Friday, August 19, 2011

Juggling the Schedule

I am discovering that nothing in the teaching profession stays the same.  Since my first year of teaching, my schedule for all three schools changed slightly to accommodate most involved.  This year, I have a new challenge.  Previously, I had only taught grades K-3 on the cart, but this year, I will be handling 4th and 6th grade.  In my curriculum at my home base school (a.k.a. the “classroom school”), my upper grades use different materials and learn more experimental methods, processes and manipulation than the younger grades do.  The challenge I will come across this year is space, but with open communication, I hope to have a year with awesome new learning experiences!

This key word I use in the travelling/cart situations is communication.  Without an open dialogue with all co-workers involved, miscommunication runs amuck.  Here are a few tips to cover your tracks with your schedule and keeping an open dialogue with your co-workers involved:

1.       Discuss your projects with the homeroom teachers.  You may discover that some of your projects may cross their own curriculum!  I enjoy cross-curricular units because I notice the students’ enjoyment in creating a project related to what they had learned in science, math, or even a story they recently shared. 

2.       Inform the homeroom teachers when there will be any messy projects, such as sculpture clay or painting.  This way, the homeroom teacher can put away any materials he/she do not want messy.  Let’s face it, you can’t keep a workspace 100% clean! 

3.       Ask if there’s a chance to leave space for the cart to enter the room.  In some situations, you may not be able to fit the cart into the room due to lack of space, but even if there’s an empty spot on a table for materials, any little gesture helps.   Homeroom teachers have also been very helpful in allowing storage containers to remain in their rooms throughout the week, which really helped save on space.
4.       Check in advance if there are students with modifications, such as special needs, English-language learning, or other adaptations needed for students in the classroom.  It is important to not always depend on others to bring this information to you, but it is important to be sure you meet the needs of all students in your classroom…even if it’s not your room! 

Every classroom is different, and no schedule stays the same.  On top of instructing your classes and juggling materials, you also need to be aware of other responsibilities, such as recess, morning/afternoon duties, or lunch patrol.  This is another arena to communicate with your co-workers!  I have moments where I have to choose between washing brushes or running outside for duty, and when those moments arise, notify your co-workers!  Something will always be worked out!

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