I can’t believe it’s that time of year already. If you haven’t noticed the temperature dropping at night,
that’s O.K. because some of the more sensitive trees have, as they have begun to shed leaves. The prairie grasses have also taken not, beginning to turn purple.
I have also taken note, as this rental home without A/C is able to cool off at night and thus sustains life at a slightly more agreeable temperature during the day. Most significantly, my nature clues me in as my morning hikes have changed beyond the trees and grasses. Flowers are turning to seed.
Instead of birds and migratory patterns, I notice butterflies around every corner.
Low and behold, the pumpkin vines are also starting to bud.
All of these details provoke a variety of emotions. I get excited about fall activities such as Renaissance Festival, Grape Stomp Wine Tasting, and Halloween fun!
But then there’s the scary truth,
I am a teacher and I must return to work. Days will soon be much shorter and I will awake before dawn, leaving the house before first light.
This year is worse. I haven’t officially announced to most people (unless you see me on a regular basis) that I will not be returning to the position I held for the last 5 years. I will be running/expanding a program meant to help students with emotional and behavior disorders be successful in school. I will have a smaller caseload than I have in the past. I will also have a team of paraprofessionals to help me.
So why am I afraid. First, change is hard. Second, I’m worried about bad habits or expectations I have developed in my previous position. I come from a district with an open technology plan that provided our students with 1:1 tech. While it was a pain in the butt because most students didn’t have very reasonable skills when it came to balancing tech and education, it was also a huge convenience. I could put anything in Google classroom and my students could access it. I could always use Kahoot to review or to engage students in a new unit. I didn’t do it often, but I could give students and parents my cell phone number. I am not a huge fan of Facebook and don’t use it super often, but I could also friend students and parents on Facebook and openly post about my activities or my students. I could post pictures of my athletes. I am losing all of that. I will work in a building with 1/3 of the student population I have become accustomed to. That means less students, less teachers, smaller building; which ultimately means it’s easier to put me under a microscope. My demographic is changing. DRASTICALLY.
I have lived and worked in one of the two most diverse counties in the ENTIRE WORLD for the last 5 years. For some reason, it is very scary going to a predominantly “white” building with less diversity.
Some of you may notice and judge my “Black” category, calling my politically incorrect and thinking my graphic doesn’t at all match my above statement. But hear me out. I taught high school students in the most diverse county you can find: there is NO racial majority in the county I live in. That being said, I have discussed this with my high school students on more than one occasion. These are people who are closer to being legal adults (and some already are) than to being a kid. The majority of my students with the darkest skin tones were born in a America with a genetic history so far back that their lives and family values don’t tie to any African cultural values or traditions. Those students are AMERICAN, just like me. Some have a genetic tie to an Island or country that isn’t in Africa such as Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, or even Puerto Rico. The irony of the last one being, that Puerto Ricans are American. Yet, despite their ACTUAL genetic connections, they are forced to claim they are “African” on all applications, government things, tests, etc. How does that make sense. Then, there were actually a percentage of students that were born in Nigeria, Uganda, etc. Those students actually were African-American and proud to say it. But the rest, weren’t.
Now this post has gotten WAY OFF TRACK!
The point is, it is July 20th and the signs of fall are here! I have accomplished some things on my to-do list, but not nearly as many as I would have liked. That seems to be the pattern of every summer. I should be clarifying my lesson plans, but that wasn’t a motivation today. I just felt like doing other things that needed doing. Which brings me to another fear about the new job: 50 minutes.
How am I supposed to teach anything in 50 minutes? This definitely has to be a factor in our ADD population. Kids can provide sustained focus on one topic, but we never really ask them to. School is set up to bounce from one subject to the next without much thought for perseverance and sustained focus. How sad. I seriously don’t know how to plan for 50 minute classes, though. I only have to plan for one subject to be taught once per day, but even so. It is a difficult task when you are used to having 90 minutes to teach, practice, experiment, etc.
Hello Fall, the thought of you brings work stress.