August 28, 2013

We’re now into the inservice period that occurs before school starts.  Each of us approaches it with some trepidation, not because there’s anything wrong with meetings, but because every year is like starting anew in some ways.  There are always changes, large and small (curricular, structural, physical plant, co-workers).  The biggest change is the students.  In our unit, we have students for two years, so only half the students are new each year, but the other half will change the dynamic and feel of the group.

Preparation is important.  There are decisions to be made (again, large ones and small ones), supplies to be ordered, furniture to be arranged, paper to be put on bulletin boards.  That’s in addition to faculty meetings at which big ideas are discussed, such as diversity and school policies, and where we are encouraged to get to know each other better in various ways.

I start getting antsy, however, as the inservice time continues.  If I were the kind of person who wanted to spend lots of time every day meeting with adults, I would not have gone into teaching children.  When I’m teaching, I’m a more engaged version of myself than when I’m in meetings.  In meetings I start to get distracted.  I start wondering, as my mind wanders, if I’m looking distracted, and then I start trying to make my face look more interested, and then my focus is on whether I’m succeeding in that.  With students, I’m in the moment.  I’m not wondering what I look like, or if I should enter a discussion — I’m there.  I have discovered that I am much more successful in the moment than I am at planning (though I recognize that I should work on trying to be a better planner).  It’s like we’re on “Iron Chef” and we’re as ready as we can be without yet knowing our secret ingredient — the students.  I can’t wait for them to arrive and for us all to finally start our adventure together.