Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Planning for a New Year

(I intended to publish this post, with pictures of my classroom piles over a week ago, however, low and behold, during my move, I lost my hand held camera containing all my blog pictures. I've decided, for the sake of time, to publish it now anyway, but I know doing so without the pictures just doesn't tell the whole story. Sorry!)

I am well underway as I complete and check off the inevitable back to school 'to do' list, but regardless of how far I get, it seems like there is always so much more to accomplish! This preparation for the upcoming school year has been slightly more involved for me, because I moved from an office into a classroom to accommodate a larger meeting area. I've already spent 7 days packing, moving, setting up, organizing, and decorating my new space. (During my summer break, of course.) Our official school year starts Monday and we have a week before students arrive. I am thankful for this additional time because preparing can mean a smooth transition not only for teachers but students, too.

When I looked around yesterday, I was satisfied with how far I've gotten despite the piles everywhere! As an instructional coach, like teachers, I have a 'to do' list to get myself ready, but what I'll need to do as Monday arrives is put my own needs and lists aside and be there for the teachers.

Pre-planning is the time when teachers need my attention. Some teachers ask my opinion on classroom set up and logistics, some need materials that I go in search of and assemble, some need to have their questions answered about curriculum, and some just excitedly want me to see their room. That's not to say I don't make a plan for my days, I do, however I remain extremely flexible. My top priority is not to finish my space, rather to get the three new classroom libraries organized, stamped and distributed. These teachers need time before kids arrive to set up their libraries. And, I will solicit the help of high school students needing service hours toward Bright Futures so this mundane task doesn't occupy too much of my time.

My next priority is to check on all newer teachers to make sure their needs are being met. I also have three math manipulative kits to gather, bulletin boards to decorate, and cleaning to do. However, regardless of the task I've undertaken, I will always stop to address others needs. I've learned to be a multi-tasker and a coach that can change gears at the drop of a hat-not unlike a juggler throwing flame laddened wands in the air, catching them one by one without one dropping, and moving eloquently into juggling a set of bowling pins. Does any of this sound familiar, if it does, you must be an educator, too.