In-service starts today.
I miss my classroom.
Facebook memories kept popping up all August, and even though so many memories are of times when I wrote about how tiring and stressful it is to set up a classroom, they still make me miss it.
I miss organizing my library, touching every book.
I miss putting up bulletin boards, even though it usually means calling for a tall teacher friend to help.
I miss walking over to the teacher next door and helping them with their desk set-up, moving combinations until it’s just right.
I miss the multiple runs to Target to buy more adhesive label pockets.
I miss putting all the new school supplies in the cabinet.
Post-its. I miss gathering all of my post-its into the big bin and pulling some out to stay at my desk.
Sharpies. I miss those new packs of sharpies.
My mom sometimes makes fun of me, “You became a teacher for the supply closet!” she says.
And, I do like the supply closet. I like fresh back-to-school pencils and notebooks. I like perforating and laminating and cutting. (It’s not why I’m a teacher, but it is part of the job — a part I often enjoy)
I like classroom set-up because it’s fun and satisfying work and because it’s part of the rhythm of anticipating the real joy of the classroom: The students. Every label I make, every book I shelve, is part of the ritual. I know that soon the students will be choosing books from those labeled shelves, adding work to those bulletin boards, needing a sharpie, and jotting thoughts on those post-its.
Last week, a few teachers let me help them in their rooms. I printed out some vinyl letters for them, helped them with a few odds and ends, perforated some math manipulatives, that sort of thing: Preparation!
I took a set of math manipulatives home with me to break apart. As I sat, doing the satisfying work, listening to the clicking of the pieces, I wondered, “Why is this so great? What is wrong with me that I am so happy to be sitting here clicking these pieces apart? Too bad there aren’t more new teachers who need me to do this job!”
What’s so great? It’s no small thing to be trusted to put up a bulletin board, to take supplies home to organize. It’s no small thing to lay a hand in preparing for students.
I miss preparing things for my own classes of students, printing out my class lists, and running my hand down the page — wondering who my amazing children will be!
As an Instructional Coach, I don’t get my very own class of kids. I do get to share our kids though, and I can’t wait to see those kids fill the hallways next week. It’s year 3 for me in this role, which means I’ve had the chance to get to know our children for 2 years. There’s something about watching familiar faces enter their new classrooms. There’s something about watching the new kindergarteners come in and find their teachers.
This week at in-service, I won’t be printing out my class list, but I will be reconnecting with my teachers. Maybe someone will have some math manipulatives for me to click apart, a box to unpack, library books to put on a shelf, class lists to print out. A coach can only dream…
Maybe I’ll print out a list of the amazing teachers I get to work with — the ones I’ve worked with deeply, the ones I am looking forward to working with more, and the ones I will meet today.