Information Overload

I have survived my first day of meetings as a new teacher. A small accomplishment I

know, but it’s something. After a marathon of meetings, my head is bursting with

information and a ringing headache. I have a new-found understanding for the little grade 8’s about to start High School – I’d forgotten just how overwhelming the whole process is. Everything new, so many new rules and responsibilities to take in and a whole new environment to map out.

One thing that has become clear is that I need to develop a new love for filing as without it I will soon be swimming in admin and paperwork. And so I plan on tending to and fostering this new love affair with gentle patience and a whole lot of self-discipline!

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Ideas for decorating a High School English Classroom

I have been giving lots of thought to how to decorate my English classroom and I’m getting quite excited. I’d love to take a few tins of paint to it, cover the cork boards with bright material and put up some curtains, but finances do not allow for such decorating expenses at the moment so I am forced to keep it simple and budget.

The Wall of inspiration: This is something I have often done in my own bedroom and it’s lots of fun. The wall (or designated area on a wall) includes quotes, images, and generally anything that learners may find inspiring, and that can be pinned up on the wall. I will get the learners to bring in their own inspiring stories, pictures and quotes and make it a constantly changing and interactive space.

Framed Hero: This will be a designated space for notable mentions applicable to the English classroom. Characters from books, authors, poets etc. Maybe this can change each week. I thought about allocating a learner a week to do this section, but I’m not sure how well that would work.

Express-it Board: A board to pin up excellent writing done by learners. Thus can also include drawings, graffiti, poems etc. One option is to make it so that learners can submit anonymously if they want so that they can be encouraged to have their work read without any fear of criticism or ridicule.

Posters: A must for any class; these would be of plays, set work books and movie adaptations of books.

Words: Random words to fill the empty spaces. Big words that learners can add to their vocabulary and frequently misspelled words.

I will keep you updated on how my decorating plans go and hope to get some ideas flowing.

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Blank Canvas

It’s all becoming real. Today I walked through my empty classroom, its bare and lifeless walls in stark contrast to the happy picture I had conjured up in my head. I sighed a deep breath of acceptance. There’s a lot of work to do, but I’m trying to see it as a blank canvas: a fresh page upon which to make my mark.

I struggled to stifle the hint of disappointment as I realized my notable lack of resources. I have a blackboard, but to my horror, I am without a white board, let alone all the fancy resources that I have become accustomed to in teaching pracs: smart-boards, data-projectors, computers. It’s was a little like walking into a class from over a decade ago. I guess I will have to get over my repulsion of the chalk-on-board sound that makes my teeth squeak.

That aside, I’m faced with peeling walls, a broken and unsightly cupboard, a small table (Sigh, no draws) and shelves that are in desperate need of a little TLC. Much of the wall space is covered in old and crusty pin board material.

So my first plan of action is to buy some nice bright and happy material to cover the pin boards, I have no posters for the wall so for this I may have to get the learners to help or at least get them to do some creative poster projects in the first week or two. I need a table-cloth or two to cover my table, and the dilapidated cupboard, and a whole lot of shelving paper! Add a plant or two, a birthday chart and a few smiling faces, I think we may just be on the way to a happy environment for learning.

I am open to any suggestions on how to create a happy learning environment so please feel free to add your comments.

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Back To School

Those awful back-to-school adverts that start playing at least 2 weeks before the school holidays end have come back to haunt me after all these years. It’s back to school for me, except this time I enter the world of learning as a teacher. That said; I am no less of a learner myself as I stumble into my teaching career with very little experience and uncertain expectations.

I am writing this blog so that I may record my journey and development as a teacher. So that I can hopefully see myself grow and be able to look back on my mistakes and successes. Apart from developing my own personal teaching voice, I hope that my journey can help to guide others in a similar stage of their teaching development and that I may be guided by other teachers who may stumble upon this blog and choose to add their comments.

School starts in one week and so begins the chalkboard countdown. Wish me luck!

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