my summer has drawn to a close. Today marks the last weekday of summer vacation, officially, for me. Some would say "The last summer before children" *laugh*. Camp starts on Monday and while I know I'm not going to be very involved in it this year, I am still going to start school hours on Monday, so goodbye summer, it was great, err impossibly HOT, while it lasted.
Thus ushers in my 10th year of teaching. What?!?! TEN YEARS?!?! Inconceviable! Truly. I look forward to this school year for ALL of the changes it is about to bring. Not only is my 10th year, which in and of itself is a milestone, but of course Mr. JP's arrival is imminent, literally on the horizon, and I have a new crop of 5th & 8th grade Orchestra students to break in, get to know in a short amount of time, then mold into musicians and decent human beings when I return from maternity leave.
Yesterday I braved the sauna that is the HS Band room right now, and had the pleasure of meeting our new 6th and 7th grade Orchestra teacher. He is a bright and pleasant young man who is full of energy and excitement to get this year going. We wound up talking for a while and I gave him some advice, pointers, a calendar that has some music events on it (sadly none for his building), and some "sage" wisdom that has come from my 10 years of experience in my current district *laugh*. What are those tidbits of wisdom you ask? Allow me to share...
*ANYTIME* you contact a parent, LOG IT into IC, in the PLP contact log, that way you're covering your rear end should a disagreement over teacher communication arise.
*ANYTIME* you send home/hand out anything important, CONTACT THE PARENT, then LOG IT into IC in the PLP.
When you have a concert coming up, send home a reminder ONE MONTH PRIOR TO THE CONCERT, irregardless of the fact that you've already put it in the handbook and that it's also posted on the wall. Then after sending the reminder home, CONTACT THE PARENT & LOG IT IN IC IN THE PLP. Then *REMIND* the students every single day leading up to said concert that they do in fact have a concert and have to be there. What time, what they have to wear, and that "Yes, my dear, you do have to stay the entire time". Then CONTACT THE PARENT EACH WEEK TO REMIND THEM OF THE CONCERT, LOG IT IN IC IN THE PLP.
**Anyone else noticing a theme here?**
When you're going to give a playing-test that's a *scheduled one*, see above, but only give them a WEEK'S notice.
Written tests, give a WEEK'S NOTICE, then *see above*.
This one I forgot, but it's a good one. Keep a PAPER RECORD of attendance and behavior, DAILY. That saved me at least twice last year with a particularly difficult student of mine who was ticked off over the fact they had an F in my class. "I do the work, I turn it in, why do I have an F?!", then the parent echoed that sentiment "She does the work, she turns it in, why does she have an F?!" I looked through my paper record and found that her severe lack of attendance, if memory serves it was somewhere in the 50% range is what did her in. I printed off my attendance for her, attached it to the "official" copy from IC, printed off the PLP log of parent-contact messages concerning her attendance and handed it over to mom. "Oh my", was all mom could say ;) Yup. Cover yourself.
So my friends, the summer has drawn to a close and the rituals must begin again. On Sunday evening, I will lug my tired pregnant rear end home from work, take a bath, set up my coffee, and turn the timer on for the first time since May 20th. Then set my alarm for 4am knowing the return to school has arrived and I *must* find my way to my yoga mat to set the tone for the year, to calm my mind, my body, my spirit, and this little boy jumpin' around in my belly.
And don't forget to revisit this fabulous post for some beginning of the school year inspiration! I make a difference! How about you?!