Sunday, August 22, 2010

TSS: A New School Year

I have been rather silent on the blog this week.  It's not that I planned this little hiatus, but there just wasn't enough time in the week to accomplish all on my to do list.  I anticipate this same predicament over the next two weeks as I settle into a routine of teaching, grading, writing lesson plans, and updating websites for 9 different classes.  It is very easy for me to develop tunnel vision - and to think that 'I will never have to time to do anything fun again' --- but I am trying to maintain perspective.  I know that once I settle into a schedule, that I will find pockets of time to do the things that I want to do, like reading, scrapbooking, and blogging.

This week was spent giving review sessions and administering tests for the grammar pre-requisite mandated for all new students.  On Tuesday I had 18 students take the test, of which about one-third passed.  On Wednesday we had teacher meetings that lasted from 8:30 to 3:30.  While I love the in-service topics and the opportunity to become reacquainted with colleagues, it does make for a mentally exhausting day.  On Thursday I spent from 9:00 - 3:00 setting up my classroom (YES -- I actually have a classroom with a window this year, rather than the chapel which was nicknamed "the cave" by students due to do its dark, cavernous environment).  I returned to school Thursday night for the Open House which lasted until about 9:30.  Many families came - which is always a positive sign - but again, it was a physically and mentally draining evening.  Friday was spent making necessary copies for the first day of school and finalizing lesson plans for the first week.  I also decided that I would do the bi-monthly Walmart and Sam's Club shopping before life became too chaotic.  Now I can at least rest in the fact that we do have food and toilet paper in the house.

Many of you were quite encouraging about the school's declining enrollment situation.  In July I shared that numbers were low and it appeared that despite the fact that I added two classes to my schedule, I was actually going to experience a dramatic cut in pay.  I am very pleased to report that while the final numbers are not yet tallied, it does appear that my class sizes will generate a salary very close to what I earned last year.  This is truly an answer to prayer.

My personal goal this academic year is to "work smarter, not harder"  As I shared before, I am prone to tunnel vision, which manifests itself into workaholic tendencies.  While there is a certain amount of preparation  that I MUST complete in order to be an effective teacher, I also know that I have gone overboard on more than one occasion, at the sacrifice of my personal life.  I have investigated the concept of Holistic Grading this summer, and I think this will aid me in this pursuit.  This is  the one area of teaching English that I truly loathe - giving a quantitative grade to written assignments.  I enjoy reading the students' work, just not grading it.  Hopefully this will help me reduce the stress of this aspect of my job.

Another way that I hope to accomplish the goal of "working smarter" is that I have enlisted the help of two stellar students to act as my teaching aids during 2nd and 6th hours.  While delegation is a personal weakness, I have decided that I must hone this skill if I truly desire to have more free time.  It may take me a while to learn to let go of some of the control - and to learn to manage others' time - but I am committed to making this work.

So this is a summary of how I plan to spend the remaining days of August.  I will probably not have as much free time as I would like to update my blog - or to visit your sites - but please bear with me.  I am committed to developing a schedule that allows me to be efficient, responsible, and happy --- and that definitely includes participation in the book blogging world.

11 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I'm sure you'll settle in quickly. I totally understand your control issues because I'm the same way. I have been learning to let go of some control here lately, but it's not easy! We'll be here when you have time to get to your blog.

C.B. James said...

Best of luck with the new school year. I start tomorrow as well.

readerbuzz said...

I start tomorrow as well. "Smarter, not harder." Good words to think about.

Liz said...

This all sounds really good, Molly! Fun to hear how this week went. Hope you're able to spend part of today relaxing a little. Looking forward to your next update, whenever that will be:)

Sandy Nawrot said...

You are a woman on a mission! I wish you luck, and when you figure it all out (and I know you will) you should honestly bottle it and sell it, because I think the average person just drowns in the tedium. Good luck next week! It is going to be a great year!

Kay said...

Molly, you are amazing! I'm really pleased to hear about your answer to prayer regarding your salary. That is wonderful. I know that you will have a great year.

Control issues - yup, me too! It's hard isn't it to let go and trust. Things will be OK though and I applaud your efforts to carve our some time for you. I think you will be feel better for it. Your summer seems to have been one of much introspection and I think you are going to see great things out of it.

Hugs and good luck tomorrow!!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I must say that the "work smarter, not harder" philosophy is one that I still haven't quite mastered, and I do hope you can send me some nuggets of wisdom my way! I need it! :)

Patti Lacy said...

May God settle ye in, now.
And sure I'll be patient with ye.
I love this place!
Blessings,
Patti

Lisa said...

Glad to hear the pay situation is resolving itself. Best of luck as you kick off the year!

lifeonthecutoff said...

I look forward to your posts whenever they find the page, Molly. New rhythms in life - and always to a teacher as each school year starts. Best wishes (and glad your wages will remain somewhat constant).

Kathleen said...

Here's hoping you are able to settle into the school year routine without too much angst. It must be hard to give up summer and start back to school. I'm glad to hear that your class enrollment sorted itself out and as always I look forward to hearing updates about what you are working on with your students.

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