So, today is the last day of Term 1 for 2013. What was I doing on the last day?
I got laryngitis and a chest infection in the last week of term. I only went to school on Tuesday and Wednesday this week and felt really guilty about it. My new school sends home student portfolios at the end of Term 1, and mine weren't ready to go. So on Wednesday afternoon (after struggling through the day without a voice) I collected 24 folders and 24 sets of work, photos and general evidence on how great my class is and set about using my days off to put it all together.
I popped into school at lunchtime today (having been told by the doctor not to speak) and delivered all the portfolios to their owners. I felt much better about myself after that was accomplished!
I also went to school to drop off a gift to my current teaching partner. He was given a term-long contract at my school and it was his last day. The Year 2 team gave him a bottle of red, a card and a great picture book called The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland.
If you haven't read it, it's a fabulous book! My teaching partner seemed surprised, but pleased that we would think of him on his last day.
Settling in to a new school has been a very steep learning curve for me. It's bizarre to think that 10 weeks ago I had no idea what I was stepping in to, but now I've learnt a lot, including:
- Ask a lot of questions. No really, ask so many that people will get annoyed with you.
- Accept that you are not going to know the ropes instantly. Everyone knows you are the newbie, and they will give you allowances for that. Having said that, refer to dot point 1.
- Rely on your teaching team. They are not going to think you are incompetent just because you don't know how the school runs. Again, refer to dot point 1.
- Realise that it takes time to settle in, and allow for that. I have spent my entire term chasing my own tail, thinking that if I just get this list of things done, I'll be on top of everything. However, my list of things to do was so long I actually stopped writing it! I have at least 5 years at this school, I'm not going to be an expert in one term!
It makes me realise why so many people would ask me what I deemed to be simple questions at my old school. To me, who had been there for several years and knew the school inside and out, it was simple. To them, it was an incredible maze of confusion and frustration. Now I'm on the other side, I hope I was as helpful as I could be, because now I am the one relying on others to point me in the right direction.
So, to the people at my old school, who were always helpful and knowledgeable, who did things to make my life easier; thank you! Tracey, who was quite possibly one of the most inspiring teachers I've ever had the pleasure to work alongside. Nicole, who administered the IT situation at our school so competently, including making life so much easier for all of us with student passwords (seriously the hardest thing about computer lab time!). Christina, whose energy and dedication to her students was incredibly motivating. To the whole Junior Team, whose support I couldn't have done without. To all these people, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are the ones who make dot point 3 so easy to follow!
To my new colleagues: I'm sorry for asking so many questions! Be prepared for the barrage of questions that will be fired at you next term.
Looking towards Term 2, we have so many things to do and learn. Hopefully next term I will have more photos to share. During the next two weeks my plans are: find my lost voice, plan with my new teaching partner and the rest of the Year 2 team, and make sure I do some fun stuff with my 'spare' time.
Wishing you all a relaxing stand-down. Don't work too hard!