January 08, 2005

First Week Jitters

Well, the first week of my first term at both schools was chaotic, hectic, exciting, and the lessons went pretty well. I knew the beginning of the term at two new schools was going to be crazy and it was. Overall, though, it went really well and better than I expected in some ways. The big challenges were classroom changes (due to buildings with no heat), a lot of new students strolling through the door (there’s continuous enrollment at the community college site), and last minute schedule changes (a welcome assembly lunch that nobody told me was rescheduled and I walked to the opposite side of campus with my students to find that there was nobody there and nothing happening that day). There was also great news. My community college class is now more than full and they hired a Teaching Assistant for me. She will be able to handle all the registration headaches when any other new students come in. There is a limit, however, of 32 students “regularly attending” and after that we will have to start a waiting list. That will work well, though, because it will encourage everyone to attend class; I can tell them that if they miss too many classes in a row that there are people waiting to take their spot in the class. I met my TA yesterday and she hasn’t had experience teaching but she is really a quick learner; I helped my supervisor train her to do registration and intake testing. She seems like a natural and I know that the students will love her. I’ve never had a TA before, so it will be a learning experience for me. I have to find the best way to delegate and communicate lesson plans and what I want her to do. If the class attendance stays high, it will be wonderful to have her help me monitor the students when they are practicing conversation in pairs. It takes a long time for one person to get around to 15 or 16 pairs and they get bored or you can’t make it around to everyone and the students don’t get the attention or help that they deserve.

Thursday evening was really great. I felt like it was my birthday and I was just giddy like a little girl. First of all, a friend left a funny and really nice message for me on voicemail. I checked it right after I was finished with my first job and was getting ready to go to the community college class. It cracked me up. Then I called Mom and found out that the community college class was cancelled due to expected snow and ice that evening. As if that wasn’t enough, she told me that the community college had hired a TA for me. I wasn’t expecting that either. I was really exhausted after the first week of classes and to be able to go home early and know that next week I would have someone to help me deal with registration and stuff was amazing and wonderful. It all came just like a big rush of wonderful gifts. Then my parents decided that we would all go out to dinner. They usually have a meeting that night, but due to the weather reports their meeting had been cancelled just like my class. It felt like a big surprise party celebration. I was overjoyed and had a great time relaxing. I caught up on some sleep the next morning.

Last night I had a hard time getting to sleep. I ended up doing a couple of loads of laundry and watched Samurai X, an anime movie, on Cable. It was very beautiful to look at, but the tone was sad. The love story was sweet but the characters were so sullen and full of grief, regret and suffering. Overall, I don’t highly recommend it. I was having trouble settling down because so many things were rattling around in my brain, details for next week’s classes and what not. I ended up making a list and then my mind could shut down because I knew that I wouldn’t forget any thing that I wanted/needed to do. It will be easier next week, anyway. The foundations have been laid and the students and I are oriented to classrooms, schedule, and each other.

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