Monday, March 18, 2013

The BIGGEST thing I have had to learn as a teacher....

is to be flexible.  I am a typical Type-A personality, over achiever, who likes to be organized and plans ahead.  That is not really ideal in the teaching profession.  Well, maybe if I taught at a school in a warm climate with no school days.

We have a confusing rotating schedule with five periods a day for a seven day rotation schedule.  "A" day is period 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.  Then "B" day is 6, 7, 1, 2, and 3 and so on through G day.

When I first started teaching only 8 years ago, if we had a snow day, we would bump the day so we didn't miss that letter day.

Well, a few years ago, it was decided to just skip the day so the rest of the years letter days would stay the same and not have to be shifted.  Okay, but what if I was testing on that day, it still gets bumped and I have to bump everything else or even double up on lessons or skip lessons all together.

As a teacher, I feel comfortable when I am planned a week in advanced.  That is, all of my lesson plans are completed and everything is photocopied, tests are ready to go.  That isn't happening this year because of the Common Core new math curriculum that we are developing as we go.  Add in a new laptop program and it is tricky.

But, add in (so far) 5 snow days, and I am about to crack.  We are predicted to get a big messy snow storm tonight.  I live in Massachusetts and my sophomores were supposed to take the state MCAS test tomorrow.  However, the state has already decided to move it to next Monday.  It was supposed to be Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  Now, it is Thursday, Friday, and Monday.  I have to plan around MCAS because my sophomores would be missing.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a G Day, then an A day.  If there is a snow day, we skip G day and go to A day as usual, but the G day is moved to next Monday along with the MCAS.  So, we will be going A, B, C, G, E, F, G in the next cycle.  Are you confused yet?  My head is spinning.

So, as I get ready to go to bed and hope for school tomorrow, I still can't really plan the week because it depends on the weather.

All this brings me back to being flexible.  I know we have a lot of curriculum to teach and I want to squeeze all in and in the right order but still at the right pace, so I have to make changes.  And, I think I have become better at just embracing whatever the next day may bring and bumping things or moving things or consolidating things as I need to.  Of course, the kids are great about it.  I always think "never let them see you sweat" and try to keep things as seamless as possible.

Today was the first day ever when I asked a full class of kids - do you want a snow day tomorrow? - they all said no!  We are already going until June 28th!


  1. Dropping a day does mess up everyone's plans. Maybe this should be brought up with the whole school and addressed.

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