So today was day 1 with the kids. It went fabulous! Kids are easy--it's adults that are a pain in the ass. It's funny how, after working with kids for so long, you start to understand the kinds of students that are there every year. You start to see the faces and hear the voices of past grades in those of today, and it's reassuring to know that the names may be different but, so often, the kid-ness remains the same.
We'll be starting, it looks like, with a short story unit. Although I was hoping to begin with memoir/personal narrative, it looks like my colleagues and I aren't exactly on the same page when it comes to writing instruction. And who can blame them? They've probably seen dozens of new teachers come & go. There are a couple things I won't be compromising on, though:
1. My students will be doing weekly word study based on root words, with only a couple of words from the week's readings. I prefer to assign less words, focusing on quality of their understanding of the few words. My colleagues prefer a more textbook-based approach, in which the words are pulled directly from the pieces students will read.
2. I will be happy to stay in sync with the other teachers in terms of what material is being addressed when, but I don't feel obligated whatsoever to follow the same plans as they make for themselves (and, in a way, one another). I will address the material with the students, but in the ways I see fit (and effective).
Needless to say, there is a social element to which one must become accustomed when entering into any new community. I have plenty of positive, peaceful people surrounding me--people I feel comfortable going to for guidance and support. And there are some that I still need to settle in with. And some that will just go about their business, bothering with me only when necessary. And I am so o.k. with that, too.