Saturday, 1 February 2014

End of Term One Reflections & A Room Revamp

     Thursday marked the last day of semester one in our division and it is pretty crazy to think that I have already completed HALF of my first year of teaching. When I look back at it I feel like I did A LOT but I also feel like it went by really, REALLY quickly.

    Friday was an administration day that we utilized to work on marking exams and completing report cards. Lucky for me, I marked ALL of my exams on the day they were written (Wednesday) so I was able to work on report card comments and giving my room a bit of a facelift for Monday morning.

     Since I am teaching both Junior High and High School I really only have one class that will be brand new to me as I am finished Grade 10 Essential Math and gaining Grade 9 Science. The rest of my classes will continue through to the end of year, but my schedule completely changes. Here is a look at what my day will look like starting Monday:

Turtle River School Division, Manitoba teacher blog, teaching blogs from MAnitoba

     My first semester of teaching can only really be described as a whirlwind. As I prepare for semester two, however, there are a few thoughts that stand out for me:

- I am SO glad that I prepared as much as I did over the summer. I know that
  not all teachers get as much notice as I did in regards to their upcoming
  positions and I am so thankful that I had almost four FULL months to prep
  for my first classroom.
     - I definitely recommend that if you are starting a new position and have
       time to prep, then definitely utilize it! Sometimes the only thing that
       calmed me down during first-term craziness was knowing that I at
       least had full unit plans organized and created already.

- It is WAY better to ask than to try and figure this out all on your own. This
  was especially true for me during my first round of report cards. It actually
  got to the point where I was sitting in our main office with my lap top
  working on report cards because the first time I attempted it on my own I
  missed SO many details that I didn't realize I was responsible for.

- I wish I would have been more of myself with my Grade 10 class. From the
  start I didn't really mesh with this group as a whole and I feel like I wasn't
  as personable with them as some of my other classes. I don't think this
  benefited them or me and it would be something I would try to address
  sooner if I was able to do it again.

- If possible, stay a bit later each evening instead of rushing out with the
  students at 3:30 or 4pm. Trust me, taking the extra 40mins or hour to
  catch up on marking, photocopy with no lineups, and set up for
  tomorrow is way better than rushing the next morning or leaving ALL
  of your prep for the weekend.

     Like I alluded to previously, I gave my room a bit of a face lift on Friday so that Monday could be even more of a fresh start to celebrate semester two! Here are some before and after pictures:

The view from the door at the start of the term.
My desks were moved into table groups (like below) after the
first day, but notice my desk and organization counter

The view from the door now.
I've gotten rid of my desk as I never sat there and it just
collected clutter anyways!
My organization counter (hand-in box, classroom supplies, etc) was
right beside my desk at the far side of the room.
I've now moved the counter across the room, against the interior wall
where our classroom "chill-out" space was.
Our classroom "chill-out" space was against our interior wall
but I've now moved it to the far side of the room.
Our classroom "chill-out" space is now on the far side of room next
to the windows. I wanted to move it towards the natural light but I'm
not sure if it looks as cozy without the bulletin boards behind it....
maybe we need a rug or something.


  1. Awesome reflections, Kirsten! I feel the same - I feel like I did a TON of work, but it went super quickly. I can't believe we're half done!

    I'm very jealous of the fact that you had four months to prep - I only had a few days! I've been working to cumulate my units thus far and I can't wait for next year when the bulk of the work is already done and I can make adjustments as needed.

    As for the staying after school thing - I found it difficult for the first three months, because the school bus back to staff accommodations left at either 4:00 or 5:00 pm sharp. I would be in the middle of something and have to start, or I wouldn't bother to start something since I knew I had to leave soon. Renting a car and being in control of my transport made a huge difference!

    Best wishes on the upcoming semester! I had my first day today and it was pretty fun! I'm also keeping all of my classes but one.

    1. Thanks Emma! I can't imagine only having a few days to prepare, I'd be way too stressed up; good for you for pushing through!

      I feel the same way about anticipating next year, I feel so much more prepared already (although I have no idea if my course load will look the same).

      The lucky thing for me is that my husband and I carpool to work and he teaches phys-ed 30 mins away. This means that by the time he finishes coaching and drives to get me I always have time to prepare for the next day and get caught up on marking.

      Thank you for commenting and best of luck in your second term :)


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