Saturday, August 27, 2011

Post Retreat

For those of you who have never working in an Independent School you will thing we're nuts, for those of you who have, you probably think this is totally normal. Coming from a public school to independent school's has been a complete 180 degree turn around.

For starters, starting school doesn't REALLY mean starting school. Starting school REALLY means going to camp together. That is where we have returned from, in the blistering heat where Phoenix has broken more records than I would like to even think of. It was hot, it was miserable at night, and the kids had an ABSOLUTE ball!!!

Combined with get to know you activities and fun activities the who three days was jam packed with sending the message that we are a community and this is what it means to be in that community, along with we will have fun together and that's ok was an excellent combination and although WE the adults were kind of miserable, the kids made it totally worth the while.

My favorite moment, and the only one I will share to not bore everyone to tears with a play by play account was from the last night that we were at camp. We hosted a talent like show where the students were given a few hours time to prepare and then performed. It was... INCREDIBLE! Given only a few hours notice they stuck their heads together, ensured that EVERYONE was participating in one way shape or form, and they actually put on really good acts. It wasn't just a bunch of students getting up and goofing off, they learned skits and lines, they taught and choreographed dances, and they even wrote their own lyrics to songs including one that three of my freshman girls did to the tune of Rebecca Black's Friday "We're freshman, freshman, everybody wants to be freshman, everybody's looking forward to the first day of school, we're freshman freshman" you get the idea. ADORABLE! But no, that's not my favorite moment.

My favorite moment was when one of the weaker acts got up, by herself, to sing a song that was truly WAY too far outside of her vocal range. No one laughed, no one started conversations, instead they turned on their flashlights held them up in the air and cheered her on by waving them as if it was a 1980's concern with lighters in the air. I was so touched that they wanted to make her feel like a part of the group, like a member of their community, that they would support her. No where in this world have I ever met a group of students who would do something outside of their comfort zone for someone else, I was truly taken aback by it.

Anyway Monday is our opening of school ceremony, and then we will have our first day of classes. Hope all of my teacher friends are doing well at their prospective schools, and  I will see everyone on the flip side of the start of the school year!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Embarrassed About Being Appreciated?

Yes, it is true. I have had to come to the unacceptable realization that I am uncomfortable when it comes to being complimented and appreciated; and I am absolutely appalled by the realization.

What kind of place was I working in that has left me shell shocked about being appreciated? What kind of place left me lacking basic life skills like being able to say thank you when you are told that you're energy is astounding? Am I really that different here? I truly do not think so... and yet.... here I am.

Today the full faculty is back in action and everyone is equally as friendly and equally as helpful as the staff I have met thus far. In new teacher introductions I heard multiple times people say "This school is my philosophy of education embodied", "This school is my dream job", "This school will allow me to be a better educator and do better for my students" and I can't say I disagree.

A philosophy of student choice (that is actually a philosophy of student choice and not just words), a philosophy that pays credence to the fact that there are human elements to educators (people are people and their emotions are important!), it truly is my dream job just like my fellow faculty members.

I will try to sound less excited, and try to sound less obsessed with my new jobs, but for now I will be obsessed and a work-a-holic :)

Cheers to my fellow teachers and friends!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

After Three Days of PD...

After three days of Professional Development I am both completely thrilled and completely terrified. I am in a place where I feel that everyone is so much smarter than I am. This is both a relief... and a terrifying concept. I feel like I'm back in a "fake it till I make it" mentality. Everyone has such amazingly  different strengths that I have never tapped into that I seem to find myself not saying much and instead watching and listening to what is going on around me.

People say "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" which is a crock. Its "If you don't have anything intelligent to add, don't say anything at all".

On the plus side, NOT ONCE has my time been wasted in the last three days and not ONCE have I felt than anyone has treated me like I wasn't valuable. Its a wonderful time of change and wonder at the school as a whole, there are seven new faculty members and being a part of such a large group has made my experience much better as well, including being treated to lunch two of the three days, once by the Director of my school and once by the Director of the whole school.

Such a positive experience has of course been coupled with stress dreams but... no beginning of school experience would be whole with out them :)

More to come I promise, for now its nap time in order to help my brain function in a more productive capacity vs. in a lets avoid work capacity :)

Cheers my fellow teachers and friends!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Day Of School

Everyone keeps asking me when I go back. Even the administrators from my old school seem genuinely interested in when I go back. "I go back the same day you do, I just don't have students for two and half a weeks". While their eyes bulge out of their heads they ask "What will you do for two and a half weeks with out students?" A genuine question that I myself have been wondering. The answer... I have no idea BUT they have yet to waste my time. My next three days are New Teacher Orientation which involves today, an entire day to work in my classroom (justified by my Directors comment of 'What's the point of having teachers in meetings if all they will think about is how much work they need to accomplish in their classrooms?'), tomorrow where I then have a Front Office Orientation, and time to work on my curriculum, and Friday where I have a Financial Orientation, Lunch with the Director of the whole School, and again, time to work on my curriculum.

Thus far they are keeping to their philosophy of education that my time is actually worth something, which I appreciate more than they know!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Stress Dreams

Well the stress dreams have already started. Last night I dreamt that I missed the first day of my upcoming three day new teacher orientation and I was fired for nonattendance. Then I found out I found out I wasn't fired but was teaching in Phoenix AND in Tucson, Tucson night classes and Phoenix during the day. It was a very exhausting dream in which I do not feel rested today because I was so busy last night :(

On a side note I visited by previous school yesterday briefly which was not enough time and the goodbyes finally started to set in. Driving back last night was bitter sweet. Come Wednesday I feel I will have a better idea of what is going on (and WHY there are three days of New Teacher Orientation). Should be good :)

Good luck to all my teacher friends!