! I have some workout buddies (FOR FREE) at school. A few of us are just moving the tables and doing some Body Combat-esque videos which is perfect for me as I am in the hole about $2 million after having been unemployed for so long. Not sure what my gym situation is going to be but I will wait a bit to figure it out. For now, I am really enjoying the after school workouts and am having almost as much fun doing it as I would at an actual gym! Plus, I don't have to go anywhere.
This weekend was pretty fun. Our administrators put €400 toward a bar tab at an outdoor café near school so we all went there after school on Friday. Saturday I did some farmer's market shopping, had lunch with my only non-school friends Barbara and Todd, got a pedicure, and went out to dinner with some new friends from school. The weather was DELIGHTFUL (like Southern California) on Saturday so I was out and about outside downtown a lot. Everyone else had similar ideas and it was very busy around town.
|This was one of several "party bike" options that one can rent to ride around Düsseldorf.|
If you want to drink any beer, there are literally options about every 2 inches (I should say centimeters since this is Europe but then it would be 2 inches X 2.54 centimeters = the distance one must travel in Germany to find beer!)!!
|Yesterday, along the Rhein River, there was a random marching band. Hilarious.|
Also hilarious is that my phone autocorrects the word "Rhine" to "Rheumatic!"
"Wine on the Rheumatic" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as does "Wine on the Rhine!"
|This is my room! You will notice the lack of any knick-knacks. That will come later.|
I am still working on things like lightbulbs!
|I have, at least, gotten a few frames and figured out how to print pictures so my house has some personal touches!|
If you've hung in through this whole post, thank you. I have been really busy during the week but am going to really try to make sure that I get to it on Sundays! I would really appreciate it everyone I know could have a blog so I too can keep up with the minutiae of your life as well!
To all of my CBMS peeps...I will be thinking about you this week! I still do not like starting a school year (or really working in a school at all) without you! I miss "the gauntlet!!"