Ever wonder what your teachers did in the last few weeks and days before school started? Well now I know. They sit through endless all day in-service meetings about test data and school policies and state standards. I have so very much to do, it's kind of frustrating to have to sit through so many meetings. But I'm going to stop being negative. There is some good information. Certainly knowing about testing and where the kids and they school is at is very important, and this school as got some serious work to do. And it's exciting to meet all the teachers and administrators and start getting to know the people I'll be working with every day. It seems to be a good bunch. It's very mixed between native and non-native. One thing people around here are good at is laughing a lot. Humor is a huge part of the culture, so at least long boring power points are occasionally interrupted with jokes poking fun of people and laughing all around.
Everything is a little bit chaotic right now. There's no class schedule. They're still missing some teachers (if you have any interest in teaching P.E. or Industrial Arts in South Dakota let me know). Oh, and we can't get into the new high school building yet because it didn't pass the final inspection and they're doing more work on it. So all of the desks, tables, books, computers, and materials that belong in the high school are currently still in the gym of the elementary school. yikes! And there's still no word on when we will be able to get into our classrooms to set up. But I'm going with the flow.
Meanwhile I'm supposed to be planning my classes... setting goals, making long term plans and assessments, writing the first Unit plan and lessons for the first weeks. Ah! I'm not quite freaking out yet because there is still nearly four weeks. But I see a little bit of flipping out in the near future.
I'm also beginning to realize now the things that I took for granted at institute. Don't get me wrong, institute was a mildly painful process, but there were hundreds of people there with a common mission to constantly remind each other what we're working for and why we're doing this. Being here is much more isolating and while all the teachers at the school clearly want what's best for the students, they come from a variety of education backgrounds and have drastically different mindsets. It's very easy to be overwhelmed with sudden attacks of "What the heck I'm I doing here???? I have no idea what I'm doing!!!" Although, in many ways it's nice to not be constantly labeled as TFA. Here we're just first year teachers who need lots and lots of help.
So that's my teaching rant, now to back up a little to life in general- The trailer is nice. I'm not feeling faint or nauseated or anything like that. We're pretty squished with three of us and zero storage space, but we're managing. We have central air!
Last weekend a large group of us went camping at Lake Angastora. It was fun. We went and saw the Wind Caves and went swimming in the lake and were ridiculously silly I love it. I love teachers.
On the whole I'm very happy to be here. I've been going running with my roommate Katie in the evenings and it is so beautiful and peaceful and... open here. I love the space. I will try to take some pictures soon. We're going to make a trip to Rapid City this weekend to buy some shelving and paint and fabric to cover the somewhat hideous sofa we inherited. I'll post pictures once it's all put together and cozy.
I'm ready to push through the next few weeks of meetings and preparations so I can make it to the good part- teaching the kids! It's going to be great.