Friday, September 4, 2015

First Week

Well.  I made it.  I survived the first week of school at a new school
and without my own classroom.

And you know what?

It.  Was.  AWESOME.

It was also exhausting and overwhelming and sad and exciting 
and inspiring and frustrating and affirming and yes, even peaceful.

How was it all of those feelings, and it was only a four day week?  
Good question.  It just was.

It was exhausting because there is nothing quite like back-to-school-teacher exhaustion.  It was overwhelming because while I know the teachers now, 400+ kids faces?  Most of which are nameless still?  Yeah, it was sad, too.  For the first time, I walked the hallways knowing next to no children.  Even my first year in my own classroom, I knew most of the families as I had been there the previous year.   It was like a family reunion that first year.  This year?  I missed that piece.  I missed seeing my former students flood the hallways, eager to start their new year.

Some students touring the Mercaz as seen
from the newly renovated 7-8 wing!
Describing the first day of school as exciting is almost cliche, but this year, it really fit.  It was exciting, starting a new adventure, in a new building, with new colleagues and families.  There is so much possibility in excitement of a new school year!  Being a Jewish Day School, there was an awe inspiring energy as students, from kindergarten on up, led morning minyan, how the pledge was followed by morning blessing.  It gave me chills as I walked past the rooms with kids singing prayers.

It was frustrating because the technology complicated things WAY more than it needed too, and coming from a school where the tech was predictably effective?  Yeah.   Affirming?  I made the right choice.  After a week of students, and two and a half weeks with the teachers, I already feel like I'm at home when I walk through the doors each morning.  And that feeling?  Led to a sense of peace that I've not experienced in a school before.  Ever.

I can't quite explain it.  (Believe me, I've tried.)  There is something unique about this place.  The technology leaves a lot to be desired, but the willingness and openness of the staff, makes it more manageable.  The teachers have blown me away in their risk-taking, and the fact that they're stepping up to the plate and trying new things week one.  I am awed by their willingness to step out of their comfort zone this early.  I've only known most of them for two weeks, and the fact that they're already starting to incorporate some of the new technologies into their classrooms humbles me.

Enjoying the new learning spaces in the
7-8 wing!  Who says you need chairs?!
Being part of the leadership team, and not a classroom teacher, has given me a whole new perspective on school.  While my days were often over-scheduled this first week, being able to walk around in the cafeteria (called the miznon) during lunch, and check in with students throughout the day in different areas of the school?  It's really a neat angle from which I see things now.

The highlight of my week, though, had to be the few classes I got to teach.  Getting to introduce their laptops to the fifth graders, and help the fifth through eighth graders get situated with their new emails...... and introducing a group of fourth graders to the world of google..... This.  This job?  Yeah.

While I may have had some doubts about my ability to step up into my new role, those doubts are gone.  Embracing the challenges that lay ahead are going to make this journey all the sweeter.......

The introduction of the eighth grade project - I get to mentor a group this year!  Can't wait!

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