Hello again and happy 2021-22 school year! For me, school started five weeks ago and this year so much has changed.
One big (happy) change is that we’re back to in-person school for all students! Our school is requiring masks for all and so far the kids are mostly really great about it. We’re also strongly encouraging vaccination and even had a vaccine clinic at school for students, families and the broader community over the summer. Today we learned that 85% of students our fully vaccinated! I’m so happy to see students again and have those casual interactions that we lost when we were online. Building relationships with my students has gone back to being easy and natural. I just feel connected to them as real people, something that was a struggle when I never saw their faces.
Another huge change is that we’ve moved to a block schedule. Instead of 50-minite classes usually 4 days per week, we now see our students for 100 minutes 2 times per week. I was excited about this change because of how well it works with writing workshop, but I admit I was also nervous. An hour and 40 minutes is a LONG time. Would students be bored? Fall asleep?
So far, class has honestly still felt fairly quick each day. Students seem engaged as we move through different activities. I plan a brief movement break in the middle of each class and make sure to break up the time into smaller tasks. No one has fallen asleep and overall students have seemed to enjoy class. The longer time has left me feeling more relaxed. I’m not trying to squeeze things into a tight time frame anymore. So my assessment after 5 weeks is that I really like our block schedule.
The last and maybe biggest change of all is that I’m also teaching 2 English language arts classes this year! This has long been a dream of mine, but that doesn’t mean I feel confident or even qualified. Still, it’s an exciting opportunity, both for me and for my department. It allowed us to hire a full-time Spanish teacher instead of again trying to find an amazing candidate to teach part time, which has failed year after year.
I know it’s been a really long time since I last posted. I promise I have more posts in the works and they are coming SOON. In the meantime, I hope your year is off to a great start!