Welcome to the Jungle

Call me crazy (you’d hardly be the first), but I’ve been dreaming/obsessing about today since June.  Yup.  Once I knew that my friend was moving to fourth grade and was looking for a fresh start, and knowing that she’d let me have almost-free reign (as I’m the “queen” of decorating, get it??!!), I began planning.  And buying.  And pinteresting.  And…well, if you’re a teacher, you know the drill.

So here’s what we’ve got after one 5 hour day…and 4 people!

ImageThis is the back of the room, and so far, my fave.  The bulletin board was enormous, so we sectioned it off.  The green and black are very striking, if I do say so myself.  And apparently, I just did!


A closer look at this table.  The leopard vinyl tablecloth was an ebay purchase.  The teacher plans to set this up as a social studies area.


This is the edge of one of the carpet areas.  The animal display was to hide the heater.  It’s also what you see when you first enter, so the cute factor had to be high!


Here’s the other carpet area, located in the front of the room.  We prettied up the double cork strip to the right of the smartboard with some tiger border and animal print fans.  She can display anchor charts or other items here.


To the left of the smartboard.  The cart in the middle is going….not nearly nice enough for this room!  Do you see the inflatable dollar store monkeys???  And the Oriental Trading stuffed animals hanging out by the cursive alphabet???  Add more animal print fans and you’re set for a safari!


“ROAR for the Common Core!!”  These paper animals each have the reading Common Core Standards on them.  All she’ll need to do is place an arrow or some other type of mark next to the ones they’re working on.  Functional? Yes.  Fun? Naturally.


The view from in front of the smart and white boards.  I’m wild about it!  And it turned out even better than the visions of it that I had all summer.   More work tomorrow (yes, Labor Day weekend…the school was retiled this summer and this is the FIRST day teachers could go in!) but so far, this is one jungle I’d love to hang out in!!


This Better Not Happen…

Although it wasn’t as bad as what’s happening in this picture,Image

my back to school dreaming reached an all-time low last night.  Generally, those nightmares fall into certain categories (see my previous post).  But last night’s….not good at all.

I teach second grade now, but for the first 12 or so years of my career, I taught kindergarten.  Then, I spent about 14 years as a first grade teacher.  This is important information to have to truly understand this dream.  Because in this dream, I find out the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL that I’m no longer teaching second grade.  In this dream, I’ve been moved back to first grade.  But when I meet my new first graders, they are really 5 year olds.  So, I open my bag of kindergarten teaching tricks, and it’s empty.  As in, I’ve completely forgotten how to teach anything but second grade.  And I have NO IDEA what I’m doing.  I can’t remember what this age group needs to learn, how to manage them, how to speak to them, nada.  And therefore, the first day is a disaster.  I was tres glad to wake up this morning, and that says a lot.  I’d rather sleep in than almost anything.

If you’re a parent reading this blog, don’t worry.  This is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!  It was just a dream, and not one that’s likely to come true.

You’d think that I’d have had a different sort of dream last night, seeing as today I’m taking my daughter back to college.  But once a teacher, always a teacher.  Or some such.

Back in the Saddle

You know how the cowboys walk after spending a day on the range – all bow-legged and wobbly?  (At this point I’m assuming that’s the way they walk, since my only knowledge of cowboys comes from movies and tv!)  Well, yesterday found me doing the cowboy shuffle after spending a marathon session in my classroom.  And although I was bone tired, having accomplished about 80% of my back to school tasks felt so good.Image

So today, instead of riding the range, I’m running errands and making appointments, so that I can recover somewhat from yesterday and then DO  IT ALL AGAIN tomorrow.  It feels good to be back in the saddle.

Chomping at the Bit


Getting ready for school is not a race…not with one another, that is.  It IS a race, for some of us at least, against time, our own anxieties, and that mid-August pull of the classroom.  So yes, I’m chomping (or champing, depending on which source you use) to get into my room and get the preparation race started.  Truth be told, I’ve been preparing all summer long, from the comfort of my home, from the office copy room and even in my uncleaned classroom.  But until the desks have been scrubbed and the carpets steamed (or in my case this year, thrown out!) and the floors waxed, the horses are still at the gate.   I tried to get a head start this morning, when I arrived at school at 7:00 am, teacher bag packed, but was turned away by the hard-working custodians who had just spread a coat of that dreaded (dreaded because it’s what keeps me from my room, not because it isn’t pretty and shiny) wax in the hallway outside of my room.  And what made me chomp/champ down harder on said bit?  The fact that just beyond the starting line (the construction site tape that they hang to tell you not to walk on the wax) my room was DONE, as in cleaned, waxed, scrubbed and ready for me to start the race!!  So close.   

I’ll be there tomorrow, at 7:00 am, after what I’m sure will be another night of those teacher dreams.  The race has got to start sometime.


Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This…


But there is no 80s song that I know of that applies to this situation.   It’s August, also known as the month of the Teacher Nightmares.  If they made a funny ecard (is there a name for those yet?) about it, it must be a thing.  And for me, it’s been a thing since I’ve started teaching 28 years ago.  So, to acknowledge said special time of year, I’ve broken down those dreams into a few general categories.

THE DREAM ABOUT THE CLASS – That’s the one where your class is triple the size it normally is and you don’t have enough desks or supplies.  Or the one where you get a class list, prepare everything with each student’s name, only to find out on the first day that none of those students are in your class.  Or the one when your class is full of children who misbehave and none of your tricks will, uh, do the trick.

THE DREAM ABOUT THE ROOM – In this scenario,  your room is either too small, in the wrong place, less than well equipped or simply non-existent.  I’ve dreamed that my early childhood classroom is in the equivalent of both an attic and a basement in the high school.  I’ve dreamed that my early childhood classroom, where we sing, read, play, move, is in an office-type cubicle and we can’t do any of the above for fear we might disturb the older kids working on the other side of the half-wall.  I’ve even dreamed that  the classroom was in a bedroom – yet somehow, I never got to use the bed.

THE DREAM ABOUT LOSING THE KIDS – This is the one where you can’t find your class or an individual student.  I’ve lost my class (in the nightmares only) during a firedrill, at dismissal, on a field trip.  I’ve returned to pick them up from lunch, recess and gym, only to find out they are not there.  Most of the time, I wake up before finding them.  Frequent dream.

THE DREAM WHERE I LOSE IT – Is this specific to me only?   The scene is this – I’m teaching and being observed by administrators and/or parents and I completely lose control – I yell and scream at the kids, while the adults in the room stand in judgment.  Please do not analyze this dream – I don’t want to know what it means.

THE DREAM ABOUT SCHOOL THAT DOESN’T FIT INTO ANY OF THOSE CATEGORIES – That’s the dream I had last night.  I swear, when I started this post, it was fresh in my mind, but for the life of me, I can’t recall it now – too much time recalling those other nightmares.  But suffice it to say that it was ONE of those school dreams, the ones that indicate that your subconscience knows it’s August, even if you don’t want to admit it.

So teachers, a word of advice.  Savor the August days, ’cause the nights will remind you of this:Image