September 9, 2010

Curriculum Night: Check!

Today was a looong 13-hour day at good ol' school.  Thankfully, I no longer take days like that on a regular basis like I did last year, spending HOURS after school every day grading, planning, copying, and just processing everything that was going on in my room.  Last year pretty much felt like one long marathon in which I was the dead-last runner, just trying to hold it together to make it to the finish.  This year I am way more together as I've written a few times, although it is by NO means easy.  In any case, I am doing a way better job of peacing out of school by 5 or 6 every night which is a HUGE achievement for me and a testament to how much more prepared I feel.

Of course every now and then in the teaching world there are those late night school events--thankfully not as many in elementary school as secondary!  Tonight was one such event: Curriculum Night.  A word on how that works at my school:  Typically, a curric night involves the teacher presenting to a classroom of parents on classroom procedures, topics to be studied during the year, and the different curriculums being followed.  Informative and important, but super intimidating.  As my school tends to have problems getting parents to show up to evening events for a variety of reasons, we have switched to more relaxed approaches to things like curric and back to school nights.  Tonight's event was a "scavenger hunt" through the school and classroom; kids led their parents around as "tour guides" and checked in with the classroom teacher, PTA reps, and specials teachers to get necessary information.  I love that the kids are running the show, and it takes a ton of pressure off the teachers.  I still had only about half of the families show up, but all in all the night was a success.

For me there were definitely a few highlights.  Overall, the parents at my school are great.  While many are uninvolved, most really respect the teachers at the school.  It is always wonderful to meet parents who are kind and appreciative of the hard work we do!!!

Another highlight was talking to the "difficult" parent I wrote about at the very beginning of the year.  It seems she has decided I am not all bad, young or not!  We actually had a nice, albeit brief, conversation.  I was incredibly relieved, as I was imaging being approached with another laundry list of complaints...

Last, the absolute best part of the night was watching one particular students show his mom around our room for upwards of 30 minutes!  He literally walked her through an entire school day, shared the text books in detail, told her all about what he was reading and what we were learning, and was just so happy to share our classroom with her.  This is so heartwarming and refreshing.  5th grade is sometimes the start of school apathy for kids--it's not "new" anymore, and many have decided they are "so over" school.  (That's one thing I love about primary--most kids are just pumped to be there!  Still don't want to teach a grade where I have to tie shoe laces and blow noses tho... ;)  Anyways, this kiddo's pride in our classroom radiated from every pore as he paraded his mom around.  I was overjoyed that I had the privilege of watching.

Anyways, I wanted to post a few pictures of the room all spic and span and ready to go for our special guests:

"Gathering Place" in our classroom library (aka my favorite spot in the room)

Alternate view of our badass library--can you tell I <3 books?!

Teacher Corner/Oasis :)

An entire classroom view is still to come...

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