Honestly…not as bad as I feared, or as good as I hoped.
Even after two days, I’ve already identified areas where I can improve, particularly in terms of discipline and having lots of flexible activities that I can pull out if what I’m doing isn’t working. I need an activity that can be done while the kids are lined up, because I’ve struggled to keep them busy when our lesson is completed and the teacher is late. I need a clearer system of incentives and consequences.
I’m afraid that the schedule this year compromises some of what I had wanted to do. All of my classes are crammed into four days, and the school schedule worked out such that all specials teachers have consecutive classes. Doing something requiring complicated setup for one class will necessarily require either doing something in a different space with the other classes, or adapting the same lesson for different levels.
This week I came in with plans for each level, and ended up scrapping many of the variations. The first fourth grade class was so badly behaved that I cut their activities entirely, although yesterday’s fourth grade was a dream and they did very well with an activity! I had hoped to do something similar to fourth grade with the third graders, but I was so spooked after the wild class that I switched gears entirely and gave the third graders a deeper version of what I did with the younger kids. To my surprise, they really enjoyed it!
This week was mainly focused on reviewing the rules in the library, what the library’s for, and sharing some stories. Next week we’ll do book care, and talk about types of books and how to find them (fiction vs nonfiction for younger kids, genres and using the catalog for older). Week three is book fair, which will eat up a lot of our class time. Once we’re three weeks in, I’m hoping to know a bit more about what teachers are doing in their classrooms so I can venture some collaborative ideas, or at least support them with library skills.
The business of running the library is in the background of my mind at the moment. There are displays and programs I want to get going, as well as a lot of work on the collection, but there is so little free time. Until I get more confident in my teaching, the face-to-face work with the kids is my top focus.