Starting the school year is very difficult for me as a special education teacher. I feel like I have so much to do in so little time that I end up just running in circles. It is a constant balance of determining importance. And, unfortunately, the thing that falls to the bottom of my to-do list is always… setting up my classroom!
I spend the summer working a second job, so while my co-workers are sneaking into the school to set up their room; I am teaching science to elementary aged children. This year I did take the week before school started off, but that ended up being filled with doctors appointments and getting ready for a wedding that I was in that weekend. I was able to come in the last day of summer, but it was really a trip that included dropping some stuff off and beginning the September Schedule Shuffle.
I arrive to school for the first week of school, which is a full week of professional development for my district and the SSS begins! I spend hours upon hours figuring out how to fix the schedules of the students on my caseloads so that I can most adequately provide them services and support in their classes. They are all placed in my inclusion ELA and math, but I have a paraprofessional a few blocks a day who goes into science and social studies and I have to figure out how to get the kids who need it the most into those sections.
Once scheduling is done I’m printing IEPs for myself and summaries for the general education teachers, passing them out, trying to memorize who the kids are and what their areas of need are, and answering a million questions for the teachers. I am making spread sheets of their accommodations to give to the general education teachers to try and make their lives easier. And then I’m tracking down working files from seventh grade. Next thing I know it’s the first day of school and the kids are here and my room still looks empty and sad.
This year it took me until the end of the second week of school to put up my bulletin board feeling like the worst teacher ever! I leave the same bulletin board up all year; I don’t know where other teachers find the time to rotate theirs. I am currently spending the little free time I have at school trying to make the letters and paper sizes just right! Pictures to come, I’m really excited about this one! I found it on Pinterest.
I guess this post turned into more of a rant, but I feel better now. I hope your years are all going well!