Friday, August 18, 2006

Back to School

This week it was "back to school" for me. After a summer of transit driving, dispatching, and the wearing of many hats, I was looking forward to getting back into the classroom. I was a bit apprehensive because not only were we getting a new principal and assistant principal, we were getting a new "special education" staff. I was uneasy about how our routines would be changed. But I needed not have worried. The new administration is caring and proactive, which is a big change for all of us. They are believers in "gentle, but firm" dicipline, and are very much available and visible to us all. The new "special ed" leaders are great! They are full of new, innovative ideas and eager to hear our input and willing to listen.
But the real icing on the cake is the students. They are amazing! I am working primarily with 7th graders, but have two classes of 6th graders, too. The sixth grade students are so eager. They seem enthralled with each new thing the lead teacher and I try in the classroom. Hands are shooting up with eagerness and the smiles I am seeing on their faces just makes the whole classroom experience worth all the effort we as teachers put into our jobs.
Much the same thing is happening with my 7th graders. They come to our classes prepared to learn and seem to be challenging us to teach them. Of course, we always have a few who like to create havoc within the classroom, but both the lead teacher and I have already warned them that we do not intend to put up with their "crap" and expect them to act their age and grade level. So far it is working. This afternoon I walked the 8th grade hallway, curiously observing the students I worked with last year. I saw amazing things happening in the classroom as I slowly (on purpose) strolled by each door. It seems like a magic cloud has decended on our school. At first I could not put a finger on just what is happening, but today it finally hit me. Our staff is more caring and relaxed than they have been in several years. The last two years were pure hell for all of us. Our principal had a monster ego, which in turn, made him into a monster! He was the final and only "word" and we all felt like we were under a microscope. He was more of a dictator than an administrator, and created an animosity that prevailed within the school, reflecting not only on the faculty and staff, but had to be affecting the students as well.
Isn't it strange how one person can either make or break a system, whether it is education, or business. We are all so lucky to have new people at the helm who care and want the best for our kids. It makes it fun to go to work. I no longer dread hearing the alarm go off in the mornings, for I know I will encounter smiles from my students and encouraging words from my peers. GO US!!!

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