I can't believe I almost forgot this. I actually had to go back and edit the post to reveal that I have a Smartboard and 3 computers. Can you even imagine? I can't even envision how that is going to change my teaching.
It is just such a relief to see that my new work environment is pleasant. I felt like so much of my classroom setup over the past 5 years involved trying to cover up how disgusting my school actually was. I wanted to shield the kids from the filth so I would apply a fresh coat of paint to counters and even parts of walls. I tracked down cabinet door handles from various parts of the building (and architectural salvage stores) to restore my beautiful wooden cabinets to their original 105 year old glory. I would cover splintered tables with colorful cloths, and strategically place bookshelves over holes in the floor. No more!
One thing that I noticed, however, is that as a new school in its 3rd year of operation, the classroom materials were sparse. I come from a school with a 105 year legacy of materials, so I always found myself throwing things out rather than needing basic things. If I didn't have something, I could always roam the building and find it in the piles other teachers were throwing out. No matter! I already wrote a donorschoose.org grant for many of the things I will need. In the past, all of my grants have been fulfilled and I'm hoping this one will be too.
I was also a little annoyed (OK, totally shocked and irritated) with how the previous teacher had "packed" up the books. She basically took the book bins full of books and threw them on top of each other in the gorgeous closet. I already know that many of these books will be bent when I come back in September. And I know from experience that the bins will be filthy. I guess working at a school where we never got anything new, I learned how to preserve what we had. Maybe this teacher didn't realize that new books don't get purchased each year. I didn't have time to sort it all out today since I was blocking the custodian's parking spot and the last thing you want to do at a public school is piss off the custodian the first time you meet him or her (same goes for the secretaries and the security guard).
All in all, I'm extremely excited for the new school. I already have so many ideas about things I want to change about my routines and my instruction. I can't wait to meet the students and their parents and to be a part of a more progressive and organized school environment. I feel re-energized by the whole thing!
I hope everyone is having a great summer! I don't feel totally relaxed yet, but I'm sure it will come to me soon. I'm starting my part-time summer job (the same one I've had for the past 4 years) on Monday. It's super easy and helps me pass the time and make a few bucks.