If We Were Having Drinks: Back to School and Hurricane Season too!

Ack! What’s up people! You scared me! Traci just startled the mess out of me when she tweeted my old post just now. She’s a wonderful woman who shares my content even though I can be rubbish at producing it. The link above is to her site, which gives me happiness at the very least every Tuesday because she is the author of Tarot Tuesday!

The Tarot is fascinating and at the same time frightening for me. My family had quite a few dabblers into the world of magic and when you screw around with stuff you don’t understand well…

Do I believe in magic? Absolutely, 100% wouldn’t even deny it. It’s even in the Bible guys. Have I had unexplainable things happen to me? That’s an affirmative.

So I have a healthy respect for the magic and people who use any part of it. I love reading about it. Traci has some wonderful posts about that and the natural world and her photos are breathtaking. I can barely aim a camera.

But I digress!

So this past week it has been just comfortable enough out I could entertain the thought of having an herbal tea. NC is hot still and will be hot for a long while yet. At least two more months. While the rest of the US may be drinking pumpkin spiced things I’m still enjoying my lemonade.

This past week has been a roller coaster of emotions. It’s causing me stress. Never make promises you are unwilling to keep. Not ‘want to keep’ or ‘unable to keep.’ Not. Willing. That’s about all I can say as ambiguously as possible.

I’m absolutely knackered. I stand everyday when I’m not at school and yet when I return it’s like there are invisible weights strapped to my legs and arms. I come home every night feeling like 7 hours of sleep won’t be enough.

Besides the exhaustion that inevitably happens during a first week at school, we now seem to have our yearly trial upon us:

Ah yes, hurricane season has more than arrived and already, we have a big one heading our way.

I have been arguing with Ru for the past few days about evacuation. There are cons to evacuation:

  1. We might not actually need to leave.
  2. The roads may be closed and we cannot return.
  3. If they close schools and we left but reopen them and we are stuck elsewhere… it could be messy, job wise.
  4. Can we afford to board the cats for a week? Or more?
  5. Will our home be safe when we are gone?

At the same tome there are pros to leaving:

  1. We will have power.
  2. We have two places to stay for free (just have to board the cats).
  3. Our son, who worries about the hurricane and staying, will feel safer away from all this.
  4. I want to see M and D! (Okay that sounds like I want a hurrication and I do not)
  5. People who love us and worry about us won’t be so worried if we are inland.

So while the lists aren’t a perfect match, I just want the assurance that if it seems bad we will go. Yes we were fine the last couple of times. It was horrible to be without power for three or four days. It was certainly livable and nothing like what others have gone through.

I don’t know the answer but I am seriously upset that it takes hours if arguing with my husband for him to realize all I want is a “maybe.” If things look to go bad, will you think about us leaving for awhile? Menfolk. Humph!

Ah yes! Circling back to school here is my classroom:

As it says, color me happy! My room looks pretty good this year! Although a few students mentioned my classroom didn’t look clean (well you convince the janitors to come mop then, cause I don’t have any luck) I think it looks nice!

I have been writing a lot. I know you cannot see it in here but I am 10,000 words into my book! I took down my Clockworks Prologue and Chapters 1&2 because I want to make a go of it.

I am going to do a big old rough write and get the whole thing down. I only change things if as I go along I need to change for consistency. Something may not be detailed enough. Somethings maybe overly detailed. Some of the dialogue maybe a bit stiff too. Shes not quite human so being flat at first makes sense… but what if I don’t evolve her personality properly?

I’m just starting out. Right now all that matters is I’m getting it down.

Once I finish, I’ll probably marinate on it a bit and then go through it again. Then I’ll need some grammatical help. Let’s be honest, in the USA we aren’t taught the finer points of the English language. Just as I started out in school, they started testing. So I’ll need some help with that. I have a friend that’s helping me now but, it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a few folks look at it… and beta readers!

I also want a proper cover. Something probably expensive, knowing me. That’s just how I roll. If I’m going to do it. I DO IT. This may be my only book. If it is I want to say I love all parts of it even if 3 people read it and only read it because they love me.

It’s all very exciting. I am dreaming about it I already have 3 encounters with plot points circling my brain, I just need to get there. I already think there will be a few “as the weeks went by I…” to help me with that. My biggest fear is being boring. Like I take to long to describe what’s going on.

My other fear is of course, no one will like it. It’s a kind of police drama romance set in a sci-fi magic fueled future that’s a bit dystopian. So maybe there’s a genre for that? Who knows.

I also need a pen name. Back in the day it was Piper Thames cause I love England and it was a prominent geographical feature in many historic romance novels I read as a teen. (And I loved Charmed because badass magical women are awesome) I came up with that pen name when I was 17. I’m not sure that’s a good name anymore… how does one decide on a pen name? No seriously, how?

I’m just impressed I hit 10,000 words. It’s novella sized and it isn’t even done yet!

Of course I also have to juggle family, work, and soon soccer and cub scouts. Ah to be a mommy.

At least CDubs is a pretty happy kid. That’s the most important thing.

My boy had his first day at school last week as well! It was a staggered entrance apparently. He goes full time this week and I hope once all the kids are there, he does okay. He had fun on the day he went. I can only hope he keeps doing well. I’ve been trying to get him to do abc mouse and we have workbooks, but those aren’t as fun.

Well… I have to go out away our hurricane supplies and make my son his first Nutella sandwich. Here’s hoping he likes it! You know kids and new things…

I hope to catch up with you all soon! Be blessed and enjoy your week!

First Week Back: Changes

This week has been so many things: nerve wracking, scary, hopeful, challenging, somber, tiring, physically demanding…. and yet, here we are at the end like all things the first week back does not last forever.

I knew Monday 10 minutes into work that there were going to be such huge changes this week. I decided after a new staff member introduced themselves at the first meeting and then said, “and it was nice meeting you all but I just got word that I’ve been transferred again,” that I had to capture my feelings each day.

(I had some issues with my website, so this post was finally able to be uploaded a week late! It’s no one’s fault per say, just a very odd glitch!)

There were so many changes on Monday. We had a new Assistant Principal, 7 “new” teachers (transfers), “new” YDS teacher, “new” ESL teachers, we lost a Gym teacher to the Science teachers (he was a science teacher first, then was PE teacher for a year, and now a Science teacher again), “new” Librarian, (our old Librarian was a classroom teacher that was learning to be a librarian and is back in the classroom) and some teachers have changed grade levels and subjects to boot!

On a personal level, I was informed that I would be a Music teacher solely. This is… it was disappointing to hear because I transferred to my current school because the Bands here/there were so large. The teacher needed help because 70 kids at once can be a lot. We were just starting to understand how to co-teach Band and really seeing the fruits of our labors. So it was a little bittersweet to know it’s done for now.

Financially, teaching music is a pay cut. This is frightening because of that Disney downpayment we made back in June. It became more frightening when Ryan called to tell me he was not longer a Band Director as well, cutting his salary down by a nice chunk as well. Again I am thinking of this huge trip that I have already sunk $1000 into and now I’m like “…. what will we do?” It was A LOT all at once.

But. As I sat there, processing as a person does when they receive such news, many things went through my mind:

One, I am a kick butt teacher. Hands down I know music. I may not be a savant or anything, but I can teach music to kids. So changing to teaching Music full time and not Band full time will not be bad for my students. They won’t get a subpar, blah education. (Though I need an upgrade on my Music materials, technology has changed a little in 4 years!)

Two, WE HAVE JOBS. I have NO IDEA if I will be able to say that by day 20. I don’t. People made some comments to me today about “showing them we need you,” and “we have to give them no reason not to question,” and “I’m trying to leave no doubt.” Which made me feel a little doubtful about my lasting 20 days even though they REALLY need me to teach Music or the other resource classes will be at 30 to 35 kids each for each resource teacher. So they need me so far and thank the Lord that I have a job!

Three, we can be more economical. Ry and I should really practice portion control when eating anyway… so this makes that and little things like watching our pennies a real thing. We HAVE to. I’m not losing the Disney money we put as a downpayment, I’m not going to worry about what CDubs may need for school, because we can do this and be better with our money. Because thank the Lord we both are still employed.

So, instead of crying like I would have done in the past, I sat there and problem solved…. because y’all I am an emotional crier. Very Happy? I cry. Very Sad? I cry. Very excited? I cry. I. CRY. So I’m kind of impressed with my brain/face/tear ducts because I handled this sudden change for us both really well. I didn’t jump to outlandish conclusions or anything.

While I was having this period of growth my co-teacher, a veteran teacher of 20 years decided to go up front and explain what making me a Music teacher really means for my salary. They didn’t know up in the front office. They are just trying to make things work and keep as many of us as possible and I completely respect that. I also really respect and adore my co-teacher for fighting so I could teach one Band class this year, thus making me a BAND TEACHER again. That’s right, I am still a Band teachers as long as I teach one class. They picked the smallest grade level where me teaching Band as well would not effect the numbers in the other rooms (Art, computers, and PE). If just my co-teacher had 50 kids in Band everyone else, including me, would teach 10 people per class. So we are shooting for 35 to 40 kids for this Band class. Thank you co-teacher for going to bat for me!

I called my husband with the news, (if this works out which it sounds like it will) then we are only out a chunk of one salary not two! I also remembered we have after school clubs via the 21st Century Grant and I get paid for that, and we don’t have to pay for daycare anymore (duh).

Okay, so I can do this and I STILL HAVE A JOB. (Do you detect a theme in my gratefulness?)

That said, I still had a lot to get ready but at least I’m in the same room! I decided to totally redo the layout now that I have more time to set up as well.

My co-teacher’s husband came by and helped us move all the large cumbersome stuff and my co-teacher got her room almost completely together! (I guess I’ll have to think of another name for her since we won’t truly be co-teaching all day like we used to)

I’ve still got a lot to do… but it will be worth it. The theme this year is bright colors and rainbow like.

So I felt like it was a very emotional day… then my husband called and it’s been decided that he WILL be a Band teacher after all too! At least they hope the schedule is set in such a way that he can. They got him some help so there will still be Music at his school and Band. Now I know for a fact many people pulled that together and I will be praying for them and are truly in a state of thankfulness for that miracle!

Whew! That’s just day one! I’m hoping the other days feel smaller… and less emotional!

Thank the Lord I am still employed! Thank you! God is so Good!

Tuesday was nothing compared to Monday. Monday felt like a whole week and Tuesday was like a long morning!

We had a meeting about our individual teacher websites and mine is pretty awesome. I’m proud of it and I only had to adjust the welcome image, the schedule changed (oh shoot I need to edit the footer on the page I forgot!), and hide the Spring Band Trip page (since it is not even Fall yet!). Then we could go to our rooms.

I moved a lot of large plastic containers full of books and decorations. I set out new things and old. I vetoed some fun items in lieu of some more practical things and locked up some instruments for Music. (They are just to fun and tempting to leave out!)

My teacher friend helped me hang a dry erase board in the back of the room. I am rubbish at anything using your depth perception. Stairs? Bah! Driving! Nope! Hanging or drawing anything straight? Yeah right. Also she is like the strongest woman I know, so she strong armed my cheap IKEA drill into that temporary wall (it’s solid and we have permission to do these things but it’s not original to the building and can be removed easier that a true wall) and made those screws do right! I am excited it’s now up!!

My teacher friend is all done with her room, and it looks great. My room looks like the plate of food a kid doesn’t really want to eat. You know how they move stuff around and it just looks like they are eating, but they aren’t? Well my room looks like it’s coming together but it’s not. There is still stuff everywhere. It’s crazy.

At least I have applied pink grapefruit wipes to all dusty surfaces, hung a impossibly large calendar, and found the highlighters!

I also found out at tonight’s board meeting that since July 30th forty five more people noped out of the county or retired. So that means 145 people left. So now just 45 more jobs are left to be cut. I am still praying just in case… extra prayer never hurt anybody as far as I know.

I have to ask myself, why do I move all my stuff? It’s so much work. Never mind the layout might actually be better this year, it’s a lot of moving things. My co-teacher K is done with her room. I’m still wondering if I should add more color.

I learned about some policies today that we need to implement and had a large brainstorming session with multiple teachers and so veteran teachers online. I appreciate their insights so much. It really takes a team to solve a puzzle sometimes.

Thursday was a lot like Wednesday in that I moved a lot of things around, melted some skin off my hands (high temp glue guns are no joke), swept, hung more decorations, covered up an obsolete heater with music paper making it look like a weirdly placed shelf, and just tried to make a beige classroom look like a colorful, energetic, fabulous classroom! I may have actually sought out other teachers on purpose and spoke with them. *shock*

Friday we had an Arts Department meeting at one of the large high schools. It was again, a lot of changes. Our department overall was tasked with cutting, individuals/positions. You could hear a pin drop when this was announced. However, 15 jobs were eliminated because a great deal of folks did not come back, another classroom, or retired. Five of those positions were open and simply closed for the time being. While it’s sad to know that people left, and worse there are schools missing an important element of the Arts or maybe a reduction in the Arts, people’s hands were tied here. It’s not like we had a choice and we are lucky we are valued as apart of the educational team. Thankfully PSRC is looking to educate the whole child, and sees the wonderful things we do.

We had an item exchange (I was so excited about this) and we were able to share things we may not use as often and get things we needed! I was blessed to get some new art supplies! I like to use visual art, in my limited way, to enhance what I teach in music/band. You can draw what the music sounds like to you, you can sketch what emotions the piece causes you to have, you can share your feelings and thoughts in artful ways! Writing is so important but sometimes our kids need another way to express themselves. (Especially 5th graders bridging that gap between elementary and middle school. Drawing and writing prepares them for writing more detailed works later!) so I was happy to walk away with 500 sheets of recycled newsprint paper!!

Then we spoke with our new teacher leader for middle and the leader for high school. We solidified dates, gave opinions for what clinicians should be hired for student learning events, opportunities for field trips came up and! My co-teacher and I will be the clinicians for the Middle School Honors Band group! How cool! We will pick out the songs they will be playing, teaching them for 8 hours and we will be conducting at the big concert at the RCC Auditorium. It may not seem like the most amazing thing to other people but this is stepping out into the spotlight for me. I love working with kids, but the stage still give me pre-concert jitters… not to mention my peers shall be all over the place watching me conduct, observing my teaching style, judging my every move… possibly… *shudders* It will be good for me, it will. It helps instead of one person, we will trade off and have two!

Co-teachers once again!

I would be lying if I said my thoughts were calm and assured. I hope that the county continues to see the value of my position and of course me as a teacher. I think I do very good things, dare I say, wonderful things with my students. My classroom is starting to really come together and I am really feeling more settled this year. I hope that feeling is an indication of how the school year will go for me! Any thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and good vibes are appreciated! Now I have to look forward to open house!!!

It Happened Again: Why Teachers Having the Summer off is Not us Being “Entitled”

Sigh it happened again. I made a little wistful comment and suddenly… Bam! I’m a brat. But my question is, why do we as educators take flack for this CONSTANTLY.

What am I talking about?

Summer “Vacation.”

In my country, the USA we teachers at public schools work for 10 months of the year. We receive around 8 or 9 weeks “off,” in the eyes of the general public during the hottest months of the year. The kids go home and so do the teachers.

Let’s take away the summer jobs and workdays, and any professional development someone may have during the summer (Which is, by the way a separate check because check out the next truth bomb…) teachers are unemployed during the summer.

Yes, you read that right. Teachers are unemployed during the summer. We don’t get summer off we are unemployed.

It’s always been this way

Why? Well there aren’t any kids to teach so, we have to go home. It’s like any seasonal job. A friend of my husband’s works lawn care up north. In November, December, January, and February sometimes he is “laid off” from his job. It’s hard to do lawn care in the snow.

It’s hard to teach kids at their houses over the summer.

“But what about the paychecks?” Well check this, most teachers allow the government to hold a portion of each check they earn for each of the ten months that they are physically working. Those two months off we don’t get “paid,” we get the money we allotted to be set aside returned to us.

I’m not working for free, I earned this cash. Last year.

A lot of teachers have contracts for a certain number of years they are employed. If you work where I do, I sign a contract from August to June. That’s it. Effectively I am fired every year and if I get a contract before I leave that school year I have be rehired.

No joke.

I am contracted on a year by year basis. Thank God I do my job and I do it well.

Now. Why do kids need summer break? Why not make us work 12 months a year? Since everyone has such problems with our summers off?

How do your kids feel at the end of the school year? Tired? Drained? Worn out? Disheartened? Or maybe they are excited. Ready for the year to be done. Happy to move on.

Why can children feel this and adults cannot? Teachers may love their jobs but we can get worn out too. When we aren’t working it’s not us sitting by the pool everyday throwing our money around like ballers. We are taking time for self care, doctors appointments, spending time with our own children whom we like you have seen 4 hours a evening then they sleep, and a hour or two in the morning. I miss my son and like you, I have to work. I need to be with my family too.

But I think the worst part is when, we say things like, “ahhh summer is almost over… 😮” and people jump on us like we said we support slavery and abolishing the constitution… and while the USA may seem to be favoring deviant thoughts lately, trust me having feelings about summer doesn’t make us evil.

It makes us human. I know teachers aren’t allowed to be human but unfortunately the system is flawed and until we are all replaced with AIs well, I guess you’re stuck with us.

So we aren’t “lucky,” we weren’t “granted a paid vacation,” and unless you signed a contract you are NOT GUARANTEED a job every year at the end of the school year. We have unpaid summers. It’s apart of our job description, much like your job descriptions are specialized for what you do.

Please stop riding our butts about ours. Let us be human and say things like, “gosh the summer is almost over, *sigh*” and commiserate with us… after all, we will be teaching your kids soon and if summer made you batty well… think of 10 months 8 to 12 hours a day for us. (And yes we all love our children! Biological and otherwise! You can still love someone and need time away from them!)

Hurricane Florence Clean Up Weekend 2 and now Tropical Storm Michael…

Well it has been another week, no school still (though I came in for two mornings to make copies and do inventory some more… meet with a music rep etc.). We are on day…22 of no school (generally without the weekends there are 20 days, give or take, in a month for school teachers and children). Usually the first nine weeks ends at the end of October. We joked we would be returning to school in November, now I wonder.

So far, they are not cutting our pay and we’ve been forgiven 20 days. We will still be required to make up days as teachers I am sure. No one works for free and last time during Hurricane Matthew we added 3 weeks to the end of the year I believe. (A couple for kids but most for teachers)

I am lucky though they are paying me. If they decide to garnish our wages for the rest of the year I don’t know what I will do. They can do that, it is not above their power.

It last weekend we did a lot of wood! I have decided that mucking our homes is smelly and sad work but cutting down trees is hard work.

So is taking stumps of 100 year old trees to the road for pick up! I managed to bruise myself:

Which is stupid because I was plain useless. I dragged all I could and picked up what I could but I am weak. I am just no built for hauling things. For about 20 minutes I was afraid it was not a bruise and something more sinister (our mosquitoes are huge right now, legs and all the size of a quarter). Luckily the medical professionals in my life told me to calm down, lol.

CDubs had soccer practice this past week and did a wonderful job. Generally, he was very passive and would cry when the ball was stolen (last year). This year he is really in that ball and understands he himself doesn’t have to score for his team to win. He is interacting with the kids more too. Makes my heart happy to see my little introvert go out there and have fun! The video you watched was just a snippet of his awesomeness this season!

I am having my first Tupperware part tonight! My good friend K is hosting it at her lovely home and I hope to remember the names of all the items I am showing tonight… like the choppy-chop is really:

Power Chef…. yes…

I might be in over my head. I love Tupperware but I don’t get to talk about it a lot. So the names… they float away and become the choppy-chop, the mixer thing, the eggs maker, and the 3 in one thing. Not really professional.

Le sigh.

Would you buy a choppy-chip from me even though I make up crazy names? Maybe? Lol

This weekend we are supposed to clean up/cut down more but CDubs has a game. Not sure about that. Not to mention right now we are being pummeled by rain thanks to tropical storm Michael. We also will be having church for the first time in 3 weeks?

But still no school. Maybe Monday? Who knows. More damage to access I am sure. Be safe my dears and I’ll talk to you soon!

Moving on In!

If you recall, it’s been weeks after all, I have a new principal, new classroom, and new classes. I had been very worried about how this would effect me. I won’t lie, I am a very important person in my life (lol) and keeping me happy is important to me. Granted, there is not much I can control so I do my best to find joy in every part of my life be it home, work, hobbies, etc. However we all know it’s possible to work in an environment where there is NO way to spin any part of it in a positive fashion.

So I was worried, as I said. At first I thought my fears were founded. My classroom was moved into a new spot that logistically seemed like a great idea. It scared me a bit because phowalls aren’t known to be great sound barriers (and I admit it gets louder every day- more and more students are getting in instruments and the band is filling up!).

Then I got to the school and I saw the state of my new classroom:

And look. I was mad. You cannot even see the gigantic stacks of paper 5 ft talk to the right of this picture. This was a storage room and it looked it. I wasn’t even going to share the before picture- it was just so depressing.

But let me tell you, first I had help. The ESL (English Second Language) teacher came in and lent me his strength and moved mountains of paper and killed huge spiders and just was awesome. My co-director was amazing and moved a million things, my wall mate (someone was moved next to me) helped me move things AND!!!

I went to my principal when I was sure there would be no way I could get it done by Friday. I wasn’t ready for the kids, and I NEEDED to be ready. Maybe for my own sanity but also for theirs. So, I showed that picture to my principal. She looked, and she figured out a solution.

She, and a team of Janitors and some of her friends from out school stayed after an extra four hours the night I showed her the picture. (I showed her the picture in hopes of getting some more time on campus to get it done myself) I came in the next morning and almost cried:

Shortly after this picture was taken, the tables were moved out and that mountain of boxes were English text books and the English department ale and got those. By Friday my room was almost clear.

So I know I don’t know much. But I do know a leader who is willing to stay behind for me, the Band and Music teacher to get her classroom ready AND let us try our teaching idea this year (she approved us co-teaching Band) …. that’s a pretty good leader. I wasn’t sure what the new school year would have in store… but…

That really helped me reach a happier place.

My room isn’t done done yet, I have a few things to hang and a table or two to be removed (folded up in a corner)and once it is I will share. For the hurricane we moved all or stuff away from the far wall because last hurricane the band rooms flooded. We got everything up high and it should make it through as long as nothing goes completely underwater.

Tonight as I worry about my students, staff, and the people of the county I teach in (that entire county is on a flood plane), I really wanted to remember something truly good from this year. I have faith that my clean classroom will be there ready for me next week. This is my great wish! (Besides of course my family, friends, and students will all be safe and come out of this with minimal losses at most) I am very lucky I have a worthwhile place to work when all of this is said and done.

Thank you for readying my school update, I will update you on storm things next!

And it Changed Before it Began!

Yo! How are you all doing today? I’m doing pretty okay. Today signaled some pretty big changes in my life, and my family’s life.

While today wasn’t the first day back, many of us teachers came to school today to work for free. Even if nothing changed for them this year, teachers across the US are classroomscaping- changing their rooms into inviting, magical places to learn.

(Ssshhhhh, it could be)

My husband has transferred schools to MES which is a K-8 school. He will be teaching 5-8 Band and is very excited about it. We took all of his things out of PSHS, waved goodbye to the sign out front, and with the help of a friend, moved him into his large spacious Band room at MES! I was very impressed!

So that’s the excellent news! I think this will be a great thing for him!

I on the other hand, also received some news of sorts. I’m not going to lie and say I was excited about it, and I know my new principal knew where I stood based on our phone conversation the other week. However I also know, she makes decisions for everyone that I just cannot imagine how she makes everything work. I’ve never wanted to be a principal. I know there is just so much they have to do and get done. I can’t imagine the stress of starting at a new school, with new ideas, and having to present them to my new staff. Nope, she’s got so much responsibility and kudos to her, I couldn’t do it.

Yup. Couldn’t do it.

So while I understand that, and will not dwell on my news, I won’t lie and say I was excited to hear my room was moved. I don’t think this is a shock to my principal (me being upset) but I don’t think being unreasonable and ridiculous will help anyone so, why be that way? Just accept it and move on, am I right?

I will be next door to the big band room. We will will be sharing the wall and the noise. It’s going to be loud. I already have some ideas on how to reduce that, but it will be a work in progress to be sure.

  • There are positives to this situation:
    • I have a lot to move, but not far to move it (yay! She could have moved me half way across the school or upstairs, or into a trailer or something-not knocking trailers but we know those aren’t ideal.).
      I get to keep the back room in my old room to use as a repair shop still- she DIDN’T have to do that at all so I completely 100% appreciate that we still get to utilize the space- not only because I spent so much time working on it, but because sharp things and chemicals shouldn’t be accessible to middle schoolers but should be accessible to band directors! I should also be getting my own key to the room to use for before and after school and planning.
      I can holler at K anytime I need to through our little alcove, without moving from my desk. Before I had to walk outside, walk down the sidewalk, unlock a door and then going into her room.
      No more outdoor trips to the main building during tornado drills.
      I am told the heating and AC are consistent- it is warm in the winter and cool in the summer (yay! Definitely an upgrade there).
      I HAVE A WHITE BOARD THATS LIKE 6ft LONG! Totally bizarre and wonderful!
      While I love natural light (so so much) my new room only has one tiny window- this means I have more wall space to decorate.
      Bouncing kids to the other band room will be easier (for discipline problems) because they won’t go outside and have the temptation to skip class. I’ll know if they got there pretty instantly.
      I think the new room is slightly larger.

    So there are good points. Just because I didn’t get what I want doesn’t mean all is lost. This doesn’t mean my year will be bad or that my principal is out to get me (she’s very nice and organized…. and busy I am sure!) It just means that for our school to be successful in this incarnation we all have to change. I’m not above anyone else so that means I need to change too, no matter how much it “hurts.”

    So onwards and upwards my friends! Tomorrow we have meetings all day, but it is my hope that I can sneak out at lunch and move things!

    Enjoy your week, I am exhausted from moving hubby and chairs today, so I’m taking a nice bath, doing my hair, maybe a mud mask… and just chillin 😎

    It’s Been a Long Summer…

    And yet, it’s been so short!

    I can’t believe it’s time to go back, 15 days from now. I have absolutely no clue what’s in store for my next school year. Yes, no teacher really does, but by now, two weeks before school starts, most teachers know what subject they are teaching.

    “But Katherine, you teach Band.”

    Ah but see, I’m licensed to teach Music K-12. What that means is I can teach any music class. Band, Choir, Strings, General Music, Music Appreciation, and if they are super interesting technically my principal can force me to teach English or Math (that’s not happening though I’m sure, but technically they can make me). You see I don’t know what my new principal wants. We tried to go by very nonchalantly last week to see if we could catch her during a down moment.

    First thing to know is my new principal has no down moments. She is very busy, which is good! I mean principals are busy folks. Let’s face it, the state of the music program is not high priority. I’d love it if she would let us continue on for the year because we have big plans.

    I also really don’t want to teach choir. I only really have the materials for Band. I ordered some musical instruments for my music kids (I generally teach 5th grade music) but that was before we found out our old principal would become a big wig up at central office!

    She was the best, our old principal, she gave us everything we needed.

    I don’t really know our new principal. She is nice, I’ve interacted with her before. Just not on this level.

    This year also has some worry to it in general because it’s my reup year, I get relicensed for the first time since my teaching license left the probationary status. I have to make sure to get all of my credits in by the end of the year. It used to be that, in the course of teaching full time, a teacher would automatically gain all the credits they would need to keep their license current. It is not so anymore.

    I am down I think 4 credits. It’s not that it’s hard to get literary credits when you are a music teacher, it’s just no one thinks to classify any of the workshops for us that way. Then when you go to an English one they tell you “English teachers get priority,” or “English teachers only.” and then you can’t really go.

    Also, they changed what credits matter so it’s my job to figure out what’s now necessary for a teacher to renew their license. It will be different. Like 4 literary credits and 4 content area credits and 2’technology credits and 1 writing and so on.

    On top of that I get observed 3Xs as much because it’s my renewal year.

    No pressure.

    We have this crazy idea this year to take the bands, put them together and do sectionals like pullouts. One person teaches the band minus whatever sections are pulled out. The other teacher takes the pullouts into a smaller room and works through instrument specific exercises, sections of music, and how those sections might fit with the other group you bring like clarinets and saxophones together. The other teacher teaching the larger group will also be working on specific things as well, just with a larger group. The flutes and saxophones are gone so we can work with the clarinets and the trumpets on this part with the low brass. We could even send a percussionist or two into the sectionals if they play a bell part that matches the flute or to work specifically with their rhythm with the melody or what have you.

    Theoretically it will take a lot of planning, scheduling and of course, the kids and adults will have to get used to it.

    But if I am teaching strings, I can’t do that with the other band teacher.

    If I am given another job I’ll need more supplies. I don’t have any current textbooks (LL Cool J is still just a rapper right? 🙄 Destiny’s Child is still together…?), no choir music, no traditional string instruments, no simple musical instruments… but all of these things can be managed if I know what’s going on.

    So I wait. I could send an email, but considering I haven’t spoken to her for a good while and she might not even place me… and their are two of us music people I don’t want to say something that may be misconstrued through type.

    I could request a meeting but as I’ve said, she is rightfully, a busy woman.

    So what to do.

    For now I wait. I buy notebooks and pencils and markers. I browse inspirational posters and procedure teaching handouts.

    Until then….

    Not even a little ready!