Since all of you can clearly read my mind, you know that my recent absence from The Absorbent Teacher has been due to the demands of my day job. Namely: setting up my classroom for the new school year. On Monday, I hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since. Even when I’m home my mind is still on my classroom. (Just wait till you see my classroom wishlist. Someone needs to take away my internet!) Today is the first day I haven’t gone to school since I got back to town late Sunday evening. Go me! It’s a short reprieve, though, as I’ll be prepping myself for the week to come. My first ever teacher-trainer told me that you leave home at home when you step into the classroom. And while I don’t believe that will ever be completely possible for me, here are a few of the things I do to give my prepared environment a somewhat prepared teacher:
- Decide what to wear for the week. My school has a different dress code for the first week of school. It’s more formal and involves skirts or dress pants. Since I wouldn’t wear dress pants in August in Ojai unless (and until) you paid me a million dollars, skirts it is. The only problem is that I always wear skirts. I love them. So the first week of school requires a little special gussying up. I break out my nicer and newer skirts and pair them with my limited collection of jewelry. I might even–gasp!–wear some makeup! Regardless, I’ll determine an outfit for the appropriate number of days during the week. A glance at the weather report will help my decision-making, but I don’t usually assign days to my outfits. I just create them and choose which one I feel like wearing when I wake in the morning. (This is not to say that I don’t change my mind. I totally do.)
- Make a lunch plan. I do my shopping during the weekend (usually), so I’ve already given this some thought. Last year I did a lunch swap with two fellow teachers and it was BRILLIANT. I made lunch on Mondays and didn’t have to worry about it again until Thursday. I believe we’ll be doing this again, but I’ll be on a different day. MSO does offer Hot Lunch, but I rarely partake.
- Draft a rough schedule for the school week. This mainly consists of listing the things I want to make sure I do during the first week of school. For example, I always do a school tour on the first day of school. I introduce three classroom rules and three yard rules per day, so I make a list of the important ones. I make a list of icebreaker activities I want to do. That kind of thing–but keep the actual scheduling light since the first week of school is a major adjustment period and flexibility is key.
- Whip up a batch of baked oatmeal muffins. I always have these on hand for mornings when I’m running late. It’s not advisable for me to head into the school day without sustenance. My muffins are insurance against that. I bake them and freeze them so they’re ready to pop into the microwave. Sometimes I’ll also make a large batch of oatmeal in my slow-cooker so I can reheat it in the mornings.
- Do some sample work. I like to do an art project at the beginning of the school year, and this one is no exception. I’ll be starting with two, actually: a black oil pastel and rainbow watercolor that we’ll be using for the cover of our writing journals (to distinguish them from their math ones) and an Autobiographical Map.
Oh, boy, I’ve got a lot to do! I’ll see you guys soon!