Saturday, September 5, 2009

2.7 %

Yesterday in homeroom as I was taking attendance, one of my enterprising 6th graders announced that at the end of the day we would have completed 2.7% of the school year. I guess he was feeling the pressure that comes from being faced with a long period of "enforced labor" too! We've just ended our first week of school. For the first time in just about everyone's memory we had a full 5 days of school for the first week. Traditionally we've started the Wednesday before Labor Day, so we started with a 3 day week, followed by a 4 day week, and finally getting into the swing of things by week 3. So this was a huge adjustment for kids and teachers, though I suspect parents loved it! So far, I really like my new 6th graders. I share 42-45 of them with another teacher. He does the math and social studies while I teach RLA and science. The number isn't certain because it keeps changing. We started with 45, and then several didn't show up because they moved. Then we got a couple of new students, and then a couple of students were withdrawn for home schooling. When we left school last night we had 43. I think. That's one of the things I have to figure out this weekend.

I was totally wiped last night when I got home from school. I threw together a skillet supper: sauted fresh summer squash, red peppers, onions, leftover asparagus, and leftover chicken, had a very refreshing cold adult beverage, and collapsed on the sofa. I woke up about an hour later, and went to bed! This morning I slept late (til 7:30!!). I'm glad we have a 3 day weekend, but I have a ton of work to do. One of the things I hate about the start of school is all the organizing of paperwork and data, and all the "administrative tasks" that have to be done, in addition to the teaching stuff. For example, on the first day of school kids are given a minimum of 9 forms each that have to go home, be filled out by parents, and returned to school. (And I know parents hate this as much as we do!) We teachers collect the forms, check off that each student has returned each form, separate each form into its separate pile, and then alphabetize each pile. We have to send all of these forms daily to the office in alpha order, along with the checkoff sheet, and keep track of who hasn't brought which form in. Then we ourselves receive innumerable forms and multiple page documents that we have to read and sign off on by the end of the first week of school. Our new faculty handbook was given to us on Thursday. It's a 61 page document that we had to read and sign off on by Friday. In addition, for the first 2 weeks of school all of us are required to be on bus duty at 7:15 until the start of homeroom, and again from 2:12 to 2:20, so that eats into the time we have available to get some of these things done. I found myself at my desk at 6:30 am and the earliest I left school this week was 4:45 pm. The kids are there from 7:15 to 2:20. My goal is to avoid quite so many long days as the year goes on. I would really like to be leaving the building by 3:30 at least 2 days a week!

So my plans this weekend include: (And these are all the HAVE-TOs)
Read and comment on 43 journal entries
Set up my final class rosters (we lost 5 students, and gained 3)
Read 10 IEPs and one 504 plan and note necessary modifications
Grade 43 sets of reading comprehension questions
Review data collected from 43 spelling assessments & 43 reading assessments
Set up a new plan book since the ones that were ordered for us don't work
with our master schedule
Plan for a week's worth of science and reading
Balance the business checkbook and enter the payroll for this week

The WANT TOs include:
Reorganize my closet
Go to church
Get together with a friend for a knitting session
Watch my Dark Shadows Netflix disk
Finish a book (A Fatal Thaw by Dana Stabenow)
Find a baby gift pattern to knit
Work on my husband's genealogy
Sleep late
Write a blog entry (which I can cross off my list!)
Obtain growth targets for my reading students from database

We'll see how much of this too-long list gets done. I'm off now to read the journal entries since that feels like the most daunting task right now. I've already done the billing for the business, so that will be two tasks done before lunch!


Panhandle Jane said...

I know the feeling. Most of my to-dos this weekend are planning, however, so that will help.

We just finished our second full week, with a week of teacher stuff before that, so I'm a little ahead of you on the administrative tasks. They are a pain, though, aren't they?

I suppose that means that we are 5.4% through.

Songbird said...

Will kids in your school see the President's webcast? I'm fascinated by the response to the whole thing.

Deb said...

Our 6th graders will be away at a local camp for a day of team building activities, so it is a moot question for us. I believe that the 8th grade social studies teachers will be viewing it, however. I don't get the hullabaloo over this; just about every president makes an "education" speech at the beginning of the school year. Makes me wonder about the motivation behind the fuss.

Songbird said...

On CNN I just saw a woman CRYING because it will be so awful for the President to speak to kids. Huh?

Deb said...

I don't remember folks making a fuss when GW was in the classroom visiting kids and reading to them, on 9/11. Our local paper had a great editorial today. It posed the question whether it was because the president wasn't Republican, or whether it was because he wasn't white.