Sunday, September 18, 2011

G is for Getting Ready

I haven't posted at all this summer. That last post about the Final Day of School was written the same day that my father died. I had called my classroom on my way up to meet him at Hospice. He died 11 hours later.

I did make it back to work long enough this summer to oversee the last two days of having my classroom packed. It felt good to then be able to take a break. I wrote a couple of Montessori articles this summer and started reading more of Discovery of the Child. I started the daily quotes up again on the Montessori Writer Facebook Page. That was a big part of my rejuvenation for the new school year.

The week before classes started we finally were able to start working on our classrooms in our brand new facility. I am not going to lie. This was the most frustrating set-up I have ever had to endure. Workers were still milling around, moving my furniture on a daily basis as they tweak one thing or another. The movers didn't quite sort out everything properly, so we spent a lot of time taking things to their proper classrooms. Two weeks into the school year there are still a lot of minor issues and a few workers.

I still don't know where some of my materials are hiding. Things went missing in the move. I don't know if they were discarded for me because I wasn't there, or if they went into that black hole of moving that resembles losing socks in a dryer. I also forgot to reorganize my personal materials that I tried to take home prior to the move, to avoid them getting lost.

This year we had a choice. We could either spend all of our time fretting over all of the new changes and new challenges being encountered in a brand new facility. We could worry about the missing materials and waste time looking for them. Or, we could deal with what we had in hand and go forward from there. We chose to do the latter.

Our classroom was rearranged several times as we got used to a new layout. New fire marshal guidelines meant we couldn't use the floorplan in the way we originally wanted. We also thought we were getting our loft from our previous classroom and had set up accordingly. When news came that the loft was not going to happen and that our understanding of the placement of our new SmartBoards was misinterpreted, we had to start from scratch on Thursday morning. Frustration took over and a new floor plan was immediately implemented so that we could get on our way.

People stopped by and often commented how far we looked from being finished. They commented that they would see us all Labor Day weekend long as we completed setting up. I have a different way of organizing and setting up. I have to have everything out and spread out so that I can see it all at once. Once we are doing setting up, everything is immediately put away and we are finished.

Thursday night I stayed until 9 p.m. By Friday night at 7 p.m. we were done. Everything was ready to go for the first day with the children. Sure, a lot of other things needed to be done. But there is always a ton to be done for the classroom. If you gave in to everything that could be done for the classroom, you would never leave.

I chose this year to take a step back and really look at the classroom from the point of view of the children. They had cubbies and name cards ready to go. There was enough work on the shelves to keep them challenged and engaged. All of that other little stuff can just wait and be done as we go on.

I don't mean to sound like I am doing the bare minimum to get by. That is not my intention. I think that too often we get wrapped up in our own expectations of the classroom and forget to look at what the children actually need. My assistant and I were the only class that didn't come in over the holiday weekend. Our children had exactly what they needed. They have settled into the new routine and are eager to help the new children get settled.

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