Thursday, August 12, 2010

It Only Took Twenty Years

When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school,
It's a wonder I can think at all.
And though my lack of education hasn't hurt me none,
I can read the writing on the wall.
--Paul Simon, "Kodachrome"

The school stuff (after just a few days) is already catching up with me. Thus my silence this past week. But, I've got my room set up, I've figured out how to get from the car to my room in a direct manner, I can find a bathroom (when I need one), the main office (and my mailbox), the commons, my department offices, the auditorium, and the media center. I haven't visited the second or third floor, but I might wander up there tomorrow. Needless to say, I am doing what I need to do to be ready for next week. Except for actually planning my classes, but anyway....

I am teaching in a new school this year. After three years at my old school, budget constraints forced them to cut my position. Lucky for me, I landed a new job in the same district. So, I have plenty of familiar things to make the transition easier to negotiate. I don't want you to think that this is going to be an easy change for me, but, the more I think on it, the more I figure that it's really not change, so much as it is the continuation of a life trend that began a long time ago.

The biggest change, at least this week, is meeting all of my new colleagues. Having taught at two other schools with faculties of over one hundred people, I know that that may take years, and I may very well retire without meeting everyone. So far, however, so good. I, at least, know my department colleagues by sight, and I could recall all of their names, if you made me. So, you know, that's good.

Another change involves the schedule. My previous school was on a block schedule. Four ninety-minute classes a day. I taught three classes each day, with one plan period, and my class rosters changed every semester. Now, I'll be on a seven period, fifty minute, schedule, with two plan periods. I will generally keep my classes for the entire school year. Actually, this change is not a problem. Prior to moving to Lincoln, I taught a schedule just like this. I won't have much trouble re-adjusting.

Within those five classes, I have two new assignments, this year, English 9 and Composition. This will provide me with countless hours of work to do, so I am grateful for that. I know I will have plenty of assistance in preparing those classes from colleagues who currently teach (and have taught) those classes. I know from experience that teaching a new class is always a bit more stressful than teaching a course you have taught before. Of course, I haven't actually had the pleasure of teaching the same course for more than three years in a row, yet, so I really don't know what it's like to be totally comfortable with a course. I think you need a few more chances to completely screw things up before you get it down pat. Then again, maybe you never get it down pat.

Overall, I am approaching this change with calm. There will be, I am sure, moments of panic, days of doubt, episodes of worry. I may even find myself slumped in a corner at the end of a Friday or two. But, that would happen no matter what. It's teaching, after all. I will continue, as always, to go with the flow.

But I find that my adult life (and I have more than enough years on this side of the divide to call it a representative sample) totally vindicates my youthful resistance to life planning (which I know I've mentioned before). After all, how can you make a five year plan when you find yourself changing things (by choice or otherwise) every three or four years?


La Fashionista said...

I'm surprised you haven't created a label called "planning" or "life planning" as you seem to come back to this interesting topic from time to time.

I'm pulling for you, as always, and appreciate the update in the midst of all the change. Go, Reda!


ATR said...

I planned on it...I just never got around to it.

La Fashionista said...

If this were a FB comment, I'd LIKE it! ;)