People all around have been asking me, “So how’s the new job goin?” not really, but anyway…
At my old school, for supplies, each teacher was issued one black pen, one red pen and a small box of paper clips. At my new school, the stuff they give us just keeps pouring in. Now, you’d think I had taught exclusively in developing countries, because I got excited by:
- my own room that was not shared except for a movable wall
- a free lanyard
- My own MacBook
- 2 brand new fancy office chairs that I didn’t have to beg or buy myself
- 2 free new bookcases that I didn’t have to bribe anyone for
- A huge box of supplies on the desk, the new desk, I had in the teacher planning area, including white board markers, glue sticks, file folders and just a huge amount of stuff, such that people were COMPLAINING about where to put it all
- My own storage areas, abundant
- My own Infocus mounted in the class
- My own document camera in my room
- A cart of 16 macbooks to be shared among 8 teachers
- 100 bucks with which to buy stuff (I will buy either picture dictionaries or other dictionaries)
It just goes on and on.
But as someone said as I left my old place (so inspiring they weren’t) that it will merely be a case of trading in old problems for new ones (with friends like that, who needs an enemy?)
Plus I have no duty.
I also however, have no prep time (well I do, but because of “collaboration” and schedules, I will be cool with the fact that my colleagues great ideas leave the ELL teachers with kids to watch after on prep, it’s not a biggie though), I have 4 different classes to teach, and there is not a single set process in the school and things change willynilly, because it is a new school and the teachers want to make it be how they like it be.
The place is hugely political. All the staff are chiefs, the bossy leader types. The environment is much less warm and welcoming compared to my last school, which I practically predicted. A few exceptions of course, there are a couple really nice, understanding folks. My last school was filled with truly very kind people. They rolled out the welcome wagon to newbies and everyone introduced themselves warmly. So, what have I learned at the new place? Don’t talk in meetings unless you are asked to, and keep the nose down.
And classes? How is moving from high school to middle school? Well, the kids are needy of course. They all need help opening their lockers, they linger around me and are watching me very closely. I am teaching newcomers. That means a dynamic that is more intense. I am bilingual, but code switching from Spanish to English sets a very bad precedent. So since it is an ELD class, I am pure English but since they are newcomers they speak to me in Spanish.
They are so eager to please so far, despite the fassad of the first day, they are kids after all.