Really, I think I'm ready.
Okay, so I have to finish my syllabus this weekend, but that's easy enough. But I have a plan for the first day, and my office is organized. My room is ready, and I've completed my first day as a paid employee of my new school district.
All that remains is a relaxing weekend (with a few chores and a Sunday morning run thrown in), and on Monday, bright and early, I'll be off to the races. A high school choir director.
Part of me is afraid to feel so optimistic, but...I feel so optimistic. There's a lot of support at the school, and every colleague I've met so far has been awesome. The school culture is positive and enthusiastic--hell, we all learned a dance today so we can perform it at the rally on the first day, making fools of ourselves in front of 2,200 kids. It includes Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back," and yes, even our principal was shaking his booty today when we learned the dance!
Yesterday, there was a brief meeting for new teachers--all four of us. A school that only has to hire four new teachers is a school with low turnover...and a school with a great environment. We were given binders and "swag bags." I can't decide which is more amazing--the gift bag with two staff polos (one long-sleeved, one short-sleeved), a t-shirt, a coffee mug, a USB stick and two gift cards (Jamba Juice and Starbuck's), or the binder that includes a whole section with a list of who's who in support staff on campus, including color pictures of each person and a list of their responsibilities. For example, "Doe, Jane: [picture] Student Services; club accounts, student fines, etc."
Our school has a full-time nurse. Do you know how rare this is in California? Do you know how awesome this is? A nurse who sent me full details on the diabetes one of my students deals with, information on how I can accommodate this student, and emergency instructions should the student become seriously ill in my classroom (which include, "You can always call me and I will run straight to your room to assist.").
This amazing binder also included personalized information like my login information for the attendance/grading program, my code for the copy machines, and so much information that I need at my fingertips. It's in a convenient spot on my desk now. It's obvious the principal's secretary took a lot of time to put these binders together (sure, there were only four, but still, she's a busy lady!), and she paid attention to every detail.
When I got to school this morning, there was breakfast being served in the cafeteria--student government had an assortment of bagels, muffins and fresh fruit for all of us. Every time a teacher or three walked in. a long line of student government kids started a loud cheer--it was really cute. I met more people, shook a lot of hands, and said, "I'm so excited to be here!" more times than I can count.
Our staff meeting didn't take too long, and was a mix of inspiration, our theme for the year ("You are an essential piece" with a puzzle piece being the symbol) and the usual business of getting a school year started--schedules, news, introducing the new teachers (yikes!) and, at this school, 100+ staff members learning a "decades" dance that includes a ton of booty shaking, some twisting, and even head-banging in the school band room.
I have so much work ahead, but I don't mind. I'm grateful to have work. I'm excited to grow this program. I'm starting with 20 kids, five of which are boys. It's not a huge choir, but it's a great starting point. I can grow this program!