Saturday, 8 September 2012

2nd year, 2 classrooms, 2 classes, 2 times the fun!

Here we are again, except this time I'm feeling much more confident and much less exhausted than last year at this time. We have just finished our first week back to school with the kids (I've been back and setting up classrooms, meeting parents and kids and going to meetings for the past three weeks) and while I'm feeling a little tired, I'm also much more settled.

This year I am lucky enough to be renting a farmhouse outside of town, and is it ever nice to feel like I have a home again! As I mentioned in my last post, I am teaching at two different schools this year (about 10 km apart), half time at each. So far, so good. I can't say enough about having amazing people to work with in the room- at one school I have one lovely lady working in the room (so far) and am so happy to have her there again. We were together last year as well, and she is honestly the school superwoman, and regularly saves me from making huge mistakes, jumps in to clean up messes (usually made by me) and is always there to give a kiddo a hug or soothe a nervous parent. She has also become one of my closest friends here, and we look forward to the laughs that happen every day in Kindergarten.

This is a picture I colored and hung in our room for those Charlie Brown Days, remember?
In our class (at this point) we have 12 boys and 1 girl. I have replaced our carpet with wrestling mats, and it looks awesome. On our first day together we had some fun with some movement activities, a visit to the library (I wish I could put up pictures of these little guys in the cool 'reading glasses' that our awesome librarian has for the kids- hilarious!), and snack-making (fruit shish-kebabs). We also have some pretty polite little guys, as one little boy said, "excuse me Miss Kotlarz, may I get a kleenex so I don't pick it?"

I can't wait for the Miss Clark show to start on Monday...

In the other school I am sharing a classroom with another teacher, as this community is a little bigger and there are enough Kindo-gah-tens (as our VP says it) for two classes. I decided that as I have a classroom to myself at the other school, I would step back from decorating this one and let the other teacher make it her 'home base.' So far we have pretty different ways of doing things, but are working together just fine. I was really worried about the two ladies that work in the room with us, as they are there full time, and switch from my way of teaching to the other teacher's each day. That can be exhausting. We're trying really hard to get to know each other well enough that everyone feels comfortable enough to say when something isn't working out, or has a suggestion to make things run smoother. Again, I'm feeling so lucky to have these ladies to work with. They truly run the room and could do a fantastic job of it if I wasn't there. They have also worked with the lady that has done Kindergarten for the past 8 years in this school (who had everything worked out down to a science) and have been so helpful in reminding me if I'm missing something or needs attention. They're miracle workers!

This class is almost opposite my mostly-boys class, as we currently have 17 (soon to be 18+) kids, and consists of 12 girls and 5 boys. So far there are some big, lively personalities in this room, and a few that just need an extra hug once in a while. I was a little worried the first day as there were kids everywhere, asking when recess was, when home-time was, when we were having snack, gym and lunch...the entire day. I had chosen to forget that the fun part about starting Kindergarten is that often kids haven't been exposed to an environment where they are expected to listen quietly, sit still and raise their hand to speak...not that we can make it longer than 5 minutes by mid-year. It's our project for the month of September to learn these expected routines, get to know each other, and what we need to do when we are in the classroom. Our second day was much smoother and manageable already, so I think we'll get along fine.

I did discover this class' love for 'Jillian Jiggs, Maker of Wonderful, Marvelous Pigs' (Phoebe Gilman). On the inside back cover of this book there are instructions for how to make a stuffed pig out of nylons (I remember making these with my Mom and sister when we were younger), which the kids quickly picked up on and insisted we make sometime...SOON. There are some smart kiddos in this bunch. So, if anyone has a brilliant idea of how to make a Jillian Jiggs pig without sewing (I would like the kids to do as much of it themselves as possible), please pass it on to me! So far I'm thinking of knotting the end to close it up and make a tail, and using elastic bands for its' feet...

We had an eventful first week that ended with us having to cancel class for our boys on their second day to go to an 'Autism Speaks' workshop that should have been amazing. Unfortunately, it didn't include anything on Autism, and while we did get some interesting points from the regional OT on sensory children in the ten minutes she sat down with us, we felt that we had wasted the day, and would have much rather had Kindergarten. We will be back with the Miss Clark show on Monday to make up for it!

I am going to go enjoy my morning coffee in my sun-filled living room and do some reading and paperwork...have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

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