Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy Camper

We (teachers only) went back to school last Thursday, August 22nd.   Our first day back was filled with lots of catching up with other teachers, organizing and setting up our classrooms, and the inevitable hugfest.   Let me clarify for you -- it's not that I don't like to hug people, it's just that I think it is often overused.   Of course, my teacher friends that know me best, upon first look at me, raised their arms in an exaggerated hug and headed straight for me, grinning ear to ear.   You teachers! 

We had our first staff meeting of the year, with a run-down of important dates, opportunities to learn, new staff introductions, and the all important *class list*.  This is our first look at our kids for the upcoming year.  I quickly scanned my list of twenty-five little darlings, looking for a familiar last name.   Lucky for me I have one of my favorite friend's little boy and a few other siblings of former 3rd graders in my class. Just like kids, teachers like to see some familiar faces that first day of school too.

By the end of the day Thursday, many teachers had their rooms prepared and looking spiffy for opening day of school.   I headed home exhausted but excited about the new year.  My daily summer exercise committment was set aside as I collapsed on the couch.

On Friday morning, the early bird teachers, a.k.a. the "Breakfast Club" met for our first breakfast to continue our tradition of every other Friday breakfast get-togethers before school. (see post from last year about our breakfast)   "The Usual"  It was comforting to have our familiar waitress greet us and welcome us back.  It sure didn't seem like we had not been there for ten weeks.

After breakfast it was off to school, where everybody gathered in the gym for our day of professional development, camping style.   Our fearless camp director (principal) announced and explained some games we were going to play to get us excited, energized, and bonding with one another for the upcoming year.  The first game, called "The Killer" was fun and funny and had teachers overacting their death when the killer winked at them.  Then we played a partner game where we were blindfolded and finished up with some balloon fun, and "Fire in the Hole".  A few hours of playful games and lots of laughter kick-started us all and had us ready for an afternoon of learning. 
The fire for our kindling

Our camping tent
After lunch our camp themed day continued in our Media Center where a tent was pitched and treats were on every table.   Throughout the afternoon, we had wonderful conversations.  There was a lot of thinking going on.

The concluding activity was for each teacher to throw some kindling (crepe paper) with something they were letting go of this school year on to our campfire.  Each teacher confidently announced their "thing" and tossed the paper into the "fire".   In case any of you are curious, my kindling was "desks" as this year I have let go of all my desks and am using round tables in my classroom.  It's an experiment I'm both nervous and excited about.  Stay tuned for updates throughout the year regarding my new classroom setup.
S'more treats! Yummy!

Have I mentioned we have a wonderful ex-teacher, coordinator who makes PD's fun?  She puts us teachers to shame with her cute little PD activities and decorations, AND she even bakes us treats every PD.  Since it was a camping theme, she made us little s'mores.  Yum!    

Back to my room to utilize the last thirty minutes of the day to laminate, organize some cabinets, and pack my bag for stuff to take home and do over the weekend.  

As I headed home, I began to think of how lucky I am.  I work with a really spectacular group of professionals.  They are people I am proud to call my friends.  Our PD's provide us with the support, knowledge, and resources we need to become better teachers.  We have a principal who encourages us to play games.  Our PD coordinator makes the sometimes long days of PD fun, entertaining, and bearable.  Everywhere you look there is a person to listen, help, support, and laugh with you.  Even on the darkest days, you do not feel alone.  

There is always a warm, comforting glow from our campfire.


  1. Even though it was sobering lining up in age order and being at the end of the elderly side of the line, the games were fun and it was a nice change-up from our usual routine. M.G.

  2. I love your ending...there is always a nice, comforting glow from our campfire. True, very true.