Saturday, August 26, 2006

Getting Ready for the Year

Wednesday I finished my grad school classes for the summer. Yippee! Only 19 days until classes start again.

I still haven't had time to really work on stuff for my classroom. I did spend most of today working on a packet that I am going to present to new TFA teachers going into Region 5. A group of about ten corps members who just completed their first year got together and thought about what they wished they had know or had explained to them about Region 5 expectations. (It really is a crazy region). We came up with the idea of a packet detailing all of the logistics about the classroom environment, portfolios, exit projects, report cards, basically everything we were just expected to know (without being told). Everyone wrote a part of the packet and then another teacher and I synthesized all of the information into one packet. Tuesday evening were having a gathering at the Brownsville Heritage House where we are going to present the information. Also, the director of the Heritage House is going to talk about the history of the community, the people who live there, the cultural heritage, etc. The first time you step into Brownsville you can get a bit of culture shock. The director said she wanted to let all of the new teachers know things about the community beyond what is reported on in the news everyday. That is true. I told her though that honestly, all of these teachers are from all over the country (not from here) so they most likely don't even know anything about Brownsville (good or bad) at this point. The walk from the subway to their school interview is all they know. And as I said, that can be a very new (and shocking) experience for most. So, I think this event will be really great.

Tomorrow I'm presenting another packet that I wrote (all alone this time) on how to be an ESL coordinator. Many of the new ESL teachers are the only ones in their buildings. In NYC there is so much paper work and so many reports involved with ESL that it can be really confusing if you don't have anyone to explain it to you. My administration last year certainly didn't have any clue as to what I was supposed to do. For the entire first week they kept saying they were going to give me a class list only to find out later that I had to check cumulative records and test scores and administer an entrance exam to find out which students were mine. Hopefully by giving them this information up front the new teachers will be able to speed up the whole process and start TEACHING sooner.

After the meeting in the afternoon I'm going to the teacher store. And then, seriously, I am going to start planning everything that I need to do for September and beyond.

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