Wednesday, March 2, 2011


First days are usually a doozy no matter what, but this one sure hit the target. I didn't start teaching today and so didn't really see any of my students. Actually I saw them for a brief moment when they were in their homerooms.

It was a day of many excitements and follies as I started on my path working at this private school. Mostly what I did today was figure out how to decorate my classroom. Turns out the previous 1st grade classes were dropped in favor of newly renovated ones. This means that we had to start from scratch to decorate them. Luckily, in the teacher's room were boxes of stuff leftover from the previous teachers.

There is one strange snafu with my classroom, which is that it is attached to one of the Korean homeroom classrooms via a glass window and door. There is a space between the other class's desks and my class, so I guess that is good. However, I wanted to cover up the window since I felt it was distracting. The Korean homeroom teachers were in their room working on their own preparations. First I asked them if it is was okay to cover up the window, and was told yes. Then as I was covering it up they came over and told me not to. Plus I can't tape anything to the walls. I complied and stopped what I was doing and since then haven't put anything on the walls. The solution, I was told, is to put whatever I want to go on the wall on a foam board and then tack that on the wall using "putty". Good grief! It's because the walls are fresh and they don't want to dirty things up with tape. I hope this hasn't cramped my style with the Korean homeroom teachers. Tomorrow we eat lunch together so I'll try and apologize for my ignorance.

Other than that I got up two posters on the back wall (since there is a tack board) and put letters and numbers around it. The chalkboard in the front will be, of course, for lessons and general stuff. I have to make labels of a lot of stuff. Plus I want to create a rules board to put on the wall. (Gasp!) Also I am struggling on what is the best table arrangements. I want them in groups but not sure if the desks should be horizontal lines or clumped up. When clumped it works well to have them work together, but it made it harder for me to walk around the desks. As of right now the desks are in 6 rows with 3 desks each, all facing the chalkboard. I'll see about experimenting later, just trying to get things to a point where I can lesson plan and be ready.

Thankfully we have till the end of Friday to complete our decorating. Since I just have the labels and that poster to make I think I can get it done. Next Monday and Tuesday will be level testing and then the first day of a real class will be next Wednesday. Just enough time to soak all this in and get things going.

Really, though my head is spinning from the thought of everything I need to get ready plus the complex structure of relationships at the school. Through it all I am really excited inside, and it felt great to be in the teacher's room with 20 other foreign teachers. It felt like we were a team and part of something greater than ourselves. :)

1 comment:

  1. ....the no tape on the walls, putty use thing is v. common in US schools too!
    Lots of literature on pedagogical placement of tables/desks for learning achievement, classroom management, etc... Go to your literary resources, as well as talk to your colleagues foreign & native!
    Strive for your students comfort & benefit! Student centered education....
    Be consistent w/behavioral "rules" of school the kids will see in all their other don't want your room to be thought of as the "free for all zone"! It's BIG trouble when that happens!


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