Sadly summer vacation is over and it’s time to get back at it. Well only sad because summer vacation is awesome but I have to admit I’m excited to get back to school. I love my job, my colleagues, my school, my students. I’m really very fortunate.
This school year brings some changes for The Paper Graders. Mr. S is taking an adventure into school administration as our new Dean of Students. Mr. B is becoming a literacy coach for the district (for part of his day–he’ll still teach three classes). I’m excited for both of them–I think they’ll both thrive with the new challenges and will have positive impact on the students and teachers they work with.
And we will all three be presenting at NCTE as well as our state affiliate conference. See you there!
As for me–my changes this year involve what I’ve set aside for this school year. I’ve been explaining it to people like this: imagine my mind as a pie. There is only so much mind space in that pie–I cannot create more. It represents the full amount of stuff my mind can reasonably focus on in my professional world (and still remain healthy in my personal life as a great mom and wife, daughter and sister, who exercises for energy and health and eats well and takes time each week to NOT work).
Every new thing I put into that pie takes a slice of my mind space. Last school year, on top of teaching four classes, I was also teaching a secondary English teaching methods class at the university in town, editing the journal for my state’s NCTE affiliate organization, doing some literacy work/classroom visits for my school district, and teaching workshops for the Colorado Writing Project. And within my teaching world, I was advising both the yearbook and newspaper at our school–which I loved doing but those both took up pretty significant slices of my mind space.
And all along there sat some important things outside of the mind pie that I really wanted to work on that I just couldn’t fit into that mind space (and still remain healthy in my personal life as a great mom and wife, daughter and sister, who exercises for energy and health and eats well and takes time each week to NOT work).
So, I’ve removed some things from the mind pie: journal editing, university teaching, yearbook advising. The space freed up now in the mind pie I plan to fill with more frequent blogging and a classroom research project. See, I really want to fully implement the reading/writing workshop in my classroom, and there are some interesting obstacles to that full implementation that I want to work through this year. And it’s a research project; I’ll be documenting the journey and writing about it.
The changes for Mr. S and Mr. B also mean some changes for me. Office 831 is no longer Mr. S’s home base at our school. He’s literally just down the hall now, but it was definitely something helping him earlier this week to take down all of his pictures and clean out his files and box up all his books, the artifacts of 12 years in that office. There will be a new colleague in his vacated space in 831 and Mr. S’s visits to 831 will put him in the third chair. This dynamic will be interesting, but I look forward to hearing about how he will begin to see the work that we do at our school from his new vantage point in his new office. He has very wise perspective and I think he will be able to do good work for our school. And whereas Mr. B will be out of the building more frequently (and in the third chair of 831 eating his lunch and chatting about teaching and life less frequently), I look forward to the conversations with him about his new work. He’s an awesome teacher and I’m thrilled that he’ll be mentoring other teachers.
As for the new denizen of 831, I’m not sure he’s totally aware of what he’s getting himself into.