Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm Still an Expert

Today was the first day back to work for the teachers in my school district. It was wonderful to see dear colleagues and friends after our summer vacations.

Ever since I started teaching in this district in 1995, the first day back has always been a full "work day" for the teachers. WE get to decide what we do, without the administrators requiring us to attend meetings, trainings, etc. It's always a highly productive day, where dive into lesson planning and classroom preparation. We value the in-service training we get during the week, too, but we treasure our work day.

Enter the 2012-13 budget cuts. The district closed two elementary schools, eliminated positions, cut back on building budgets, and cut school days. Including the work day.

So today, our first day back, was a full morning of training, and then an afternoon to work in our classrooms. A FULL MORNING OF TRAINING. First thing, on the first day back.

And guess who the trainer was? Moi. Facing a crowd of 100 teachers, teachers who weren't getting their work day.

Not only that, but I was training them about new literacy standards that are more challenging than what they've used in the past. Yup, that was my assignment: ask teachers to do more with less.

I presented 3 hours of training this morning. I have one more hour to present on Friday afternoon. And I have spent most of the last week doing nothing but prepare for these sessions.

Yesterday the house looked like this:

 Rows of handouts lined up across the dining room floor...

More handouts organized all over the living room floor...

 Stacks of resource notebooks that turned into more piles on the floor...

At the point when I snapped this photo of my computer screen, I had 21 separate windows open - various websites, the different presentations I was creating, videos I planned to use...crazy. Me, that is. I was going a little nutso, trying to pull together the presentations on the new Common Core State Standards, worrying about how my colleagues were going to feel about sitting through three hours of training instead of working in their rooms, making many many decisions about what to include and what to leave out (for now) in the presentations.

I logged--no exaggeration--36.5 hours of presentation-preparation time last week. I'm allowed to "flex" those hours during the school year, but in reality, I will probably never use them all.

So. Today. Was. Fabulous. Amazing. The best inservice day ever. Just fine. I work with the nicest people. I mean, it's not like it's my fault that they lost their work day. (I lost mine, too!) And I think they could tell that I had tried hard to prepare some training for them that would be useful, engaging, and worth their time.

 Can you see me? I'm up by the screen, pointing at something. This is about 1/2 of the crowd I was presenting to.

 At one point I had everyone take a stretch break with their colored file folders. "Hold them up high over your heads!" "Lean to the right!" "Touch your toes!" I think this photo was snapped just as they were about to sit down.

A slightly closer photo of me. I'm pointing to something on the screen for emphasis, but it looks like I'm waving. Or about to spank someone. You can't see it, but I'm holding a microphone in my left hand. Did you know that a mic can get really sweaty if you've been clenching it for a long time?

Anyway, my colleagues liked the training. (As much as teachers ever like training, which is about as much as they like grading papers. Part of the job.) And I can breathe a whole lot easier now that the mega-first-day-three-hours-in-a-row session is behind me. I have one more piddly little session on Friday afternoon.

And then, at least for now, I'm done with being an expert.


Dorothy said...

Wow. I would cave under that kind of stress. Good thing there are people out there like you who can do it...and do it well. Good work, friend!

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

I know that you would have much rather had that time for prep, but what you gave the other teachers today is something that is vital to every student in the school. Those teachers need to understand the standards so that on day one, they are ready to teach their students up to those standards.

You may joke about being an expert, but *you* are *the expert* at training teachers to teach their students everything they need to know. You are the expert thatakes sure things are done right. Every student in Oregon City is blessed because you are part of the team that makes the district so successful!