Steven and I both had to go back to school this week. The first week of school can be the most stressful week of the year for a teacher. Though I was not setting up a classroom this year, by Friday my brain was exploding and my anxiety level was high. Here’s a run-down of the week:
Monday – My first official EL (English Learners – aka ELL, ESL, ESOL) team meeting with all the EL Consultants, Specialists, and Coordinators. I say “all” but really there are only fourteen of us altogether. I found out my cluster assignments, and I got the clusters I wanted! Afterwards, picked up kids from the babysitter and cooked baked ziti for supper. Organized my EL Consultant binder.
Tuesday – Second EL team meeting. In the afternoon, I went to visit my home base school. When I introduced myself to the principal, he said, “Oh, you’re the one I’m supposed to be finding a place for, right?” Great. I was hoping to at least have a desk and a phone ready for me. Actually I was hoping to have a small office with a large storage closet and some bookshelves for all my teacher stuff that is still in the back of my van! What I get is a desk shoved into the corner of the fourth grade teacher workroom. Right under the computer server. Neither the desk nor the phone were there on Tuesday. Promises were made to get them in the workroom. Picked up the kids, went to their Back to School Bash and met their teachers. Came home and had frozen pizzas for supper. (Not frozen when we ate them. Obviously.) Caught up on work email after kids went to bed.
Wednesday – Madeleine’s first day of first grade! Daddy took her to school, while I took Ephraim across town to a different babysitter’s house, then into Nashville for more inservice. Fairly high-brain-use day with the EL folks. Got trained on how to do our “EL 101” presentation. Picked up both kids. Had frozen pizzas for supper. Again. Work email. Again.
Thursday – Ephraim’s first day of K4. I drove through Starbucks on the way in to work. (Sign of increasing stress level.) Spent the day learning about the psycho teacher evaluation system that TN has adopted. Seriously. It’s a rubric from 1-5, and you have to get 4’s and 5’s for two years in a row to get tenured now. And it’s like impossible to do all the things 4s and 5s require in one lesson!!! Fortunately I am already tenured, but still. I will be evaluated with it – meaning that I will have to find a teacher who’ll let me teach a few lessons to her students. They are raising the bar big time. I know in my head that this is a good thing. But my morale was really low at the end of the day. Picked up the kids. Had cereal for supper. Caught up on work emails. Already had EL coaching requests!
Friday – I started out at my home base school so I could introduce myself to the faculty. Oh – no desk. No phone. No anything. Teacher stuff still in back of van. Then I drove to the EL Office to pick up my work laptop. They were out. Two laptops evidently are not back from IT yet. (At least I get reimbursed for mileage.) Drove back to home base school and sat in on brain-explosion-inducing evaluation training for the second time. Then visited another of my schools and sat in on it for the third time. Briefly introduced myself to faculty. Visited a third school – my school from last year – and enjoyed seeing everybody again. Spent two hours talking with EL teachers there. Picked up the kids and came home. My in-laws came and got the kids to spend the night. Enjoyed quiet evening catching up on TV shows I’d DVR’d. And getting my work calendar for next week ready. And checking work email.