Northerner In Nashville

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 14 2011

Keeping up with the Joneses

And we’re officially back in business! Metro Nashville schools welcomed back almost 80,000 students on Thursday for the first day of school (albeit a half one at that). The week leading up to it was a blur of faculty meetings and room preparation, so much so that on Wednesday night I felt that familar “uh oh, what’s tomorrow going to be like feeling?” that had disappeared over the summer.

Even as a second year teacher, there’s a lot to keep track of. We have grown in size yet again! In the 2009-2010 school year, my school had about 260 kids enrolled. Last year, we hovered +/- about 10 from 500 for most of the year. On the first day of school this year, we had 650 students in the building with another 50 or so on the roll but who were not present (many people don’t seem to understand that that first half day is so critical). The building itself looks the same, but the people within it look a bit different.

Changes thus far…

A new principal. I cannot begin to describe how excited I am to be working under her. I think every conversation we had as a staff managed to find its way back to “How can we best help the students? What do we as teachers need to accomplish this?”
An assistant principal! Numbers, not need, determine whether or not a school has an AP. Not only am I glad that responsibilities can be shared, I also have really enjoyed all my interactions with my AP
Coaches–Last year, we had a Reading Coach. This year, we have a (new) Reading Coach, a Numeracy Coach, AND three additional Coaches on leave from their schools to come and provide support to the 46 untenured teachers.
Inclusion — this year, I will be co-teaching for 2 hours a day with our ELL teacher. I will also have another hour of the day where an Exceptional Ed teacher will be in the room. For someone who felt really alone in my room last year, the door this year is going to be pretty open with inclusion and 6 official observations.
New staff! – We’ve grown in student enrollment to the point where we have 6 teachers on each grade level. It’s been a challenge to try and remember names, faces, and assigned positions as we’ve welcomed people into the building over the course of the summer. It will be confusing — we now have several Smiths and confusing number of Joneses working in the building (at least 4…)
I’m a bit nervous about this upcoming year because I know I will be challenged to push myself to make my kids more successful. Adding several experienced teachers to my team has made me really see how much work I have to do to become a better teacher. However, this year I feel prepped with the tools at my school to make those changes. After a shoddy relationship with my PD this past year, I look forward to a much more effective and supportive relationship with my new MTLD (Talk about overwhelming changes. My school had a ton, and then TFA went and changed things on me!)

I’ll save my thoughts on my new kids until I meet all of them on Monday, but here’s a preview.

I have a feeling I will very quickly be obsessed with them :)

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