Lots of Changes = a Hectic New School Year

I’m embarrassed to say that I have not written a blog post since September 5th, which is before school even started for me! A lot has changed this year, both in and out of school. I know that I shouldn’t make excuses for why I haven’t written as much, but I am going to.

In exactly one week, my husband, two kids, and I will be moving to a new house, so all a lot of my free time has been devoted to organizing, donating, and packing. My husband has done SO much more than I have, but I’ve still lost a good chunk of time that would have been devoted to reading and writing.

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1/4 of our books all packed up

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Our reading corner looks so empty!

At the same time I began this new school year, my son also entered Kindergarten. He loves it, and I am one proud mama! Our district was nice enough to let him start at his new elementary school in September so he didn’t have to change schools one month into the school year. I am quite thankful for that; however, it means my husband and I have to drop him off and pick him up each day. My days of staying at school until 4:00 or 4:30 to get work done are over. Currently, I am leaving at 3:00, which gives me only 15 minutes of time between my last class and when I have to leave the building. After we move in one week, I will have a little bit more time (until 3:30), but not much. Thankfully, this means that students can start staying after with me, if needed.

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My son’s first homework assignment: drawing a picture of his family.

I have also experienced a lot of changes during my school day. Even though they are changes for the better, they still require additional time that I can’t always seem to find. For starters, my classroom is now paperless. I didn’t know if it was going to work after the first week, since the network at our school was down, but I managed by using the library computers instead of the Chromebooks. After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing. My new students needed a few weeks to get used to the Chromebooks, but they’ve really gotten the hang of it now. They know how to locate the information they need in Google Classroom, and if they are stuck, they know they can ask for help. I haven’t thrown a lot of different programs at them so far, and that has helped ease them into it. Google Classroom (along with all the other Google products like Docs, Slides, and Forms), Goodreads, and Kahoot are all I have incorporated so far, and I’m glad I did that. Students aren’t overwhelmed, and that’s key. It’s now the end of the first five weeks of school, and I see higher grades, positive attitudes, and better effort than in years past. Making a drastic change like this takes time, but it’s necessary. Also, because I have gone paperless, I have also saved a lot of time with grading, planning, and organizing independent reading pages and titles. Now for the real time-consuming issue here: I just don’t have as many planning periods at school as I used to, and now I have four preps instead of two. There are even days I teach four one-hour classes in a row and have to go racing for the bathroom afterward. I guess I should be thankful I have a paperless classroom, for even though it took a lot of time to implement, I would have even less planning time now if I didn’t.

Last year, I decided to take on some additional responsibilities, and that included becoming one of the two Class of 2018 advisers. I love doing it, but again, doing it well takes time. I am proud to be a part of a small, close-knit, school district. Being as small as we are, Homecoming is always packed with alumni and overflowing with school spirit. Since the beginning of the school year, I have been meeting with the class officers about Homecoming, making sure they got started on making signs, and then going to all the festivities. I truly enjoy it, but combining it with packing at home and preparing for teaching, it was A LOT! Homecoming is now over, but soon I will have three fundraisers to prepare for.

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I still make time to purchase new books for my overflowing classroom library.

I know I sound like I’m complaining, but venting is needed sometimes. Being a mom, teacher, adviser, and packer all in one is tough! I love teaching and doing all I can for my students, and I am also pleased to be moving and starting a new chapter with my amazing family. It just gets overwhelming at times, and I find myself falling asleep while reading or starting a blog post and not finishing it until three weeks later. Today I finally found time to finish it.

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