Holy moly. 8 days down already! So much to write about, but since I promised I'd post about Day 1, I'll start there and save the rest for another day!
Before you can fully appreciate the craziness of the first day (week!?) of school, you need a little background. At the end of last school year, we found out our school was going to have new air conditioning units installed in every room and our roof replaced. As we found out later, we did get new air conditioners, but while installing them, the workers came across a pretty serious case of asbestos. All progress on the A/Cs got put on hold and a substantial amount of time was taken to clear all the mold and make sure the school was safe. Needless to say, things did NOT turn out as scheduled and exactly one week before the first day of school we were given the go-ahead to get in our rooms and start setting up. Now, this may seem like a lot of time to some of you non-teachers, but you need to remember that during this week there was a) a weekend, b) scheduled meetings to attend, c) construction workers/electricians/technology workers swarming the building and running in and out of rooms, setting up ladders all over the place, and making a big mess all over! Additionally, because of all the construction, all of our rooms had an extra layer of dust on them, no SmartBoards installed, open wires poking out of walls, etc., and no new roof that we were promised. :)
But, as they say, "whatever doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger" and that's what happened. Our school staff pulled together to make the building look beautiful for opening day (along with some WONDERFUL friends who came in and lent a hand in my room!). I'm beginning to think that a "normal" classroom set-up may never exist for me... First Year= craziness because it was my first year, Second Year= changed classrooms a week before school started, Third Year= this!
All that to say, it was a stressful start to the school year and when I showed up on day 1 things were a little hectic. I had a to-do list that stretched from here to the moon and no time to do it! My first clue that it would be an interesting day (as if I didn't know upon arriving!) was when a mother and son walked to my room at 8:15 (kids aren't supposed to come until 8:45!) and she let me know that he was new to Palmer and the office had just told her he was placed in my room. This brought my student total up to 26. Oh boy. It actually turned out to be a blessing (at the time!), because I was able to put him to work with a few last minute tasks (taping down name tags, passing out papers, etc) while I focused on some other issues. Somewhere during the next 30 minutes, I gave myself a paper cut (a bad one requiring a tight band-aid!), made some copies, re-confirmed that there were no working printers or internet at the school and got another new student. Oh yeah... and met with the Assistant for my Visually Impaired student and got a "Brailling Machine 101" lesson.
The rest of the kids started to come down around 8:45. For future reference, if any students show up in your room not knowing which class they're in, DON'T volunteer to take him or her to ask the principal unless you're looking to up your numbers. That's right, now we were at 27. By 9:15 all the busses had arrived and the cafeteria was empty so we got started with the day. Only 3 of the kids on the roster didn't show, so the room is definitely full! (Side note: They didn't show at all during the first 8 days, so have officially been taken off my roster. I did get another new girl on day 3, so I'm sitting at 25 students right now. It's a big class for me, but it's definitely manageable and I'm not complaining since I know other teachers with more!)
I'm not sure how many times I said the words "rules" and "respect" and "Wacek" on that day, but it was worth it, I'm sure! :) The day went quite seamlessly, except for my BRAND NEW A/C going out at lunchtime and us all sweating our ways through the afternoon. We played lots of the corny little "get to know you" games that everyone loves and sent the little angels on the way!