Sunday, August 14, 2011
Two Days Before the Students Arrive
This was my last weekend before the start of the school year. I worked in my room for many hours this weekend creating a seating chart and artwork storage system for my 17 classes. Thanks to an unexpected and very generous donation from some dear friends, I was able to buy two rugs, a beautiful plant, and various organizational/storage items. My mother and father drove out to my classroom with me on Saturday morning to help deliver the large rugs and items I'd purchased for the room. My father went to work putting sticky traps in the corners of my classroom to catch some of the brown recluse spiders I've been seeing. The spiders are just one reminder that although our school is relatively new (built in 2000), even it's newness can't guard against the kinds of pests one finds when one is living in the country.
Last week for new teacher training the Southern Boone County School District sent the new teachers on a bus tour of the Ashland school district. We saw everything from decadent and innovative architect-designed homes to tiny trailers nestled deep in the woods. Once, when we were driving on a single-lane gravel road, a three-legged dog ran up to the bus. The driver told us that the girl who lives in that home can't see the bus from her house so he honks when he reaches the driveway and she comes running.
I loved seeing where my students are coming from. Compared to Ashland, my own community of Columbia Missouri is a big city. I know that when I'm working with the children of Ashland, I'm going to have to open up my mind and give up any ideas I have about what it's like to grow up in a rural community, because the truth is that I have no idea what it's like at all. This coming school year will be an exercise in listening to my students and with any luck, this listening will be reciprocated by my students.
I am scared and excited and full of nervous energy about the coming year. I look forward to hashing out my ideas, my mistakes, and my successes in this blog. This is it. Wish me luck.