When I was growing up, I had no idea what teachers had to do for their jobs. In fact, I kind of just thought they showed up, had fun with kids, and graded spelling tests in their spare time. Really? That’s it? I could totally do that in my sleep. Right? Right.
Seeing as I also thought most teachers lived at school and didn’t have a life outside of it (do you ever remember seeing teachers outside of the building? Weeeeiiird!), they had to be doing more than that. There was no way they could possibly fill their time doing only menial tasks.
So, I figured I would be as good of a teacher as anyone else could be! Um, I don’t know what I was thinking but it’s kind of hard work. Like, for real — and can I be perfectly honest in telling you I never really “got it” until my student teaching? Trying to get 21 different personalities and learning styles/abilities to all mesh well into one class is pretty difficult. Not to mention behavior problems.. oh, and actually teaching them stuff so they’ll be smart cookies.
The start of a new school year is always like a new beginning. I was always so excited to go back to school (nerd alert!), and guess what! As a teacher, I am still excited for the start of a new school year. I swear it has nothing to do with getting new school clothes (okay, maybe a little bit). But have you ever wondered what teachers have to do before the start of a new school year? Here’s a few:
1. Write Postcards — The second I get my class list, I start writing “Welcome to 5th Grade” postcards to each one of my students. The day the class lists are posted, I mail them to my students. This (usually) helps them to get more excited about going back to school, being in my class, etc. Nothing like starting off on a positive note!
2. Label Everything — Like seriously, everything. Lockers, folders, desks, popsicle sticks (for pulling out of a cup when I want to randomly call on people), grade books, homework incentive charts… the list can go on and on for days. The funny thing is that I have my class list memorized alphabetically before the first day of school even arrives. While my hand hurts, my life is a little bit easier.
3. Update files from the previous year — There is no way I want to send home a letter to parents with the “2010-2011” school year on it for the “2011-2012” school year! I have to go through all of my computer files to update the ones I need right away. I also have to update my Microsoft Outlook with my class parents’ emails (to email them all about how awesome their kid is!), and update my grade book from the previous year.
4. Decorate Classroom — While I (finally) did not have to switch schools or classrooms this year, at the end of the year, we really have to take down the majority of our decorations so cleaning/painting/summer stuff can occur for the custodial staff. I also think of new bulletin boards/posters I want to hang in my room over the summer, so each year my room looks a little bit different. Not to mention I have a problem with re-arranging furniture.
5. Gab with Other Teachers — It’s not just a rumor… teachers really like to talk. Most of the time, I don’t get to see my co-workers for almost three months, so it’s fun to stand around, catch up, and talk about what happened over the summer!
Of course there are many other things teachers have to do to get ready for the school year, but those are my top priorities before the kids arrive! Everything else is just a minor detail and can be focused on later.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some kids to meet today at our open house event!