I realize whining is undignified, but...going back to school after one's honeymoon is haaaard. Every time I return to school after a vacation, I'm faintly stunned by how much work I seem to do every day. Like, "Is it always like this? Am I always this busy and overwhelmed?" And alas, the truth is, yes. When I got to school, I rotated the classroom jobs, printed the week's homework sheet, straightened up the desk I had left a wreck last week (honeymoon = running out of school on Friday as if my behind was on fire), put together a folder of copies I needed to request, and prepared my social studies lesson on the three types of resources. During my prep, I filled in math grades on the sheet we send home to parents, filed the tests away in my binder, and added to our growing science bulletin board. At lunch, I managed to unearth Volume 2 of my math teacher's guide, wrote up the next unit's vocabulary words for the math word wall, prepared my reading mini lesson, and spoke with a parent on the phone. After school, I wrote up tomorrow's schedule, graded all the math mid-year assessments, filled in the master class rubric, stored away all the old math journals, looked over tomorrow's science lesson and Comprehension Toolkit lesson, briefly previewed all the teaching points for our next units in reading and writing, and stood on a chair leafing through giant stacks of paper to weed out the paper we'll need for our next writing unit. Tonight, I'll need to make copies of the math pre-test and choose goals for the next unit that align with the standards, and that's on top of the work I did yesterday (which I swore I wasn't going to do while I was still on vacation), grading the last unit's math tests, grading the Writing on Demands, getting my copy requests ready and reading through the "job applications" (when it's time to switch classroom jobs, I make them fill out a job application telling me which job they want and why they're qualified for it). And all that is on top of, hmm, the regular classroom day: Julio taking his shoes off and singing "We Will Rock You" during our math test, Joy crying all morning with homesickness, Jason complaining that Anita gave him a wedgie, Danny moaning that he feels like he's going to throw up.
Is it always like this? Am I always this busy and overwhelmed? Yes.
The best parts of my day had nothing to do with real schoolwork, but with listening to my little friends talk about their vacations. Manuel said he had gone skiing for the first time and fell, tumbling down "like a bowling ball." A number of them claimed they had gone to water parks, which I'm still puzzling over. Rosie said she had played Frisbee with her brother, and when someone asked what a Frisbee is, Manuel (who does not normally talk like a human dictionary), said, "It's a small disc for throwing or tossing." We read a non-fiction passage about sand castles and I pulled out a laptop to show some examples of amazingly elaborate sand sculptures. They went nuts. One of my most polite, well-behaved girls actually said, "Dang!" and I heard a few kids say "O. M. G." (Just like that. O. M. G.)
But still, it's back to work, midway through the school year. O. M. G.