Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. ~Twyla Tharp

Friday, August 26, 2016

We're Back!

Y’all.  Summer. Is. Over.  I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the faster they go.  We just finished a week and a half of professional days and our babies come back this Monday.  As far as opening weeks go, I’ll have to hand it to my principal because these were some of the least painful workdays that I have experienced in my 26 years of teaching.  Yes, I started teaching when I was 7. We had the requisite full day of back to school meetings on the first day, accompanied by a wonderful lunch of barbeque (I’m in NC.  It’s a rule) provided by our amazing PTO.  We had a ½ day, that was more like a couple of hours with the district one morning to talk about the ASW testing that we are going to have to do this year (more on that in a future blog post) and the middle school art teachers (all 4 of us) went to lunch and then back to my classroom to do a little planning that afternoon.  We had a ½ day of health and safety training and another ½ day of PBIS training but other than that, we were free to work in our classrooms.  What a treat!

Having all this time to get ourselves in order has been a blessing.  Did I mention that about a week before we got back to work I dislocated my elbow?  And by dislocated I don’t mean ‘Oops, my elbow slipped out of joint’, I mean full on bent backwards at 90 degrees and the most agonizing pain in the history of pain. I’ve been in a sling with orders to keep it immobile which is easier said than done.  It gets better every day and I think I’ll be okay but this wasn’t the way that I wanted to start my school year, when there is always so much work to be done.  With the help of my amazing colleagues my room is ready to go.  
So, this was the inside of my elbow.  The bruise eventually made it all the way down to my wrist.  With the help of some arnica gel, lysine and bromelain, the bruise is almost gone.

An outside company was hired to strip our floors and when I walked into my classroom on day 2, all of my tables were up on end and my room looked like the hedge maze from The Shining.  Once our custodians got the tables, my desk, bookshelves and everything else in place for me, I needed HELP getting the rest of everything out of my supply closet.  Thinking about the rotten timing of my elbow injury and knowing that somewhere there was a reason for my suffering, I realized that I might need to be reminded how fortunate I really am.  It is SO HARD for me to ask for help.  I struggle with it.  It tortures me.  I’ll try to do anything in my power to not ask for help.  Pride?  Yep.  But also that feeling of not wanting to bother anyone with my troubles.  I had no choice in this matter because there was no way that I could do it all myself so I sent out an email asking for help and was richly rewarded.  Lesson.  Learned.  
See how shiny my floors are?  Still a little bit of fine tuning to do here but it's almost ready.

4 kids per table this year in most of my classes.  1 on each side.  I think that should work well.

My space in the background of the picture.  I might designate the round table as space for extra special' students.  It might be a nice reward.

My little reading area in the back.  The book shelf is full of art history books and artist biographies. To sit back there, you have to do a little bit of artist research or art criticism before you can relax in one of the comfy chairs and draw, read or color.

We had 2 open houses this week, one for 6th grade, which is always fun with the little ones coming into Middle School nervous and looking like deer caught in the headlights and one for our 7th and 8th graders.  Our ‘old pro’s’ came in with hugs and smiles, some looking like they grew a ½ foot over the summer.  There were also a lot new faces in the crowd of students that came to get their schedules and meet the teachers.  Some from the redistricting that was recently done in our county, but we also seemed to get quite a few students from neighboring counties and some as far away as the coast.  It’s always fun to meet new students and I hope that they will be able to get over their nerves quickly and know that they are a part of our family. I remember what it was like to be the ‘new kid’ when my parents bought a house in between my first and second grade years. I have a few things to do this weekend to be ready for Monday when the big yellow buses pull up in the driveway but I am looking forward to school starting back.  Even after all these years, the first day of school is filled with nervous excitement and anticipation.  I am wishing all my teacher friends out there a wonderful, successful school year!

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