On this Labor Day, I reflect on my first week of school. I have made a lot of observations that could fill a dozen blog posts, but mostly I am just really, really tired. The first week of school was really good, but I don’t remember that first week feeling quite so long last year. Or requiring so much sleep to recover.
My new schedule throws me off a bit: due to the addition of a third lunch period, the school’s first period starts at 7:58 instead of 8. I wouldn’t have thought that would have made a difference, but it absolutely does. Last year I taught four periods, then had a 90-minute lunch/conference period, then taught two periods. I would often find myself at school from 6:45 in the morning until 5 or 6 at night. Our new English teachers seem to be keeping similar hours. I don’t remember it being very fun or very productive. Now that I am a “veteran” teacher, so to speak, this year will be different.
This year, due to having a doggie whose bladder doesn’t hold for twelve hours, I’ve been rolling into my classroom at about 7:30 and leaving by 4. While I taught six identical periods last year, my new schedule starts with a section of AP, then a 53-minute conference period, then a section of English 3: American Lit, then two sections of AP, the last of which is a fully sixty minutes long to accommodate the extra lunch (I couldn’t figure out why I kept ending early…). My lunch is exactly 30 minute from ending my 5th period to starting my 6th; twice this week I forgot to eat. I then teach 6th period American Lit, then 7th period AP. My brain can’t seem to wrap itself around which period it is, if I’ve said the same thing before, or who my students are. With schedules changing a bunch in the first few days, I’d have students walking into an afternoon class and say, “My schedule changed!” and I’d ask, “Who are you?” I think I got everyone’s name down by Friday (as long as they don’t change desks on me). My favorite was when I had a freshman march into my room in the morning and ask if she could leave her stuff here because she had me for first period. I know I was having name troubles, but I didn’t think this was my student. She insisted, I asked her name, and told her I didn’t have her for AP junior English. She looked frightened, and excused herself. I didn’t think I was intimidating, but with as many students whose names I still don’t 100% know, I don’t need extras in the mix.