I don’t know if I’ll make it to ten things, but here are some of the things on my work-related summer to-do list:
1. Planning. I’ll be teaching at least three core courses (most likely, English I, III, and IV) and at least two electives. I need to decide what those electives will be, then plan an overview of the year for each of them.
2. Writing competencies. The State has decided to use competencies to determine student achievement, and it’s pretty much fallen to me to write these for the English department for the school. I’ve already begun the process – I’ve done a fair bit of research into what other schools are doing to measure mastery – but I still have to codify them into a useable rubric.
3. Interviewing. I’ve made it pretty clear that I want a different part time teacher next year. The man who taught this year was well enough – he read books and graded the kids’ work – but he never even bothered to become a part of the community. Not once in 180 days did this guy ever stay for lunch; he’d disappear as soon as his morning class was over, reappear for his afternoon class, then bolt out of here with only an occasional “see ya later.” That doesn’t make him a bad teacher, but it does make him a bad fit for the community. I’m not convinced, though, despite my making requests that he be observed and evaluated, that that actually happened, so it may well be that admin decides to offer him another part time gig. I’ll argue against it, but I don’t know how well my arguments will be heard.
4. Rearranging. I’m not good at moving rooms around; once I get things to a point where they’re both functional and appealing to look at, I tend to leave everything well enough alone. I’m not sure that I’m making the best use of the classroom space I have, though, so I’m going to bring a couple of outside eyes in to the room to see if I can move things around to make it work even better than it does.
5. Laminating. I have a ton of inspirational bits and pieces that I rotate on and off the walls of the room – cards, images I’ve scanned, that sort of thing – that are printed on plain paper. When it gets humid, all that paper curls, so I need to spend some quality time with a laminator to protect them.
6. Reading. I’m reading for my own personal enjoyment again (I’ve taken the Outlander series back up, and am heartily enjoying spending time with old friends), but part of my planning process is choosing which books to read during the upcoming school year.
7. Cleaning. We inhabit a nearly 200-year-old mill building that seems to generate its own gunk. I’m planning to spend at least a whole day after the kids leave taking all the furniture out of my room and vacuuming the shit out of the place.
8. Re-cataloging. I have a lot – A LOT – of personal property at this school. I need to document everything that’s mine, and make sure that I have record of its being mine in the event of loss, damage, or separation.
9. Organizing. I have to go through all my files and make sure that a) everything is where I can find it and b) everything that can be scanned and cataloged has been. I have a lot of great materials that I just don’t use because they’re not convenient to me when I need them. I need to figure out how to remedy that.
10. Networking. I am concerned, because of things that have been happening around here, that there may be a need for me to keep certain options open. I’m going to review my professional development, look into some more college courses (I’ve been flirting with the idea of a degree in social work), and talk to some of my contacts about the possibility of perhaps stretching a safety net underneath me. I wish it weren’t so, but wishes aren’t horses, so beggars don’t ride.