Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Starting Anew

Today was freshman day here in the high schools. Ninth graders attended school without the annoyance of 1500 other sophomores and upperclassmen to interfere with their ability to find their lockers or classrooms, or figure out where the cafeteria is. It is an easy day for me. I don't have any freshmen classes, so I didn't have to be ready for even the super short classes we held today. I was responsible for supervising (along with a dozen other teachers) the class of 2012 as they viewed a presentation in the auditorium, so I did have to do some "student-focused" work today (in addition to the last minute planning, copying, etc.).

This year is leading up much less stressful than last. Obvious reasons for this include the fact that I didn't just move here this summer, so I have a higher comfort level with my surroundings in general. By the same token, I have a higher comfort level with my building, its climate and culture, and my colleagues. As well, I have more prepared from the last two semesters that I can use this year, so planning has been a bit less intense. Finally, so far, commuting by bike is making my day a little bit more fun. Hey, before I go to work, I take a ride--it really seems to lower the stress. The next few weeks will bear out the real truth of this.

Now, all of this does not mean that I am on auto-pilot. As a reflective professional, I am always reviewing and re-envisioning the way I approach the materials I have to teach. It's not a matter of simply running off the same documents I used last year, with the stale script attached, but, having been through the experience before, I obviously have a clearer idea of what I will be doing and where I will be going. This is a marked difference from last year.

Sure, I have some challenges this year: a co-taught class (I've had some good and bad experience with those in the past), a new honors class to prep for, and the ever-present overwhelming desire to improve that causes me to constantly question and try to improve my choices. This last one is an asset, certainly, but it makes for a few sleepless nights and long work days in the course of the year.

But, starting tomorrow, "the game is afoot," as a colleague framed it this morning. I say, bring it on!


Jami said...

Have a wonderful school year Tony! I miss you.

La Fashionista said...

You sound ready and grounded.

I'm happy to hear that your experience has amassed enough to help you significantly - what a good feeling. After seven years of hard work in developing an area of intern training, I have - for the first time this year - produced a syllabus that meets my standards for what it should be: excellent. It's a product of many years of continued work and refinement.

And the bike-riding is wonderful too! I've recently changed the route for my commute, and the difference in my stress level is striking. I can only imagine the influence of biking.

I hope you have a great year!