Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lessons Learned

Today was the second day of my fourth week teaching summer school. When I got the job I was asked to stop by the office of the principal in charge of summer school in my district. I went in and got my "paperwork," which included a folder and my class list. I thought it was strange that I wasn't asked to fill out a W-2 form or any other kind of forms. I never signed a contract or found out how much I was making. I was so excited to get my first chance to teach on my own, that I didn't ask questions. I grabbed my folder, smiled and walked out of her office without asking any questions.
DON'T DO THIS.... EXCITING AS IT WAS, I STILL HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I'M MAKING, AND I NEVER RECEIVED MY FIRST PAYCHECK!

This is the first lesson learned this week. Make sure you ask questions, and when you think something isn't right, chances are .......things are not right. So today I finished teaching and drove to the district headquarters to talk to the payroll department. After 10 minutes of filling out some basic job information, I was out the door and ready to get paid in two weeks.

Lesson two:

I always check and recheck my projects before I teach them to my students. Since I'm a first year teacher, I have been making a sample of each project two nights before I teach it, and then once again the morning of the lesson. The first time I make the art project I check to make sure I know how to make it, and have the materials to make it with the number of students. The second time I create the project, I try to think like the age of the students I'm teaching. At this point I'm thinking of ways to break down the project in steps to simplify its creation for the students.
Lesson learned.... Just because I have used a material in the past doesn't mean it will work like I think.
The first lesson I don't test ahead of time flopped on me today. The lesson involved using Shrinky Dinks which I bought the night before on a clearance rack (10 sheets for $1.99 ... I was so excited) at a local art supply store. I have used Shrinky Dinks in the past and was able to use colored pencils. Well, my clearance Shrinky Dinks were the transparent kind and had zero texture to grab the colored pencil. Without any sharpie markers for twenty students who were excited to create something that shrinks before their eyes, I had to give them the bad news that we were unable to make them. SUCH A DUMB MISTAKE!!!! So after I gave them the bad news we moved on to the next days project, which I luckily had tested and was ready to go.

Two lessons learned, and another day passes...... at least I know im getting paid for these days.

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