Every time I do a first day of school, it's different. And every time I learn something new.
And this year is so much different than any year that has come before.
I am continuing the class that I was covering in summer school. Sort of. Instead of teaching English, I've been swapped into teaching math and science. (The principal discussed this with me during the summer session, and as I'm way more comfortable with math, I was quite happy to make the switch.)
When the principal asked what books I wanted the kiddos to have, as they were putting together what they'd send home for each kiddo, I had no answer. Since we did the summer session virtually, I hadn't been to campus. What books were available? What did I have to work with.
So, for the first time ever, I got prep time. . .
Friday before school started, I went to campus. I got assigned a classroom, and I checked out a key.
So, instead of scrambling on the first day of school, I had some time to set something up. I had time to look around the classroom and figure out what I had to work with. (For summer session I used an old summer school classroom photo. The photo above is of the actual classroom.)
I'm still scrambling, of course, but it's not nearly as pronounced. The school had no chemistry textbooks, yet I have five chemistry students. I don't have access to the online component of the math textbooks yet. (I've seen what they have in other math classes I've covered.) And I was on my own to figure out lesson plans and such.
But, I walked in on the first day knowing what I had to work with and having a plan for the kiddos. That's huge.
Yes, walked in. I taught in an actual classroom on the first day of school. Of course, I was the only one there. . .
I live in Los Angeles County in California. Our Covid numbers are up, and the county has said no to in person school. We're teaching virtually.
I don't know what each and every district is doing; I only know what my district is doing. We have a modified schedule. We meet online in Google Hangouts. And teachers have the option of working on campus or from home.
The office staff is there. The principal is on campus. The instructional aides are working on some project. The janitorial staff is keeping it all clean.
We have to wear masks, of course. They check our temperature when we get to school, and if we're going to be on campus, we need to do a "self check" before coming in. (If sick or possibly exposed, we're to stay home.)
It's a balance between the familiar and the new normal.
At least it'll keep the blog in stories.
For the record, I'm working about half at school and half from home. I've been going in to get materials, and if I need to get materials, I might as well do my lessons from the classroom. They have the good air conditioning. I have a desk to work from. But if I have everything I need, I can sleep in another hour and do the lessons from home.
We'll see if I keep going in. I haven't decided just yet.