Faculty and staff returned to school on August 23 and it was genuinely wonderful to see everyone again. There were laughs, hugs, high-fives, and more. We welcomed the unusually large number of new faces and got ready to welcome back the students. The good news was that enrollment was up for the freshmen class and we had a high number of transfer students scattered over the next three grades.
Knowing the classroom management challenges my sophomore classes would present, I was somewhat subdued in looking forward to welcoming them back. That changed on the 24th when we hosted a happy hour for all new parents. I was genuinely energized by the happy mood and large turnout, which helped a lot.
On Monday, the students arrived, filling the halls in ways I haven’t seen in a few years. My freshmen, all honors students this time, seem friendly, bright, and anxious to be high schoolers. This week we did some ice breakers leading into my first unit which is about identity. As a result, we’ve had some spirited discussions and activities to get to know one another better.
The three sophomore classes are largely the College Prep freshmen I taught previously, mixed with transfers, and people coming from the Learning Center. As a result, I already know most of the names, which helps a lot. I had them create vision boards to get them focused on goals for the year, most of which were about getting better grades. We also began discussing the American Dream leading in to the beginning of the first thematic unit: This Land is Your Land. I have high hopes for the material and remain concerned over the attentiveness of some students.
I am down to one honors junior class and was somewhat dismayed by how little they seemed to know about British culture and history, but it gives me an idea of how much backfilling I will need to do. We’ve begun discussing one of the summer assignments, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is always well-received.
For the first time in years, my two off periods are not consecutive, with one rotating, and one fixed. That’s going to take some getting used to. And I am already feeling the need to keep lesson planning to stay ahead of the students even if I am well-planned through the month.
All in all, I’m off to a good start and want to keep it that way.