Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Nagoya International School is my new place of employment, and during the last few weeks, I've spent a lot of time here.
When I arrived in my classroom, it was FULL of stuff.
Wait... scratch that... It was full of crap. Old text books, old plans, old materials, student work, etc.
The teacher before me loved two things in this world: labels and hot glue. Neither come off of anything without leaving unsightly residue.
I spent the first 5 days just organizing and putting away what I couldn't use (which was just about everything). Then, I spent the next 5 days in meetings and setting up what I wanted.
My classroom library is extensive. There are A LOT of books. Unfortunately, though, the previous teacher loved to put large labels on all of them. Some books have up to two labels on the front and two on the inside cover. I was highly annoyed. First of all, the students don't need to see a label on the front of each book that says the name of the book, guided reading level, publisher, number of pages, and subject. That kind of label (if necessary at all) should go on the back cover, or inside the front. The killer? She DID put those labels on the backside AS WELL AS the front. Wasteful? I reckon! These labels, plus large labels telling the book's genre are placed so that they cover the title, Caldecott medals, author's name, and picture. They generally take away from the pleasing look of the book. My solution has been slow but sure - each day I take bits of wet sponge and place them on the labels of a few books. After the labels are nice and mushy, I easily scrape them off.
But, the room did come with lots of good stuff. Heaps of school supplies, materials, paper, toys, games, posters, etc. That stuff was fun to take ownership of and move around and around.
I also have a teacher's aide (for all my cutting, laminating, copying, busywork needs). She is Shuko.
My teaching partner, Nicholas, despite being Canadian, is lovely. He is very kind and is willing to try new things.
My kiddos are very smart and well-behaved. Very well-behaved, that is, for 14 kids.
I am glad to have a principal as great as my previous one, another gentleman who is happy to let me be a great teacher without a lot of interference. I am trying lots and lots of new reading ideas in my classroom, and have already been asked to be a model teacher for other teachers who want to watch teachers teaching.
I am a bench warmer on the school's teacher volleyball team, which is nothing new. I am also the youngest teacher to another by 6 months, and we, together, are the youngest to anyone else by at least 5 years.
All and all, I like it here.