Saturday, August 12, 2006

Unpacking the Year

Experienced teachers report for duty on Wednesday, August 16. There will be a week of greetings, meetings, and crafting plans for the upcoming school year. It is a ritual I have experienced 19 times before. As I begin my 20th year of teaching, it should be "old hat" by now, but, gratefully, it is not.

I returned to school this last Monday and spent the week moving boxes, unpacking, and decorating my classroom. I like coming in early and taking care of the aesthetic issues -- it sets the stage, creates the mood, and gives me an opportunity to ease into the year.

Many teachers complain at the end of the year that packing up is such a waste of time, particularly since we have to unpack it all again at the beginning of the year. I understand the need for cleaning, reassigning rooms, and keeping things in order, but I enjoy unpacking for another reason. As I pull items out of boxes and place books back on shelves, it gives me an opportunity to revisit each item, re-evaluate its purpose, and weed out those things which no longer make the cut. More importantly, it also provides me with the time to reminisce -- yesterday I found a stack of Latin Club photographs I took several years ago of students I had almost forgotten. Revisiting the past provides great incentive for the future. Isn't that a lot of what we do in Latin class?

Now I can commit my time to writing lesson plans, creating handouts, and giving attention to the World Languages Department (I am the department chair) and assisting our new teachers (this year we have four in our department!). And the students arrive on the 23rd!

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