Friday, October 17, 2008

First Week Back and Too Little Time Left!

I've only been back at work a week, and it feels like a lifetime! It was a really busy week, and I crammed it full of all the things I was thinking about over the holidays. I'm finding that I have so many new ideas that I want to explore, but as it turns out, so little time. There are only 9 more weeks of our school year. Sometimes it feels strange trying something new so late in the year - why not just save it for next year? But I've decided that if you don't try it straight away, something else will take its place in your mind and it will never happen!

During the holidays I started my podcast and also started to use Twitter. Twitter opened a whole new world to me and I've been learning new things daily ever since. One of the things that really struck me whilst working on my podcast and meeting new people on Twitter, was that I still have a lot of work to do in terms of partnering with parents. This week I started to email the parents of the kids in my class - filling them in on the things that I was noticing about their children. I set up an email distribution list so that I could send out group emails for things like the new timetable and the term overview. As I was making posts about things happening in our classroom, I emailed them the details for this blog, and some people came and had a look. (Thanks Suzanne for being my first follower!) I've found this week particularly draining as I've set this up, but I'm sure it is going to get easier, as now I just need to maintain things.

It has been really exciting to explore the use of email. Whilst working in New York I used email to communicate with parents, but not the same way that I am trying now. In some ways it is adding to my workload, but in many ways it is meeting many needs at once:
  • First and foremost I'm communicating with parents
  • Secondly I'm recording observations about students (these can be referred to again later - in sent messages)
  • and Thirdly, I'm forming plans in partnership with parents for how to meet the needs of my students.

The next few weeks are going to be really busy with 'extra' things that seem to have come up in 4th term - 'Valuing Diversity Days', the school walkathon, photo day and various other things. It's all fun, all valuable learning, but my teaching team has realised our need to be very purposeful in the 'actual teaching time' we have left to gather the material we need in order to prepare our reports. It's going to be an interesting term as we balance the 'fun' with the 'assessment' (not always considered fun!)

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