what i learned: week #1 of takeover

Monday, March 4, 2013

My first week of takeover (aka: full responsibility of all subjects' lesson planning, grading, homework folders, etc.) has finished - finally! It was a great learning experience, but a very longgg week. 

There are lots of different things that I learned throughout this week. Let me share a few with you:

1. Make your copies the night before. Seriously people, I cannot stress this enough. I had a craptastic day on Thursday and the icing on my cake was when I realized my copies did not go through the machine as I originally mapped out in my head and I wanted to cry and throw up at the same time. Just don't do it.

2. Always position yourself when working with a group in centers so everyone is visible. My first try at leveled reading centers (something I'm doing, not that I previously saw so I had zero idea how to do this, and neither did the students), and I decided to sit on the floor with them. One group was totally blocked from my view...not good. Nothing bad happened and they were relatively on task, but I moved them before anything could go wrong. Lesson learned - clean off my table tomorrow morning before our reading groups.

3. Pace yourself. Last week, I burned myself out on Thursday. I was a hot, miserable mess. According to other student teachers, I kept my appearance together well, but I did not feel like I looked. I learned it's okay to not be 110% every single stinkin' day. By Friday, I had a little girl ask me why their Friday folders didn't have all of their worksheets and papers from the week in them. "Because I didn't grade all of them, and next Friday, you'll have a nice, chunky folder to take home. Okay?" That was good enough for her, and good enough for me, too.

4. Let yourself laugh, and then cry. I sat in our weekly UNLV seminar with other student teachers from our school, and twice I started to laugh and would just lose it crying. I hid it (of course) but I was an emotional mess. It was a good lesson for me to learn that I'm going to get ridiculously overwhelmed, and I don't have to have it together all the time. I'm going to laugh during my career, and I'm going to cry. Sometimes, I just kill two birds with one stone and do it at the same time.

5. Keep all of the artwork your students make you. This was not my idea! A fifth grade student teacher across the hall from me told me this piece of advice, which was shared with her from her mother (a teacher). After learning how to work the binding machine, I'm considering making a book of all the pieces of artwork my kids have made me this semester, including the little notes they write and leave on my desk. I love it. I love my misspelled last name, "Gerrett" (because first graders learn first that the /e/ makes the "er" sound, later comes "ar") and the notes that say, "You are my BFF". Precious. Stinkin' precious. 

I allowed myself a day off this weekend, to clean and have a girls night. I took the dogs on a long walk around a lake with my girlfriend and her two Bostons. I cleaned and had girls over for s'mores and wine by a campfire in the backyard. I let myself lesson plan on the patio in the sun for a couple of subjects, before it got too windy and sent the dogs and I inside. I shared the last drops of my sweet tea with the dogs (they love starbucks and sweet tea - are they mine or what??) and they tried to drink from the straw. 

I had to let myself have a relaxing weekend while still getting a lot accomplished. It was out of necessity, for my sanity.


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