Saturday, August 31, 2013

Doing My Rounds

Well, after many days of work and preparation, I am ready for the big day!  The first day of the 2013-2014 school year.  This Tuesday, all the little darlings will arrive and see their classroom for the first time and meet their teacher (many for the first time.)  It is always a very exciting and emotional day.  It is one I look forward to every year.  Like many of the students, I'm nervous, can't sleep much the night before, and am extremely excited to see my friends.

My amazing dry erase kidney table for group work
New tables!
This year I have made a drastic change in my classroom.  I got rid of my desks and went to circle tables.  The fact that my desks were always arranged in table groups got me to thinking of how much easier it would be just to have tables. It also would be great for group work and for students to have flexibility to move and learn around the classroom.  So, last April, I put on my brightest smile and approached my principal to see if he would be as enthused with my idea as I was.  Luckily he was supportive and told me he'd see what he could do.  So, I pushed my luck and I also asked for a kidney shaped dry erase table.

As you can see from my classroom pictures - I got what I asked for!  I have spent lots of time making sure the room looks its best.  I know this change will be different for both me and my kids.  But I'm confident it will be a positive change in my classroom.
So there I was, last Thursday, mumbling to myself (any teacher knows what I'm talking about here), amidst a pile of books as I organized my classroom library, with Pandora blasting through the sound system, when I looked up to find a hesitant mom and darling little girl peeking into my classroom. 

"Are you Mrs. Jeppson?" the mother shouted in order to be heard over the music.

"Yes! I am!" I replied as they stepped tentatively into the room and I headed towards the door to greet them.

The mother introduced her daughter, one of my new students for the upcoming year.  I smiled at her, shook her little hand, and asked her what she thought of the classroom.  I waved my arm channelling Vanna White in a broad sweep of the classroom.  She smiled brightly as her mother nodded her head. I told her I had made lots of big changes over the summer.

"It looks so warm and inviting," began the mother. "I love the tables."
"It's pretty!" added the sweetie.  I could see her eyes darting around, trying to take in the new things and relaxing a bit as she seemed to like the room.

"Thank you," I told them.  "I've been really working on making some changes so that all my students can have space and comfort to learn and think."

"It's so bright," continued the mother, eyes still taking in the room. 

I looked at the little girl, who no doubt was worried and nervous about the upcoming year.  I think seeing the room and meeting me was helping a bit.  But she still seemed to have doubts as to whether I was the "crazy teacher".

I bent down a bit in front of her.  "I love your hair," I told her, smiling. Her thick, curly hair was tied back in a hair band, and humidity was pulling strands here and there.  "You have wonderful curls!" 

She couldn't stop the big smile from spreading, as she touched her hair.  She looked me right in the eye as I touched my curly, but rather frizzy and no doubt frazzled hair.  

"Don't worry," I added.  "My hair isn't usually this funny looking!"  

They both laughed and politely excused themselves so I could get back to my preparations.  

"See you soon!" I told them both as the little girl waved and smiled.

Just meeting one of my incoming students put me in a terrific mood the rest of the day.  It reminded me of all the new little faces I will see arrive in my room, tentative and hopeful for a great school year.  It reminded me of the excitement of a new year and all its promise. 

So, although I'm certainly no doctor, I will be 'doing my rounds' as I get to know my students in the next few weeks, and as we learn together this year.  

I even organized my books this year!

Another view of my classroom table groups

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the tables! Your classroom DOES look super bright! I envy the fact that you're all tiled, or at least that's what it looks like? It's gonna be a great year - curly frizz or not! :)