Not excited for school this year...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Lei286, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2018

    Maybe I'm in a total funk....or maybe my last year completely drained me emotionally and diminished my confidence, but I am NOT looking forward to heading back to school this year. At all. In fact, I get downright depressed with the thought of having to start curriculum planning and all the back to school stuff. I have more students than last year, more behavior issues (though they are less major than the problems I experienced last year), and more pressure.

    I'm already getting overwhelmed with all the upcoming events and holidays that will be taking place in the first few months of school, and we're not even out of July yet! I want to enjoy my summer as much as possible, but I know that I'm going to regret not planning more come September. But at the same time, I don't even know where to start! I'm so afraid that I will have a repeat of last year if I don't do it right, and I'm getting anxiety.

    Any thoughts on how to shake this feeling? I do love teaching (I can't imagine doing anything else), but I'm just not feeling it this year.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2018

    I get where you are coming from. Part of me is gearing up to go back to school, but it's not what it has been. I think part of it is I am appreciating being home with my girls more, and it's not what it was last year where I was all-out dreading going back (which in retrospect may have been a red flag because it was an awful year).

    I love teaching, but I also wonder if perhaps I'm readying for a career change.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2018

    I was just telling my family today the same thing. I'm bummed out about it. Usually I have some excitement about going back but it's not there for me this year. I'm still burned out from last year - the testing, the behavior, the curriculum demands. Especially the testing.

    For me, I'm trying to not think about school as much as possible until we go back. It's good to take a break from thinking about teaching. Also, I'll be working towards simplifying procedures and grading so I'm not making things unintentionally more complicated as the year starts.
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 18, 2018

    This is what I was going to suggest. It sounds like you need a real break to recharge, and continuing to plan and stress throughout the summer isn't going to achieve that. I honestly think taking a break will serve you better stress wise than trying to "get ahead" for next school year.
     
  6. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Jul 19, 2018

    I'm having a similar feeling and this past year was by far my easiest group of kids so I can't say they drained me physically or emotionally. I feel it might be because my teaching battery gets recharged when I see my students getting excited about learning and this just did not happen very often last year so the year wasn't fulfilling for me and my battery remains low. The year before that I had a tough group with a lot of behaviors, but they all got very excited by the curriculum so I enjoyed teaching them a lot more. I'm hoping that is what explains it for me, but I also wonder going into my 5th year if this is all starting to become routine and repetitive for me and I need to take on a new grade or new career path. I hope it's the former and I get a more curious bunch this year because I'm not yet ready to switch grades. I usually enjoy the anticipation of an upcoming school year and getting things ready, but not this time around. I can't bring myself to do anything work related.
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2018

    I agree with not thinking about school until you need to. I have a lengthy school-related summer to-do list that I created in May. I haven't touched it yet. I officially go back to work three weeks from yesterday and, unofficially, sooner. Try to rest, relax, exercise, hang out with friends and family, watch tv, read a book for fun - whatever you have to do to get you mind off of school. Don't think about it until you need to.
     
  8. txbelle

    txbelle Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2018

    I'm currently in the I-can't-wait-to-start-teaching phase since I'm student teaching in the fall. I'm curious if most teachers get the "seven year itch" after however many years? Are there ways to avoid it? Does the dread of summer ending fade as the excitement of the new school year is in full swing?

    Lei, I hope you are able to relax and recharge before the school year starts. :)
     
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  9. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2018

    Relax... I am coming off a great year, but I already know that next year will be extremely challenging. Therefore, I am taking the summer to take care of myself and my family. I will start getting back into the school mode in mid to late August, but until then, I am working to recharge.
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2018

    I don't know that there is really a "seven year itch". I think it varies by teacher... I've had a fourth year itch, a fifth year itch, a sixth year itch, and an eighth year itch. Truthfully, I think we all go through some sort of cycle throughout the year. Here are a few articles or blog posts that all reference the same cycle. I wasn't aware that this cycle was a "thing" when I first started teaching, but my experience has definitely mirrored this cycle nearly every single one of my eight years of teaching. I think it helps to know that it's coming... So don't let it worry you, but go into your first year with a sense of awareness, and know that what you'll experience is totally normal.

    http://weac.org/articles/new-teacher-handbook/phases/
    http://alwaysalesson.com/blog/the-teacher-emotional-cycle-with-coaching/
    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/co...8/the_first-year_teaching_roller_coaster.html
    https://www.matthewboomhower.com/home/the-emotional-stages-of-a-teachers-career
     
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  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2018

    The beginning of a day, week, project, a school year, or anything can be really rough. Many authors who love to write say how they hate beginning a new book. So dreading beginning a new school year might be something emotionally difficult--I get it.

    I would list 3 things you really like about teaching and 3 things you don't. I find focusing on what I really enjoy helps. They might be things such as being able to have the classroom decorated the way you want. Being able to do a favorite project with the students, inspiring the students, connecting with students, working with a favorite teacher at school, or some other thing.

    For curriculum planning, I find that when I can have a cup of coffee and sit and reflect and dream of great lessons that fit with curriculum that helps. There is another teacher that inspires me that I also plan with. Some other teachers I avoid because they bring me down.

    I try to let the things I love about teaching fill me with the energy I need to deal with the things that I don't enjoy about teaching. Then I have the energy to make teaching enjoyable for the students and myself.
     
  12. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2018

    I worked in low-performing school districts for most of my career where what you describe was pretty much the norm. The stress of having to deal with challenging students, inept administrators, textbooks that don't address students' academic needs and unrealistic administrative demands that have no relevance to student achievement can take a heavy toll on teachers. These same factors that all contribute to teacher burn-out are what cause low-performing districts to remain low-performing.

    My strategy for countering my waning excitement and enthusiasm for teaching was to focus on ways to energize my students to want to learn. I worked on finding a way to restore my underachieving students' curiosity and sense of purpose. In the end, it was my success in bridging the gap between theory and practice and use of technology that saved the day! Fortunately for me, my administrators who were appeased with the occasional dog and pony show, didn't really care what we did in the classroom - this was my green light to experiment and innovate new methods for instruction which resulted in a win-win situation!
     
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  13. txbelle

    txbelle Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2018

    These were really great articles! Thanks for sharing. I really liked the last one and his humorous writing style. I too aim to be "champion teacher of the world" haha...in reality, I will totally settle for being one of the good ones. :D
     
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  14. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Jul 19, 2018

    I'm entering my 7th year, but I ask to teach a new course every 2-3 years so it remains fresh and exciting. For those of you who feel worn, perhaps a change of course (for HS) or grade level (for elementary) may be what some of you are looking for to reinvorgate your love of teaching?
     
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  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2018

    That, or even changing schools altogether.
     
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  16. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Anything is worth trying, if you dread going to work.
     
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 19, 2018

    My school has been open for nearly 25 years. We have 8-10 teachers who have taught the same grade-level in the same room the entire time! It’s mind-boggling to me, but I guess it works for them.
     
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  18. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    I think this helps explain why you're always so positive and upbeat! Unfortunately, your school is one of the exceptions to the rule. I would predict if you stay put, you'll have an excellent chance at becoming the school's next principal when the time comes.:)
     
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  19. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    Jul 20, 2018

    I am glad I am not the only one!

    I thought I was getting a new position, but those plans never came to fruition. When thinking about next year there are things I am excited about, but I have moments where I am very disappointed that I will be back in my same position.

    I decided to take a month with staying away from school and school related things as much as possible. I used to do this when I first started teaching, but have not done that at all the past several years. I am hoping that will help recharge me.
     
  20. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Jul 20, 2018

    I had a principal who encouraged everyone to make a change every five years. Either grade level or school site. The reality is that something will probably change for you within that time so you're not really repeating things even if you're entrenched. My district seems to buy new curriculums whenever a salesperson shows up. Changes in admin also happen and that can make things better or worse.
     
  21. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    Me either. Live for the weekend.
     
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  22. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    Jul 21, 2018

    Yeah, I think the way my district/admin handles things is also a BIG factor as to why I'm not feeling it this year. They expect 120% effort from the teachers, but they offer very little help outside what they are obligated to give. And I had heard from quite a few people about the inner workings of the district and one teacher even went as far as to call the superintendent a moron....and this was even before I got hired as a FT teacher! So now that I've experienced it first-hand, I'm starting to see all the red flags. Plus, I feel stiffled creatively because we have so many MANDATED things that we are told we MUST be teaching. Frankly, it sucks all the fun out of it.

    I'm going to do what I can do, and not even look at any Back to School stuff until August. Hopefully, I will be able to shake this feeling and move on.
     
  23. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    You're right about one thing - it sucks all the fun out of it! The more toxic the workplace, the more I retreated into my own world, keeping a low profile, just doing the bare minimum and not trusting ANYONE. If it turns out that you were hired by a truly dysfunctional district, you may have to stick it out for a couple of years before attempting to find work elsewhere. In the meantime, try to connect with a few good people on your staff for morale support. Enjoy the rest of your summer as much as possible.
     
  24. TXforever

    TXforever Companion

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    Jul 26, 2018

    I’m in the same boat, year 12 for me. I’m moving to a different grade level and every time I even start to think about school stuff, I get depressed and anxious. When I get like that, it’s hard for me to focus.

    So, I don’t get any school stuff done, even though I need to. This leads to even more anxiety because I’m afraid of starting the year behind the eight ball, which leads to more anxiety and inability to focus. It’s like a vicious cycle that always ends with me wanting to have a bawling fit in the bathroom, but I know my three-year-old would never allow it, lol.
     
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  25. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 1, 2018

    Make "baby step" goals for yourself to get back into things. It is August 1st now and I have to REALLY get started on what I'm supposed to be doing this upcoming school year (and I am too dreading this year - so many changes in faculty and I'm maybe starting to look at other schools since we want to move out of state).

    Today... I'm going to work on ONE 3rd grade unit (that I taught last year but want to create/update student packets, assessments, and my curriculum map). Not going to worry about how my inbox is already overflowing with emails, or how I'm pretty sure my P will be emailing us today to get us started (we don't go back until the week before Labor Day), or how I'm coaching tennis in a few weeks (I've never played tennis before).

    Baby... itty bitty... steps :)
     
  26. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 1, 2018

    ME TOO! Yesterday I sat down to start working and then I noticed my coffee cup was empty... filled it up. Oh I really should get the laundry going since I need to do 2 loads of my stuff... and I promised hubby I'd run to the store and pick up some things for dinner. Now my coffee is cold, gotta reheat it, and I'm hot so I'm going to sit and watch TV while I drink my coffee. BOOM... 4pm and hubby will be home in 3 hours. Total avoidance of what I need to actually be doing. Oh wells...

    So I need to get started today... but I am noticing that my coffee cup is below the half way line... maybe I need a refill first ;):confused:

    If anything, this avoidance that we do as teachers shows me what some of my students are going through. I will openly talk to them about this in class and how they can work through the anxiety, fear, and stress in order to help themselves to be able to simple sit down and pick a task to start on. If it is hard for adults to do, no way are kids going to understand and learn how to cope with it too.
     
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  27. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    This summer, I designated 1 afternoon per week for school work. I gather all my materials and I LEAVE MY HOUSE. I either go to a local coffee shop or park (depending on what I’m working on). I have been so productive because I can’t work on those other house projects that seem super important every time I sit down to do school. Not sure if this is feasible for you (I don’t have any kids) but it might be worth trying.
     
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  28. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    It would be very feasible for me to do something like that, but I find that when I'm out in public I get much more distracted by all of the sounds and people than when I'm home. I'm actually 3 hours into lesson planning and almost have 1 unit finished - mainly working on the curriculum map part and writing individual lessons.

    I have a workspace in my bedroom, but it tends to get covered with other stuff: binders, paper work I need to shred or put away, clothes. Mentality it is the only spot I can do real work. I have to do go through certain steps before I can settle down: get dressed, get a fresh cup of coffee, turn on all of the lights in the room, clean off my desk, take out what I need, etc - if I don't do those steps I can't get started. It works if I can just get myself settled down into my area.

    I have gone to the library before to grade projects that I had to turn back the next day though and hubby was home. I know when he's around nothing will get done :) He can work on something with music blasting, tons of stuff going on around him, and a complete mess around his workspace. I'm the total opposite: quiet, neat, organized. I hope any future children we may have will take after me ;)
     
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  29. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Having majored in entomology, I often dreamed about teaching science to elementary students. While in college I taught an after-school entomology class to a group of GATE students and had a blast. I'm surprised that you have to spend so much time planning lessons with so much available on the internet. It sounds like you don't have a commercial science program that already includes lessons, pacing chart and other useful resources. Are you doing everything from scratch?
     
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  30. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    My private school just hired a new, young CEO (in his mid 30’s) about two months again and I was apprehensive at first because I don’t like unknowns where my work is concerned. I am happy to say he is absolutely fantastic and everything I could have hoped for.

    I could not imagine working under an unruly administrator... I’ve been extremely lucky so far in that I’ve had very supportive and nice admin and it is my hope that my luck continues for years to come. The good news is that my superiors are all in their 30’s and 40’s and have been with the school for a decade or more each, and they all plan stay for the long term (that is, until retirement). This means I’m in the clear for at least a couple decades. Phew!
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  31. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    For those who have been there, "unruly" doesn't begin to describe what some of us have witnessed. Imagine having a principal who has no hesitation chewing out teachers in meetings to the point of bringing them to tears. My last principal made both of my instructional aides cry by harshly scolding them for going above and beyond their job descriptions helping students in situations where no other staff members were available (she wasn't even present during the alleged incidents). Among other things, she also accused me of continuing to teach a lesson despite blaring emergency horns during a school-wide drill / lock-down to prepare for an armed intruder on campus - there were several district observers, none whom could verify her preposterous allegation. How about an assistant principal in the largest middle school (1,000+) in an urban district who would routinely run off to neighboring cities to sell houses? He would leave a sweater on the back of his desk chair to give the impression that he was just away from his desk (far away!). Unfortunately, this realtor/administrator also served as my on-site supervisor in an admin. credential program. Young or old don't make any difference to me!
     
  32. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I would have filed a formal complaint about your principal with the district office. I, for one, would not stand such abuses and would document each occurrence and get witnesses to corroborate the story. Absolutely ridiculous!
     
  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    To clarify, age doesn’t matter to me, either, and says nothing about someone’s qualifications. I am happy that they are still younger because it gives me a cushion in terms of how long I have until the next replacement comes along based on the numbers.

    To provide some context: The admin at my school are all compensated extremely well (VP’s make $115,000, P makes $150,000, and the CEO makes $210,000 — these all stay fixed year to year, but they are due to rise because of the rising minimum wage in CA) and we have like a 97% retention rate with faculty because the board members that govern the school know staff are more likely to stay if they are happy AND are paid well. Imagine that.
     
  34. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    You obviously have not worked in one of the many dysfunctional districts where such goings-on occur every day with the knowledge of district office administrators. Formal complaints in these settings have little effect other than to blacklist the whistleblower! I was once told that every administrative position in our school system is a political one. School administrators - like those in other professions - learn to use their political connections and power of persuasion (e.g. boasting of one's achievements) for personal gain, mainly in terms of high salaries and well-padded benefits and retirement packages. I would submit that the politics of private schools have more differences than similarities to that of public schools.
     
  35. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    They are similar in some ways and different in others. However, it sounds as if some of what your past administrators do/did verges/verged on illegal.
     
  36. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Now you know why it is that I often have a negative view of school administrators (not you)! The same ol', same ol' in three different districts and fifteen schools across the spectrum. Been There
     
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  37. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Understood. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but it’s experiences like these that make me so cynical.
     
  38. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Healthy cynicism based on one's experiences is not all bad, IMO. I have to add a couple more anecdotes with which to frame my negative comments. Evaluations are highly important to most teachers (and administrators for that matter). So, imagine preparing for your biennial eval. with a fantastic lesson only to have your principal fall asleep less than halfway through it! Or imagine a principal who was too busy to fulfill his obligation to observe a teacher in the classroom for an eval., ended up not doing it at all and wrote up a fake report - this political individual went on to become the district's personnel director/assistant superintendent, second in command and salary only to the superintendent.
     
  39. RaiderFan87

    RaiderFan87 Rookie

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    It's unfortunate that you're always so Eeyore-like, Been There! :(
     
  40. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    I love to respond to these snarky one-liners from people who all seem to have the same splintered plank in their eyes. I'm flattered that you would compare me with one of your favorite childrens' cartoon characters - as if I should be familiar with Winnie-the-Pooh. (I would have preferred to have been compared to a Shakespearean character.) I should remind you that it's your prerogative to you view my posts as being gloomy and pessimistic or insightful and informative. An open mind and willingness to learn are prerequisites for the latter to occur. FYI, my comments are never fabricated nor exaggerated and are intended to share my extensive experiences (both positive and negative) with members for the purpose of providing a broad view of the many challenges that teachers face every day. In fact, many of my posts are written to inspire and motivate teachers who are at their wit's end. I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me nor I with them, but the fact that I have received so many "likes" suggests that my comments have some constructive merit. To be consistent, you probably should be equally critical of the OP's original comments that are somewhat negative. May I suggest that if you really don't like what someone has written, why not just skip reading it and move on, instead of throwing an immature spitball. BTW, you're not the first one to do so, though yours is somewhat small in comparison.

    It's refreshing to see a relative newcomer like RaiderFan already so aware of his free speech rights on this forum which is also a hallmark of our great country - now if he would only extend that right to others without prejudice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  41. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Yes, a lot of my lessons are from scratch or I blend resources together (and I don't think that is a bad thing - I'm a professional and my school wants my expertise with creating lessons - not just teaching them). I'm just that way with being a teacher. I don't want to buy into a system and be stuck with it - even though my private school has the funding for big programs. I've found that they are often lacking with providing interesting activities or lessons for my weaker/stronger kids and the pacing guide never seems to work for my students. I will buy FOSS kits and I have online science sites that my students access that are paid for, but I don't really follow things step-by-step.

    The other issue is that I know what I'm teaching, but since it is a blend of resources, nothing is officially written down. My husband and I are talking about moving out of state and unless I'm right on the border, I don't think I would be able to survive the commute. So it means that this year I have to put everything in writing in case I do have to leave my school (I don't want to but... that's life). I'm typing every lesson out - step-by-step - and editing all of my resources and uploading them to our curriculum mapping site. I'm talking about a full lesson plan, any hand-outs, all of the assessments, and additional ebooks, games, etc that I've created or found for a lesson as additional resources. That way if I have to share that I'm officially leaving my P won't have a heart attack and I won't be stressed out trying to finish up everything by the first week of June.

    My P is also requiring that over this summer that we schedule out all our lessons and hand in a calendar with that information to her by our first August in-service day. It is fine if we don't stick to the schedule perfectly but she wants us to have a plan of what we are doing when.

    Ideally I'm trying to just get the first unit for each grade finished before I start coaching in mid-August. I was going to try to every unit before then, but I don't think I'll have enough time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018

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