First Thoughts before my First Year

Well, I’ve signed the contract and done a bunch of the preliminary work towards getting into the system. I still need to get a physical and go see the payroll folks (I have an appointment for payroll on August 12th). There’s a lot going on right now. My wife has an abscessed tooth and is in so much pain she can do little. I have jury duty which has somewhat hobbled my ability to do things during this time. I need to get my kids in for shots and register one for school. Oh, and let’s not forget that my bank account has been compromised and someone has made unauthorized purchases.

One good thing is my health insurance. Since I’m retired military I get my health care through the military and only pay $460 a year for two adults and four children. As long as I get my health care through the local military hospital, I don’t pay a co-pay or pay for prescriptions. And when I am referred off-base for surgery or what-not, I only pay about $10-20 for co-pay. And you can’t beat that with a stick. Therefore, I don’t have to use the health insurance provided by the district. Instead, I get to collect (I think) a $2,000 yearly payment for insurance! Another great thing is dental insurance. The military doesn’t provide cheap dental insurance for retirees so we’ve basically gone without dental insurance since I retired in 2006. That’s been very tough.

My kids go to school in a different district than I teach in. This of course means that our schedules are not exactly the same. Luckily our fall breaks are the same. Our spring breaks are one week apart unfortunately. My wife has already started planning a vacation for next summer! We hope to go to DC and the surrounding areas; visit the various Smithsonian museums (and National zoo), the Holocaust museum, the monuments, Mount Vernon, Yorktown, Jamestown, Busch Gardens, and the beaches. Finally enjoy a very long over-due time of rest and relaxation. However, the more I think about it, the more I think maybe going to Orlando or something might be more enjoyable for the whole family. I don’t know yet. We do plan on going to see my dad over fall break and that will be great in its self.

I’ve not yet gone into my classroom aside from that day of the interview when she took me around the school. I hope to go into today (I was not needed at jury duty today and hopefully I won’t be required to come in the rest of the week). Tomorrow if I’m not needed for jury duty I hope to go to a large city some distance away with a friend of mine to a very large teacher store and buy some stuff for the classroom. My dad sent me $200 to use for supplies and I thought that was just great. The day before he sent it I had just told a friend of mine and my wife that it would be great if I had about $200 to spend on stuff for the classroom.

I’m quite nervous about everything. I’m not completely sure about several things. I’m unsure of the bureaucracy that is the education system (just as it is different in every segment of society). I’m unsure even what I’m suppose to teach or the blocks I’m teaching or if I even have a planning block. I’m unsure about end-of-course exams. I’m unsure about a scope & sequence. These are perhaps questions I should have asked during the interview, but to be honest they were inconsequential during the interview and only mattered IF I got the job. I’m unsure about so much stuff and I feel completely bothersome if I continue asking questions of the principal. The staff is really too small to assign me a mentor teacher.

And as long as I’m being honest, let me just say that I’m unsure of my ability to be a good teacher. I’ve always been told that I would make a good teacher but I lack that same confidence. I am so scared of failure it makes me want to stick to just very simple, tried and true, methods rather than stick my neck out and be creative. But that is not the kind of teacher I seek to be. I seek to be inspirational (who doesn’t right?). I seek to make a significant difference in kids’ lives. I want to completely engage these kids so they see the joy that history can be. I mean dang, I’m stuck in a classroom with them for 90 minutes at a time so I may as well enjoy it and try to get them to enjoy it too!

So here’s a “to-do” list:

1) Get to the classroom & scope it out; clean it up

2) Discover the class schedule (blocks/grades/subjects)

3) Get the textbooks

4) Create a welcome letter and first & second day activities (mainly code of conduct, syllabus, etc)

5) Create a scope & sequence calendar in lieu of one being provided me

6) …

Is there anything I’m forgetting?

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